Your legs are one of those things that most people seem to neglect when they’re in the gym. People like to come in and bench press and bicep curl until their arms fall off, but no one wants to go near the squat machine.
Yet, in my experience, if you’re really serious about putting on weight, leg exercises are key to your success.
Why? Because your legs are larger muscles. So by building them, you put on much more muscle faster, also known as weight. Lifting with your legs also releases a greater level of growth hormone into your system which will benefit all the other muscles you are trying to build.
So with that being said, let’s get down to the three best bodybuilding exercises for your legs.
1. The Classic – Squats
It’s imperative that you do this exercise correctly or you can really hurt yourself. Start off with light weight even if you can do a lot more. This is necessary to build the neural pathways in your brain, but also to master the form. Practice makes perfect so when you load the bar up you won’t have to worry about it.
- Keep your chest up and your face up – don’t bend over or look down
- Stick your butt out as you go down and keep your back straight
- There should be a 90 degree angle at your ankles and at your knees in the down position – don’t let your knees move forward over your toes…this is wrong
- Push through your heels – not your toes – on the up motion
Squats are great because they are a compound exercise. They incorporate your hams, quads, glutes, abs and back. When all of these muscles come into play, you’re sure to put on tons of lean muscle.
2. Front or Reverse Lunges
Lunges are another great workout that people overlook. I’ve been doing them for just about every sport I’ve been in and for good reason. They simulate the natural walking motion which means they work naturally with your body so it’ll be easier to put on muscle. It’s also a compound exercise which hits all the muscles in the leg separately but intensely.
- Start with a barbell on your shoulders or with dumbells in your hands at a standing position
- Step forward and kneel until your ankle and knees form a 90 degree angle
- Keep your chest and head up
- Don’t let your back knee touch the ground
- Stand up and repeat with the other leg forward
3. Leg Press
This is one of my favorites because it takes the stress off of my back and lets my legs do all the work. I’ve pressed well over 1000 lbs before so it’s also a big morale booster. But like many machines in the gym, it can lead to bad form as I see so many people doing.
- Begin with your feet shoulder width apart on the platform
- Release the safety clamp
- Lower the weight until your ankles and knees form a 90 degree angle – your knees should be almost to your chest
- Pause for a second and press back into position
- DO NOT lock your knees out
There are three of the best bodybuilding exercises [http://fitwithmitch.com/bodybuilding-exercises/] for your legs that I include in my workout when I want to do a major overhaul on my legs and they work great. Other leg exercises include:
- Box Squats
- Split Lunge Jumps
- Calve Raises
These are great and I’m sure you can think of others. So next time you’re in the gym, don’t forget about your legs. You don’t want to end up looking like one of those upside down pyramids! Good luck and Happy Lifting!