So you’ve been hitting the gym regularly. And, let’s face it, you probably spend inappropriate amount of time on your biceps (ALSO READ The only 10 bicep workout you need) Sure, big guns make you look great and we know they’re a hit among the ladies but surely you don’t want to end up with chicken legs? Whether it is your sports performance, gym session or a functional fitness routine, it is essential to build a strong lower body to accelerate your performance level. So, if you want to bulk up your legs, these are seven of the best leg exercises to begin with.
7 best leg exercises for beginners for legs of steel
If you are a beginner, there are a few fundamental training techniques to be kept in mind. The leg exercises you perform should train your legs unilaterally to ensure equal muscle development. Lateral training (side-to-side) helps prevent injuries by building smaller stabilizer muscles. Essentially your workout should primarily hit the muscles in your posterior chain such as your hamstrings and glutes since they are known to produce maximum force in your body. So, increase your leg days to build legs of steel with these seven leg exercises for beginners:
1. Swiss Ball Wall Squat
3 sets of 15 reps 45-60 seconds rest in between sets
You will require a physio or Swiss ball to perfrom this exercise. Wedge one of the two between the wall and your lower back and lean back as hard as possible, pressing your weight against the ball. According to Liz Lowe, CSCS, the head program designer at Scorch Fitness, you will need to transition your weight into your heels while ensuring you’re able to wiggle your toes and squat down, with your legs parallel to the ground. During this movement, keep your shoulders and chest back. Push with the help of your heels and stand upright the same way you came down.
2. Bulgarian Split Squat
2 sets of 10 reps (each leg) 30 seconds of rest between sets
Place a flat bench in front of you and face away from it. Rest one foot at the top of the bench and transition your weight onto the other leg. This would be the leg that is being worked. Gradually lower your body until your raised leg’s thigh is almost parallel to the floor. Stand up by pushing all your weight through your heel. Repeat all reps on one side before moving on to the other leg.
3. Dumbbell Deadlift
2 sets of 6 reps 60 seconds rest between sets
Hold two dumbbells with your hands at the side of your body, palms facing inward. Slightly bend your knees and hinge at your hips simultaneously while you lower your weights in front of your legs. Transition the weight to your heels while lifting your chest and keeping your shoulders pushed back. After taking a brief pause at the bottom, pull your body back upward by engaging your hamstrings and glutes. While you’re at the top of your movement, push your hips ahead and squeeze your glutes. Repeat the movement, but ensure to keep your back flat throughout.
4. Banded Lateral Walk
2 sets of 12 reps (each leg) 45 seconds rest between sets
You’ll require a light or medium resistant band for this exercise. Step into the band and place it mid-way up your shins. Create resistance on the band by squatting down and taking a wide step forward. Your other foot could be stepped in 4-6 inches to increase tension on the band. This lateral shuffle movement should be repeated for all reps in one direction before pausing and completing in the other.
5. Walking Lunges
2 sets of 6 reps (each leg) 60 seconds of rest between sets