Building massive legs is a bit like Marmite – some people love training them, others hate it. But if you’re in that latter camp then you really need to buck your ideas up: building big wheels is actually the best way to encourage full-body growth and development. The muscles in your legs are some of the biggest in your body and if you’re ignoring them then you’re going to half as anabolic as you could be.
But whether you love or hate legs you aren’t going to progress in this department unless you’re training the right way. There is a lot more to leg workouts than just deadlifts and squats and just like the upper body, you really should be mixing up your training and keeping it versatile and varied. Read on then and we’ll look at six awesome leg exercises you might not have tried.
Trap Bar Deadlift
The trap bar deadlift is a deadlift but performed while standing inside a trap bar. Trap bars are normally used for shrugging and as such they break out into two parallel bars in the middle where you can stand while holding them.
Trap bar deadlifts then allow you to squat without worrying about hiding your knees and shins (great for beginners) while at the same time allowing you to change the angle of the force slightly to engage the hamstrings more.
Glute Hamstring Raises
The glute hamstring raise is an exercise very similar to a hamstring curl with the main difference being that you’re going to raise your body instead of pulling the weights towards you. You can perform this on the usual resistance machine by simply stacking up the weight to be greater than your own body weight.
Cable Pull Throughs
Cable pull throughs involve pulling a cable between your legs in front of you – driving with your legs as you do. This is almost like a kettlebell swing except the resistance is maintained and equal throughout the exercise.
Appropriate squats are squats with resistance bands attached to the top of the squat rack. This has the effect of making the weight lighter as you get lower into the movement, allowing you to increase the weight significantly without potentially damaging your joints.
Who knows whether there’s such thing as inappropriate squats but if there is, they’re definitely awesome.
DB Heels Elevated
The ‘DB’ here stands for dumbbell. This is because you will be taking a dumbbell plate, lying it on the floor behind you and tucking it under your heels, then performing squats in that position. This alters the direction of the force once again and creates a great challenge.
Goblet DB Split Squat
This is all kinds of unusual exercises combined into one brutal move. Here you will be splitting your legs by having one up behind you on a bench (like a lunge) while you’re also holding a dumbbell in front of your chest (the goblet part). The effect is something like a one-legged front squat but a little easier – it’s great for the hamstrings and not too tough on the joints!