Gymming is not new just how fitness isn’t. The world of a gym is huge and includes various workout types and exercises to perform for different concerns. You see exercise routines for full-body, arms, abs, and the topic of discussion- legs. You can notice many good leg workouts at the gym and might find it difficult to choose which is right for you. Some workouts are made to be performed universally and some focus on just a specific group of fitness-motivated people.
There is so much to learn about the anatomy of leg muscles. Legs have four basic muscles known as hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and calves. They can be trained altogether as well as separately. Compound exercises work best for them. From simple calf raises to squats- you will find numerous options to get that perfect shape of legs with the exercises and good leg workouts at the gym mentioned below.
- Why Are Leg Workouts Needed?
- Why You Shouldn’t Skip Leg Day
- 15 Best Leg Workouts At The Gym
- #1 Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat
- #2 Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise
- #3 Battle Ropes Reverse Lunge
- #4 Single Leg Curl
- #5 Kettlebell Pistol Squat
- #6 Single Leg Deadlift
- #7 Clean and Jerk
- #8 Standing Long Jump
- #9 Incline Treadmill Sprint
- #10 Barbell Front Squats
- #11 Bodyweight Split Squat
- #12 Sandbag Walking Lunge
- #13 Romanian Deadlift (Barbell)
- #14 Glute Hamstring Curl
- #15 Barbell Side Lunge
- Movement Patterns In A Good Leg Workout
- How Many Times Per Week Should You Work Legs?
- How Many Sets And Reps Should You Do In Your Leg Workout?
- Leg Day Workout For Women – Jump-Start Your Workout With These Moves!
- The first leg exercises must include some form of lifting.
- The first lunge requires you to keep both feet on the floor.
- Another of the best leg exercises for the woman is the deadlift.
- Next on the list of exercises for the best leg workout is the squat.
- Next, lift your legs and lift them as high as you can.
- Toe raises are great core-specific exercises for your calves.
- Lunges are another great workout for the entire lower region of your body.
- Will Your Leg Day Gym Workout Give Results You Need?
Why Are Leg Workouts Needed?
First of all, exercising is an essential part of life. To stay fit and healthy, one must perform physical activity regularly. Leg workouts.
1. Helps with weight loss:
The biggest group of muscles in the human body is the leg muscles. Your metabolism is directed by these muscles. It is a known fact that muscular involvement is necessary for improving metabolism which is linked to effective weight loss results. But, it is important to keep in mind that while losing fat, you shouldn’t lose good muscles. If you perform a leg day gym workout properly, you will notice a huge difference in your overall body weight and mass. Your fat-burning process will improve significantly and more muscles will build up to let you not gain more fat specifically in the lower body. Leg workouts like calf raise, deadlifts, lunges, seated leg press, and such help with the same.
2. More muscle build-up:
Leg workouts focus on muscle gain with improved strength. Some compound exercises like squats and deadlifts target the larger muscle groups to increases the hormonal activity responsible for body muscle build-up. The muscles take up the lost space during fat loss and prevent fat accumulation as an added benefit. You can build muscles with a good protein-enriched diet and set in stone fitness goals.
3. Achieve cardiovascular load and good engagement of muscles:
The legs are sculpted with full engagement of the muscle groups. Performing a set of workouts for a specific body part does not mean it won’t take the benefit of other body parts. For example, when you are performing lunges, your core muscles are engaged as well apart from quads and glutes. Such exercises result in increased heart rate which is a component of cardio. Hence, achieve cardiovascular load and improve your strength too. Leg workouts for women especially incorporate cardio with leg workouts.
4. Chances of lower back pain are reduced:
Your core and back muscles must be strong for the prevention of back pains. It is often noted in some active people that the majority face lower back pain after certain workouts. This can be due to improper body form or inadequate performance. It results in weak stabilizing muscles that become the reason for the pain. Therefore, it is important to maintain a good posture and perform training effectively to avoid strain on the back. This way, your back muscles are strengthened and lowers the chances of lower back pain or injuries. You should stick to the technique that supports you and be aware of how to properly use leg machines at the gym.
5. Better performance rate of other exercises:
With stronger legs, one can perform other exercises very well. Toned and strong muscles will help you to stay balanced on the ground while performing other workouts. Strength in the legs helps in better performance of running, walking, jogging, skipping, and more exercises. The injury risk by such exercises is also decreased.
6. Balance and symmetry of body:
A good muscular upper body with weak legs is unhealthy and does not provide aesthetic benefits too. An asymmetrical body is more attractive and stronger than an asymmetrical one. The entire body gets stronger and does not face any injuries. Leg workouts women especially, matter a lot due to the lesser mass compared to men. Women’s muscles take more time to develop. Every workout should be paid equal attention to. The physical load applied in other exercises for core, arms or so needs a balanced ground which legs provide. Hence, performing a regular leg day routine will result in better load balance and maintenance of symmetry.
Why You Shouldn’t Skip Leg Day
You should focus on devoting an equal amount of time to all major muscle groups weekly. Recovering period should be kept in mind. Make a proper workout plan, discuss with your trainer at the gym, and follow your schedule. Never skip or cut down leg workouts. It is quite noticeable when you neglect leg days. Your torso becomes stronger than your balance-providing legs.
There are eight benefits of never skipping leg day-
1.Improved athletic performance:
You must have noticed how athletes have bigger and tighter muscles in their legs. It is because legs provide them the strength needed for athletic activities. If you play soccer, basketball, and such other games, you must know how your coach insists on improving your leg muscles. Hence, if you need to increase your athletic performance, keep performing your leg day routine.
2. Faster and longer running:
Strength training along with an endurance routine can benefit you in running with increased endurance and speed. You will run faster and not get tired easily. Some runners face hip injuries due to inadequate leg workouts. These types of injuries are avoided with exercises like deadlifts. Sprinting becomes easier too.
3. Less injury:
If you skip leg days, your results will start losing and the muscle build-up will lessen, making the legs weaker. Chances of injuries like ACL tear increase. Functional exercises like lunges and squats work best to provide knee stability and avoid injury.
4. Better balance:
Strong legs with strong core muscles are the best pair for balance. You will have better stability and body balance if you never skip leg days. Use a leg curl machine, leg press machine, and other balance equipment, but always consult your gym trainer before doing so.
5. Improved calorie burn:
Weight training, the muscle build-up or leg workouts help out with calorie burn. Bigger muscles are responsible for the better metabolism needed to cut down fat. As legs are the largest group of muscles, the calories are burned more because of it. Even after performing the workout, the what retains and fat burn process still runs. Especially when you are on a weight loss journey, skipping leg days can harm your progress.
6. Extra strength for chores:
Have you ever felt tired and not been able to get up for regular tasks? It must be because you have been not training well or skipping leg days more too often. From carrying groceries to pick up laundry- you will notice a huge difference in your strength and energy when you keep up with your leg workouts at the gym.
7. Better range of motion:
Flexibility increases with leg exercises like squats, deadlifts, lunges, and more. The mobile joints find better movement and improve your flexibility. Crossfit trainers focus on this particular motto of leg workouts. It doesn’t matter if you are a professional athlete or not, the results of flexibility at your daily gym will be the same as them without any skips.
8. No lower back pain:
This is the most common complaint amongst fitness enthusiasts. With improper body balance and posture, the exercises are not performed with full functionality and often result in strain on the back. Legs are your posture corrector. If you never skip a leg day and keep your legs strong, you will have enhanced balance and exercises will automatically perform exercises in full range to avoid lower back pain.
15 Best Leg Workouts At The Gym
Apart from simple leg exercises like calf raises, there are stronger ways to achieve your goal. A leg press machine can help you out but certain workouts without extensive gym machines can give you amazing results. Below are fifteen of those exercises that you must perform during leg day workouts.
#1 Barbell Bulgarian Split Squat
This exercise tests your balance. You get multiple benefits performing it, including-
- Multiple muscles are trained together
- Core strength gets a boost up
- Muscle imbalances are fixed
- Best to train glute imbalances
The best way to get all benefits is performing 4 sets with 12 reps each and 60 seconds rest in between them. Face away from the bench while holding a barbell upon the upper back. Rest one leg behind on the bench and lace down. Taking the balance of the standing leg, squat until the knee of the same leg is nearly touching the ground. Push your body up in the first position through the front foot.
#2 Seated Dumbbell Calf Raise
It is an isolated lower legs workout and easy to perform. Sit at the end of the flat bench having a step or a weight block in front of you. Hold a dumbbell each on both legs.
Raise your heels up and then dip them down following a swift movement. Perform both movements as far as possible with the dumbbells pressing on your knees. Make sure you don’t lose your grip or the dumbbells might cause injury. Repeat this exercise for as many reps as you can according to your comfort.
#3 Battle Ropes Reverse Lunge
This workout needs strength in the arms and legs mainly. Battle ropes are great to increase your strength and improve the development of muscles. Firstly, hold the ends of the battle ropes with your hands and place your feet on the ground with the distance of your regular lunges in between them. Lift each rope upwards and back towards the floor with alternating movements.
Establish a rhythm of your movement with battle ropes. Center your core with gravity and get a grip on the floor with your back straight. With this, perform lunges slowly and steadily. One foot forward and then one foot back- perform two lunges together. Keep the pace slow and then increase the speed after finding the connection between the rope and lunge.
#4 Single Leg Curl
This exercise is proven effective on the hamstrings. Take a stability ball. Lie down with your back on the ground and both legs inclined so that the heels are on top. Move one leg straight up in the air at 90 degrees to your body and another leg forward with its heel over the ball. Roll the ball with the heel towards yourself as much as you can and bring your hips a little above the ground.
The knees will help you to achieve the optimum position by bending itself. Now, straighten the knee back and come back to the starting position. Make sure that the leg straight above is still. Repeat this in sets by alternating the legs. Seated leg curls can be performed as an alternative to this.
#5 Kettlebell Pistol Squat
It is best for the legs and shoulders. Usually, beginners don’t perform it as the difficulty level is hard. Performing this workout requires a stable body and mind. Your balance should be perfect or else you might get hurt.
Hold a kettlebell with both hands and bring it under your chin. Lift one leg from the ground while squatting with the help of the other leg. Make sure your knees can take the pressure so that the straight leg does not touch the floor. Repeat the set by switching the legs. It is important to stop if you feel like your knee or back is hurting.
#6 Single Leg Deadlift
It is best performed with 12 reps each in 4 sets and 60 seconds break in between.
First, grab two dumbbells in front of the thighs with your palms facing inwards. With a slow movement, lift one leg straight behind and bend the other leg a little.
Lean forward to let your arms fall in front of you towards the floor. Keep your grip firm.
Hold the position for some seconds and return to the primary position. Repeat with the other leg by alternating the sets. Even science agrees that there are multiple benefits of deadlifts.
#7 Clean and Jerk
Stand in front of a loaded barbell with the feet apart at hip-width. Keep your spine neutral and the core tight. Bend and get a firm grip on the barbell with your hands and perform the first pull known as ‘clean’.
The first pull is right above the knee and the second pull is almost like performing a deadlift up the shoulders. With a light squat, turn the barbell over with your palms and elbows facing outwards, and position it over your shoulders.
Now comes the ‘jerk’ movement- straighten your legs and smoothly push the barbell above your head. Now either you can go for a split jerk or squat jerk as per your comfort.
End this workout by standing up only when you feel the weight is balanced over your head. All the movements should be performed in a single flow without any confusion because it is a risky workout.
#8 Standing Long Jump
This is best to improve performance for an athletic workout. Long jump requires endurance and strength. It should be performed in sets of 3-5 reps. You can go as high as 5 sets. Stand straight with the shoulder and feet at the same width.
Slightly bend your knees with a neutral spine and neck. Relax your arms sideways. Keep your chin tucked inwards throughout the entire jump. Get a grip on the ground and breathe. Bend your knees, hips, and ankles while lowering the legs in a quarter squat.
Get into the jump position. Push towards the ground, swing your arms, and bring your body forward to jump.
Land on your feet in a way that the weight is evenly distributed. Make sure that the landing position and starting position are the same. Keep the toes engaged throughout the performance. Repeat the jumps trying to improve your jump lengths.
#9 Incline Treadmill Sprint
A good leg day routine can never be fulfilled without the treadmill. It is the best for beginners and can be used as a professional as well. It is the one stable cardio workout that everyone must perform.
It is beneficial for glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, calves, and hips. Moreover, it helps with full-body fat and weight loss. Get over a treadmill. Increase the incline settings to 15%. The speed should be kept between 8 to 15 miles per hour for optimum sprinting.
Pay mindful attention to the glutes and hamstrings. Pump your arms in a way that they move straight and don’t interfere in front of you. They will provide you the push and power to keep sprinting. Leg workouts gymming always include a treadmill.
#10 Barbell Front Squats
These squats require a barbell as weight. It is also known as a barbell squat or front squat. The target points are hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps, and core. Intermediate to advanced level people should perform this.
Even though it is a compound exercise, your body will benefit from a tremendous muscle gain afterward. If you want good leg workouts at the gym, this should be in your routine without wanting to skip leg day. There are no restrictions on weight- you can start easy and add on weights as your level of strength increases. Stand beside the barbell and lean down to hold it with both hands.
Keep your back straight and tight enough to take the upcoming load. Pick up the barbell just like in a deadlift and move elbows forward to bring it above to rest on your shoulders. Remember that the weight should not be on or against your neck but close to it.
It might hurt you. You can certainly go for a wider grip as per your comfort. Slowly, move your elbows up with your chest out and keep your spine tight. Move down into a squat with your body vertical. Feel the tension in your glutes when your knees bend for the squat.
#11 Bodyweight Split Squat
This is a plyometrics exercise that targets the quads mainly. Apart from quads, hip flexors, hamstrings, and glutes also get benefited. It can be performed by anyone easily. Stand straight with your feet apart from each other at a comfortable distance.
Bring your right foot forward and left foot backward. Bend both your knees and lower down towards the ground in a way that your knees are at an angle of 90-degrees.
Get back up and repeat this movement in sets. Repeat the exercise by switching the legs. Many leg workouts for women include bodyweight split squat.
#12 Sandbag Walking Lunge
This exercise is for your entire leg and is quite easy to perform.
A leg day gym workout is unfinished without it. You need a sandbag as the name suggests.
Hold the sandbag with your both hands and place it behind your neck.
Lunge forward as long as you can with one leg in a way that the other leg’s knee is almost touching the ground. Then switch to the other leg and keep lunging forward in a straight line.
#13 Romanian Deadlift (Barbell)
This is a traditional barbell lift for glutes and hamstrings. It is the simpler version of clean and jerk. Follow the starting position of the former and remember to get a good grip. Bend down to lift the bar with hands apart slightly wider than your shoulder width.
Set your back, keep your core tight, and push your body up with the help of your hips. When you see you have attained a balanced form with the barbell some inches above the ground, stand up straight while keeping the barbell close to your body with your arms straightly holding it down.
Flex your core, back, and glutes to feel the stretch of the weight. Slowly keep the barbell down and repeat as per your leg day routine requirement.
#14 Glute Hamstring Curl
This is a basic isolation exercise and can be performed differently in various gym equipment- leg curl machine, leg press machine (for sideways), and so on. Curls are very effective on the glutes and hamstrings.
But, the best one is done over the curl bench. If you want your day to be filled with good leg workouts at the gym, the curls are your chance to make it so. Lie flat on your tummy over the bench. Adjust the roller pad according to your comfort under the calves. Make sure the pad is not too high as it could result in an Achilles tendon tear. Stretch out the legs completely and take a breath.
Your hips should be firm and relaxed. Hold the support handles tightly with your palms and lift your leg back towards your spine. Try to bring the ankles as close to the buttocks as possible. Hold the position for a second or two and bring the leg back slowly to its original position. Repeat this exercise in sets with equal reps; 8 to 12 reps are fine.
#15 Barbell Side Lunge
This is good for the back and legs. And is easy to perform. Hold a barbell on your back with the legs under the hips. Step to your left by bending the knees and lowering your body. The right leg should be straight. Come back to the initial position and repeat with the other side. Leg workouts for women have this exercise.
Movement Patterns In A Good Leg Workout
Having flexibility and proper movements is essential for receiving the full benefits of any exercise. Mobility sometimes gets stuck when you are tired or you have a joint problem. Movements are the first step towards your fitness goal. There are leg movements for every workout. Make sure to not skip leg days to keep the benefits of movement patterns strong.
6 movements for good leg day workouts
1.Hip hinge: This movement helps to bend at the hip level while sustaining a neutral spine. This also prevents risks of lower back pain and spinal dysfunctionalities. It can be used in exercises like wall hinges, kettlebell deadlifts, cable pull through, and more.
2.Loaded carry: It is a very simple movement and only involves walking with weights. Just how you carry groceries bag and walk, at the gym- you will be holding weighted loads and walking. Exercises in which this movement is used are waiter carry, suitcase carry, and farmer carry.
3. Squat: It is a compound exercise yet the most basic for training the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and hips. It is like sitting down in a chair. This movement is performed during a leg day routine with assisted squats, goblet squats, bodyweight squats, and more. Leg workouts for women have squats for providing basic training.
4. Push (upper body): It is a movement of physics in which the body moves an object away from it. It could be as simple as pushing furniture in your house. In a workout, it is required for shoulder press, push-ups, dumbbell chest press, and other such exercises.
5. Pull (upper body): A pull movement is when the body brings an object closer towards it. Exercises like cable row, dumbbell row, and pull-ups use this movement.
6.Single leg exercise: It is the ability to move one leg only in an exercise. It requires stability and gravitational force throughout the foot, ankle, hips, and knee. It is a difficult one because a lot of people have dominated sides. One can have their right side dominating over the left side, which in return gives more stability to the right leg than the left. This imbalance can be fixed with single-leg movements. They are beneficial on step-ups, lunges, split squats, and more.
How Many Times Per Week Should You Work Legs?
Training the legs is challenging. Your legs should have a good amount of time to build muscles, repair, heal, rest, and rebuild. Although, doing extensive training out of your league can be dangerous. It can cause muscle tears and many other injuries. try using the leg machines at the gym wisely.
Professional athletes perform full-fledged long leg workouts thrice a week. But, as a beginner or an intermediate, you should focus on doing them twice a week with sets and reps according to your comfort and fitness level. Your trainer is best suited to guide you on this. The technique kept in mind most commonly is to train legs twice a week but never on consecutive days and maximum for four times a week. This depends upon your overall body metabolism, intensity, and fitness goals. On average, there must be a 48 to 72 hours gap in between extreme leg day workouts as a beginner.
How Many Sets And Reps Should You Do In Your Leg Workout?
- The sets and reps depend upon a person’s fitness level and goal. Usually, professionals perform a single heavy-load exercise with 3 to 6 sets having 6 to 8 reps in each. The highest one goes is with 15 to 20 reps each set.
- Light training programs like leg workouts for women include light weights and consist of 8 to 12 reps consecutively in 3 sets. The number of sets usually stays three on an average for beginners and intermediates.
It is always best to not take any risks by using leg machines at the gym on your own. Always have the guidance of your trainer while using the leg curl machine, leg press machine, and such equipment.
Leg Day Workout For Women – Jump-Start Your Workout With These Moves!
Here are some great leg day workouts for women. Best leg day workout for women includes squat, deadlift, bent over row, stiff-legged deadlifts, and dumbbell lunges. You will also need a cable pulley system and a bench that will support your weight. You will need a box or a bench that is low and flat. This will be used to support the weights you are about to use.
The first leg exercises must include some form of lifting.
You should be able to at least do a push-up. Instead, focus on free weight lifting for your legs and your lower back. You will not be doing any squats in these workouts, but you will be lifting heavier weights for your legs.
The right leg exercises include a lunge, step up with a machine, deadlift, stiff-legged deadlift, and dumbbell lunges. You have plenty of time to get started on these.
The first lunge requires you to keep both feet on the floor.
As you raise the dumbbells to your sides, bend your knee and enter a forward lunge. Lower the dumbbells and bring them back to your chest. This type of workout will use your quads.
Another of the best leg exercises for the woman is the deadlift.
To do this exercise, you need to lift the dumbbells straight up to your chest. Keep your arms straight, your shoulders width apart, and your elbows pointing straight ahead. The key to a good deadlift is keeping your back straight.
Next on the list of exercises for the best leg workout is the squat.
If you have already done squats several times, you should do that exercise more often. Begin by standing with your feet apart. You will then bend your knees and place your hands on the floor about shoulder-width apart.
Next, lift your legs and lift them as high as you can.
Do these leg exercises while focusing on using your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, calves, and other stabilizing muscles to lift weights. You can add other upper body exercises for the best workouts. For example, instead of just curling your arms up, you can curl your shoulders up instead. Make sure you use enough rest between each exercise to allow your muscles to heal.
To complete your leg exercises for the best workout routine, it is important to remember how to properly execute the exercises.
Never perform a chest or arm press until you have warmed up your arms to avoid straining your joints and muscles. After completing the exercises, make sure to stretch your legs properly so that you are ready for the next set of exercises. To increase your overall flexibility, practice alternating going from an unstable surface to a stability ball.
Toe raises are great core-specific exercises for your calves.
Stand with both feet forward, toes pointed right toes, and heels. Keep your left leg straight and keep your right leg bent. Now you should slowly lower yourself down to the floor. Make sure you keep your back straight and finish the workout with a proper straightening of your knees.
Squats help build muscle mass in the legs, thighs, buttocks, hips, and abs. If you are looking to lose weight, squats can be one of the most effective workouts for your entire body. To do a squat, stand feet apart at a comfortable distance. Your knees should be slightly bent and your back straight, but your feet should not be touching.
Lunges are another great workout for the entire lower region of your body.
Stand with your feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent. Step forward and bend your knees, just enough so that your calf muscles contract. Slowly step back and repeat, lowering yourself to the ground once your quadriceps are contracted.
Now it is time to get up and go! Lunges consist of a series of graceful movements that will get your heart rate up while burning off extra fat. To do a lunges workout, stand with feet hip-distance apart and knees slightly bent. Lift your arms over your head and bring your hands toward your chest. Lift your upper body to a seated position, and then return to the start position slowly.
Will Your Leg Day Gym Workout Give Results You Need?
Yes, to conclude this topic, it is wise to say that if you follow your fitness goals and keep track of your progress- you will be amazed by the results. A leg day gym workout can have seated leg press or seated leg curls on a leg press machine but your routine will only be a success if you stay motivated. Leg machines at the gym can indeed be overwhelming. The workouts may seem like they are taking upon a lot of your energy. If you intake a well-balanced diet, your energy will stay put and help you gain those leg muscles you have always wanted.
Remember, nothing is difficult if you put your mind to it. The exercises mentioned above for leg workouts at the gym can bring a huge change to your lower body. Moreover, they will also strengthen your core and back if performed accurately. Make sure to never skip leg day if you want full results.