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The Best Leg Day Exercises to Add to Your Workout

Your legs are important for carrying your weight and getting you around, which is why you want to have strong leg muscles. Regardless of whether you are a dancer, soccer player, weightlifter, or accountant you want your legs to be in good shape both for fitness and aesthetic reasons. Achieving, strong, well-toned legs, however, isn’t always easy.

Those who already have a fitness routine that focuses on various muscle groups know that leg day can be among the most arduous days of the week. Not only do you end up being sore for several days after, but it also takes a long time to see results just because your leg muscles are so large.

Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts when it comes to achieving toned, powerful legs. However, there are certain leg exercises that are particularly effective in giving you strength as well as creating a sculpted look for your muscles.

Before You Start Your Leg Day Exercises

Before you jump into the exercises, you want to have a realistic, viable plan for incorporating these into your workout. For instance, doing all of these exercises every single day can be impractical, not to mention painful; it’s called leg-day, not leg-week, for a reason.

Image of a man doing leg extensions in a gym

Incorporating Exercises Into Your Fitness Routine

If you already work out, try devoting one day a week to your legs. If you don’t already work out, you’ll want to create a schedule that fits into your lifestyle before designating a leg day. A note of caution, if you are suffering from certain health conditions or recovering from an injury, you should always consult with your doctor before incorporating new exercise into your routine.

The Perfect Leg Routine

The “perfect” leg day workout allows you to engage and work the various muscles in your quads, hamstrings, and calves. The legs are made up of many muscles, so you’ll want exercises that allow you to work at various angles. You will also want to do a quick warm-up and stretch before and after your workout. Stretching your muscles helps avoid cramping and soreness while also increasing flexibility.

The Walking Lunge

Location: At home or at the gym

The Exercise: This is a basic but effective leg strengthening exercises. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, step forward with the right leg, bending your knees at 90-degree angles until your back knee is just about to tap the floor, then rise and switch legs. It is important, during this exercise, to keep your knees and ankles parallel to avoid injury.

You can walk or stay in place with this lunge. If the exercise is too easy, go ahead and add a dumbbell to each hand to make it a little more challenging.

Recommended: 3 sets of 8–12 reps.

Image of a man Using A Press Machine In A Fitness Club. Strong man doing an exercise on its feet in the simulator.

The Hamstring Curl

Location: At the gym. You’ll need to find a hamstring curl machine for this one.

The Exercise: As far as leg workout machines go, the hamstring curl machine is particularly useful. Lying face down on the machine, you’ll want the lever pad to rest on the back of your claves, just above the ankles. Keeping the rest of your body flat, curl your feet up towards your butt. You’ll want to start at a low weight and work up, depending on your comfort level.

Recommended: 3 sets of 8–12 reps.

The Bulgarian Split Squat

Location: At home or at the gym

The exercise: Stand in front of a bench or stool. Extend one of your legs backward so that it’s resting on the bench or stool. On your standing leg, lower into a squat going as low as you can or until your standing thigh is parallel with the ground, and then engage your glutes rise. During the squat, you’ll want to keep your chest lifted and your knee parallel to your ankle. After you’ve mastered this squat, you can add dumbbells to each hand to make the exercise more challenging.

Recommended: 3 sets of 8–12 reps.

The Sumo Squat

Location: Anywhere

The Exercise: For this killer leg workout, you’ll want to stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and with your toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle. Next, you’ll sit your hips back, just like a regular squat and pause at the bottom. Ideally, you want to keep your hips, knees, and angles aligned so this will definitely be a much wider squat than you’ve probably done in the past. If you’re finding the exercise too easy, or as you get stronger, add some weights to make it more challenging.

Recommended: 3 sets of 8–12 reps.

The Goblet Squat

Location: Home or gym

The Exercise: This a variation of the Sumo Squat but done with a kettlebell. Start holding the kettlebell at chest level with your elbows pointing down. With your feet hip-width apart, push your hips back as you lower into a squat. To add difficulty, grab a heavier kettlebell.

Recommended: 3 sets of 12 reps.

The Single-Leg Deadlift

Location: At home or at the gym

The Exercise: Stand in your left leg with your knee slightly bent, lean forward extending your left leg behind you while keeping your back straight. Your right leg and your body should be parallel to the floor at this point. Once you’re parallel, straighten yourself, and that’s rep one. You can also add a kettlebell to your right hand to make the exercise more challenging. When using the kettlebell, you want the kettlebell to almost be touching the floor as your leg is extended back.

Recommended: 3 sets of 12 reps.

The Box Jump

Location: At home or at the gym

The Exercise: This is a fun exercise to do at home, if you have a box, or at the gym. Start in front of a small box, around 14 inches in height; you can increase the height of the box as you get comfortable. With your feet shoulder-width apart, start with a squat, and then jump onto the center of the step or box, landing on the balls on your feet. Then jump back and that’s rep one.

Recommended: 3 sets of 12 reps.

Takeaways: There are a lot of great leg exercises that you can incorporate into leg workouts The key to success, however, is staying consistent because even the best leg exercises won’t be able to sculpt your legs if you don’t stick with them.

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