Slackers need not apply, this article is going to explore the deepest, darkest and dirtiest leg exercises about! Everyone magazine will happily remind you of the importance of squats and yes, they are a fantastic exercise which you shouldn’t ever overlook. However there are many more leg exercises which you may or may not have heard of, let alone tried and when you consider the size of your leg muscles in relation to other muscle groups it makes sense to use a variation of exercises.
Single Legged Bench Squats
Picture this, standing in front of a bench with one foot lying on it laces down and squatting down with your standing foot. This exercise is pure magic; there isn’t anything quite like it in terms of isolating the quadriceps head running down the inside of your knee. The burn you experience with your body weight alone, without even holding a weight plate is insane and it is a fantastic way to finish off your legs!! Higher repetitions work best with this exercise, go for 15-20 reps and when you fail drop the weight plates and go with your body weight. Feel the burn baby!!
Kneeling down with a training partner pushing down on the back of your heels allow your body to lean forward with no movement in your waist, then return to the starting position. After the first rep you will realise you only need to use a range of motion of around 4-5 inches to totally blitz your hamstrings. Done right, this exercise will make it feel as though a muscle magnet is pulling your hamstrings from underneath the skin – it is intense but it is also one of the best ways to isolate your hamstrings!! Go for 5 sets of 6-8 with really slow and controlled form, this also helps ensure your lower back isn’t exposed to potential strain.
Conventional dumbbell lunges are fantastic; they help condition portions of your hamstrings and thigh muscles and again act as a great finishing exercise to your leg workout. However, doing lunges on a bench shortens the range of motion, increases the speed at which you can do the exercise and keeps the tension of different areas of legs. The main areas this will help expose include your hamstrings and upper/inner thighs. The beauty of this exercise is that you are far less likely to place unnecessary stress on your knee joints if you have issues or if you are over-fatigued and are struggling to maintain your balance.
Using any of these exercises to finish off your legs will help keep your workouts fresh and give you DOMS in muscles you never knew existed!! Enjoy!