The Best Exercises for Bigger Legs

by Eric Gordon on May 25, 2023
One of the most sought-after fitness goals for men and women alike is to build a pair of bigger, stronger, and more defined legs. But achieving this goal requires more than just working out the muscles in the lower body, it requires the right exercises that are both effective and safe. If you're looking to grow your leg muscles, exercises such as squats, leg press, hack squats, leg extensions, and bulgarian split squats are some of the best options available.
These exercises not only target the major leg muscles such as quads, hamstrings, and glutes but also engage several other muscle groups to promote overall strength and stability.In this article, we'll discuss these exercises in more detail, including their benefits, variations, and tips for maximizing their effectiveness. So, let's dive in!


Squats are widely considered to be an effective exercise for building leg muscles. There are various types of squats that can be performed to strengthen different muscles of the legs. Back squats are an ideal choice for working the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps muscles, as they emphasize the posterior chain. Front squats are another great type of squat that primarily target the quadriceps muscles. Smith machine squats are a modified version of the back squat that uses a machine to help maintain proper form and balance, making it a great option for beginners. Hack squats are a popular exercise for building quadriceps strength and size, as well as improving overall lower body stability, utilizing the barbell loaded behind the lifter. Squats can be performed with heavy weights for low reps, or with lighter weights for higher reps, depending on the goals of the individual. Proper form and technique is essential for maximizing the benefits of squatting and preventing injury. Regularly incorporating squats into a workout routine can help strengthen and tone the entire leg muscle group, leading to improved athletic performance, increased functional strength, and better overall health.


Leg Press 

The leg press is a popular exercise that targets the lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. It is typically performed on a machine that involves pushing a weighted sled away from the body using the legs. Unlike squats, which also work the lower body, the leg press is considered a safer exercise for those with knee or back issues. Additionally, varying foot placement and resistance levels can target different muscle groups, allowing for a versatile workout routine. Some studies have also shown that the leg press can increase vertical jump height and improve overall lower body strength. However, it is important to maintain proper form and use an appropriate weight to avoid injury.

Leg Extensions (leg curl) 

Leg extensions are a popular exercise that focuses on strengthening the quadriceps muscle. It is a simple yet effective exercise that can be performed on a machine or with free weights. This exercise involves lifting your legs against resistance, with a controlled range of motion, to engage and isolate the quadriceps muscle group. You can adjust the resistance level on the machine to suit your fitness level and gradually increase it as you become stronger. If using free weights, you can do leg extensions with ankle weights or resistance bands, affording you more versatility in your leg workout routine. Leg extensions, primarily targets the quadriceps muscle, but it also benefits other muscle groups that support your legs, like the hips and glutes.

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Bulgarian split squats

Bulgarian split squats are a popular exercise for lower body strength training. They are performed by standing with one foot about two feet in front of the other and lowering the back knee down towards the floor, while keeping the front knee bent at a 90-degree angle. This exercise primarily targets the quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings, while also engaging the core for stability. Bulgarian split squats are an efficient and challenging exercise as they require a high level of balance and stability, making them beneficial for athletes and fitness enthusiasts alike. Additionally, this exercise can be performed with body weight or with added resistance, making it easily adaptable to individual fitness levels.

Romanian Deadlifts (aka RDLs)

Romanian deadlifts, commonly referred to as RDLs, are a popular exercise that primarily focuses on strengthening the hamstrings, lower back, and glutes. Unlike traditional deadlifts, RDLs require a greater level of control and stability throughout the movement. This is because the lifter must maintain a slight bend in the knees and hinge forward at the hips, keeping their back straight and core engaged. RDLs can be performed with a barbell, dumbbells, or kettlebells and can be easily integrated into any strength training program. In addition to developing hamstring and lower back strength, RDLs can also improve balance, proprioception, and overall athletic performance. It is worth noting that proper form and technique are crucial when performing RDLs to prevent injury and optimize results.


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