The Best Leg Exercises For Growth

What’s a winning physique? It’s surely not a dude with bulging shoulders and pecs strutting around on chicken legs. Look, a lot of guys avoid leg day, but you’re doing yourself a disservice. Stop running away. Smash your goals. 

Here’s exercises that are proven to help you get massive gains that are also safe and smart. Let’s check them out. 

How To Work The Legs

Before we get into the exercises, though, let’s get a general understanding of working the lower body. You need proper form. Work on proper form first, and you will have better results from the beginning. Lastly, don’t focus too much on higher repetitions. Work within the 80-85% 1RM range for the most growth. 

Recommended Leg Exercises For Growth

With some basic information out of the way, it’s time to introduce the exercises. 

Barbell Back Squat

Note: Best performed inside a rack for safety. 
3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: 
Start with your feet under the bar, hands in position. Get under the bar. Adjust your grip if you need to. Keep the chest up and the elbows down. Squat up to unrack the bar and keep your core engaged, back long. As you continue to perform a rep, keep your heels under your shoulders with the toes out on a slight diagonal. Get your backside as low to the ground as comfortable for your joints. To get up from the squat, drive through glute and hamstring muscles, squeezing and pressing. 

Barbell Front Squat

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Bring your arms up under the bar. Keep the elbows high, upper arms parallel to the floor. The bar should rest atop the deltoids when your arms are crossed. From there, lift the bar from the rack by pushing with your legs up and keeping the torso straight. 

Step away from the rack and take a squat position—feet under shoulders, toes pointed outward. This is the starting position. 

Lower down slowly. Maintain a straight posture as the knees bend. Eventually, the thighs should be below parallel with the floor. As you start to lift from the bottom position, exhale and push the floor through the middle of the foot while engaging the quads. 

Repeat. 

Barbell Lunge

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps on both sides 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Once you have unracked the bar, step forward with either your right or left leg. Maintain balance and squat down. Think about lowering the hips, not bending the knees in order to keep your form. The torso remains straight. Knees bend to 90-degrees. Don’t allow the front knee to go beyond the toes. Once you reach the lowest point, power back up through the feet. Repeat this movement 9 more times on one leg then switch. 

Leg Press Machine

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Start by sitting at the machine with your back firm against the seat. Your feet are flat on the foot plate, slightly wider than hip-width apart. Grab the handles on either side of the seat. From there, push the plate away by extending through the knees and hips. Turn the locking safety handle so you can move freely. Then, keep pushing through the feet until you’re extended. Bring the plate back slowly. Never fully lock the knees as your work. Repeat the motion. 

Leg Curl Machine

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Once you’ve readied the machine for use, place the back of the lower leg on the padded lever. Second the lap pad against your quads, above the knees. Grasp the side handles. Make sure you start with the legs fully straight out behind you. Now, exhale, pulling the machine lever back as you bend the knees and lift your heels towards your back. Hold the contraction for a second. Slowly lower back to starting position. Repeat. 

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: [Use dumbbells or the machine] On a workout step or platform, stand with your feet under your shoulders. The balls of your feet are on the top half of the platform/step, and the heels are hanging off. Push up, extend the knees, and keep the torso erect. Never lock the knees as you rise. Continue raising the heels as you breathe then lower slowly to starting position, feeling the calf release and stretch. Repeat. 

Romanian Deadlift

3-4 sets x 8-10 reps 
Rest: 3 minutes 
How to do: Hold a bar at hip level with palms facing down. Shoulders are back, the back is arched, and the knees are slightly bent. This is where you start. From there, lower the bar down by moving the butt back. Keep the bar close to the body as you move. When done correctly, the maximum range is just below the knee. At the bottom position, squeeze through the back body and drive the hips forward to return to standing. Repeat. 

That’s it! You don’t need anything else—just consistency and determination. 

You can’t spell legendary without “leg day.” With these exercises, you can grow your legs and get that bodybuilding physique and strength you’ve been working hard to achieve. 

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