Free Weights Workout | Lower Body & Leg Fitness Routine
The Best Gym Leg Workouts & How to build Lower Body & Leg Strength
When it comes to working out and improving your overall body strength, the foundation of any good workout routine has to begin with your legs and leg workout and lower body exercises. If you're looking to build strength across your whole body your legs will be something you need to target.
Why train the legs muscles?
The leg muscles are the largest muscles in the body and are essential to our everyday life. They are responsible for propelling us forward, stabilizing our posture, and providing support for other major muscle groups.
The leg muscles consist of the quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves.
The quadriceps is composed of four individual muscles that run from the pelvic bone to the knee joint and helps with extension of the knee joint.
The hamstrings is composed of three individual muscles that run from above the hip to just below where it attaches to the back of your thigh. The hamstrings provide flexion at both hip joints and extension at both knees joints.
The calf muscle then runs from behind your knee down to your heel bone. This muscle helps with plantarflexion of the foot and ankle.
What are the best lower body and leg workouts?
Next time you are working out at home or going to the gym why not try these leg strengthening exercises out after getting warmed up of-course.
The Faithful Squat
The squat exercise is one of the most common movements in weightlifting and core strength training because it 's both functional and effective helping to improve your posture, core strength and overall body health.
Squats are a great compound exercise to strengthen your lower body, and can be completed with a barbell, dumbbells, or no equipment at all.
The benefits of a squat
The benefits of squats include: improving flexibility in the hips and knees, strengthening the core muscles, building muscle in the lower body, weight loss and improving balance.
How to complete a squat
When undertaking a squat its vital that you complete the exercise with good technique and form, the slower you complete a squat the better toning effects the exercise will have.
To complete the exercise, get in the starting position by keeping your feet on the ground shoulder width apart, crouch down, then keeping your heels pressed down, knees out, lift your elbows high (especially if your using a bar). and push up throughout the exercise until your standing, keep your head level or looking slightly up for best results
Once your standing, be sure to keep your core tight, then squat back down as low as possible in a controlled manner.
Aim to complete 6-8 Reps, rest between and do 3-4 sets, if your comfortable, go straight into drop sets.
Weighted Calf Raise
This lower leg exercise is important for definition and balance. By building stronger calves, you'll have better stability, better body balance and vastly improved leg power that can assist with a range of other exercises in the gym.
Like most other compound exercises, your calf muscles are a big muscle group. this means they will burn more calories and release other benefit post workout benefits such as testosterone with will help with muscle growth not just with lower body exercises but also upper body exercises as well, just remember to give your self time to recover afterwards, because we all know the day after leg day is a killer.
The benefits of a calf raise
The benefits of a calf raise are important for athletes, runners and other people who spend a lot of time on their feet, they help to prevent injury by strengthening important and widely used area's of your body like your ankle, improve balance and stability, and due to calves muscles, big size will promote weight loss.
How to complete a calf raise exercise
When your looking for a great way of working your calve muscles, your often spoilt at the gym, they have machines specifically designed for it.
However when at home, you can complete it with a few basic items.
Stand on a box (an appropriate plyto box) with your toes on the edge, in a slow and controlled manner lower your feet as far as you can so that your toes are pointing up, try and aim for a 45 degree-ish angle, hold for a second and then, push up whilst trying to tense your calve muscles, finally squeeze at the top of the movement.
Try and get a good rhythm going, go for a lower weight with higher reps on this exercise.
Aim to complete 10-20 Reps, rest between and do 3-4 sets. Be sure to work your muscles loose afterwards.
Note: if you don't have a box to stand on just tilt your ankles up instead from the floor, note that this won't give you as good exercise as using a box.
The Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is a lower body exercise that primarily targets the hamstrings, glutes, and erector spinae. It brings a highly focused workout to the muscles it targets and is great for building lower-body and back strength.
Romanian deadlift vs Traditional deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the traditional barbell or dumbbell deadlift. The main difference between these two exercises is in the starting position. In a traditional deadlift, you start with the weight on the floor and lift it up to your chest or shoulders.
In contrast, in a Romanian deadlift you start with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing out slightly. You then bend at your hips and reach down to grab the barbell from the ground using an overhand grip (palms facing away from you).
The benefits of a Romanian deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is an exercise that targets the muscles in the back of your legs, buttocks, and hamstrings. It is a challenging exercise that requires focus and control.
- Strengthens your lower back
- Strengthens your hamstrings and glutes
- Improves balance
How to complete a Romanian deadlift
1: Grab your favourite Olympic bar, with an appropriate sized sets of weight, standing up with a straight back, hold the Olympic bar in your hands with straight arms and the the bar around the front of your legs.
2. Stand with your feet at hip-width apart and toes pointing forward or slightly outward.
3. Bend your hips back while bending at the knees and pushing your butt back as if you were lowering yourself into a chair.
3. Hold the position for a moment, then push through the heels to straighten up again, until your back is fully straightened, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.
4. Repeat this motion 6-12 times before resting and completing 3-4 sets
The wall sit
The wall sit is a classic exercise, that requires a lot of endurance and strength to complete, this once can be completed without any weight but for the best muscle building we are going to use weights with this one.
It's super simple to complete and its a lot harder than it looks, so be sure to give it a go for its great toning and supporting muscle workout.
The benefits of doing a wall sit
Wall sits are a great exercise to help build your core, your glutes, your hamstrings and are a great overall leg workout. Besides the physical benefits, they have many mental benefits. Wall sits can help you focus better and stay in the present moment.
How to complete a wall sit
Start by standing with your back against a wall and your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees until they're at a right angle, and hold this position for 1 minute. Its a very simple exercise, just pretend your sitting again a wall with a chair, add weight to your legs in order to increase the effect of the exercise.
Dumbbell Hamstring Curl
The weighted hamstring curl is a great exercise to strengthen the hamstrings. Traditionally in gyms its done on specific training equipment, but it is also possible to do the exercise with very little equipment, just a dumbbell, making it a convenient and effective way to strengthen the lower body
The benefits of weighted hamstring curls
The dumbbell hamstring curl is great for building lower body and leg strength due to it compound nature, you can really focus the gains onto your hamstrings, which will bring, improved balance, improved core strength and more defined leg muscles.
How to complete a dumbbell hamstring curl
Position yourself on the bench by lying down on your stomach with the lower half of your leg (just above the knee) extended over the end of the bench.
Place a dumbbell between your feet and squeeze your legs together to filmy grip them between your feet, alternately use a pair of weighted ankle cuffs. Then use your hamstrings to lift the dumbbell up towards your buttocks and then lower it back down to starting position slowly.
Keep this one nice and controlled and the slower the better for the best conditioning and gains.
Aim for 10 reps and 3-4 sets, feel free to complete a drop set instead if you want.
Lunges are a great leg workout to target the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps, they are very simple to perform but we are going to add some weight here to increase the workload.
Lunges are best undertaken with a bit of room, so don't be afraid to get out in the yard if your working out from home.
The benefits of dumbbell lunges
A great way to strengthen the muscles in your lower body is to do lunges. Lunges are a compound exercise which means that it works more than one muscle group at a time. This is why it is one of the best exercises for strengthening your legs and butt.
Benefits of lunges:
- Strengthens the glutes and quadriceps
- Improves balance
- Improves coordination
- Increases flexibility in hips, hamstrings, and calf muscles
- Increases cardio vascular endurance
How to complete a dumbbell lunge
1) Stand with feet together and hands beside hips with a dumbbell in each hand.
2) Step forward with one foot, bending the front knees until your thigh is parallel to the ground, your knee should be roughly at 90 degree angles, then step forward alternating which leg is in front of the other.
If you don't have the room to step forward simply step back into the standing position and step forward again but with the other leg this time.
Repeat this for around 20 lunges, alternating sides for every step
Look to complete around 4 sets of lunges for the best results
The Benefits of Lower Body and Leg Exercises Summarised
Lower body and leg workouts are an essential part of any fitness routine, as they target some of the largest and strongest muscles in the body. These muscles include the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. When you perform leg exercises, you not only work these muscles, but also engage your core and improve your overall body stability and balance.
One of the most significant benefits of lower body exercises is that they help you build strength and endurance. When you perform exercises like squats, lunges, and deadlifts, you are challenging your muscles and forcing them to adapt and become stronger over time. This can help you lift heavier weights and perform other physical activities with ease, such as climbing stairs or carrying heavy objects.
Another benefit of leg workout is that they can help you burn calories and lose weight. The large muscles in your legs require a lot of energy to move, which means that leg workouts can be very effective at burning calories and boosting your metabolism. This can help you achieve a leaner, more toned look while also improving your overall health.
Regular leg workouts can also reduce your risk of injury. Strong leg muscles can help support your body during physical activity, which can reduce your risk of injuries like sprains, strains, and fractures. Additionally, leg exercises can help improve your balance and stability, which can further reduce your risk of falls and other injuries.
Overall, incorporating leg exercises into your fitness routine is an excellent way to improve your overall health and fitness. Whether you are looking to build strength and endurance, burn calories, or reduce your risk of injury, leg workouts can help you achieve your goals and feel better in your body.
Exercising the lower body is important because it helps to improve your flexibility by working and stretching ligaments, improve balance from improved core strength and fitness and, It also helps to prevent injuries by strengthening, bones, ligaments and supporting muscles.
Due to the lower body large muscle mass, its also a great place to engage for losing weight as the larger the muscle the higher the caloric burn rate.
Looking for some weight to train with, Why not check out our Amazing Range of Home Gym Weights
If you have aspirations to building a toned or getting an elusive six-pack, strength training will be the key component to making it happen.
However, even if it's not your objective to maximize muscle size, strength training might still be the best way to meet your health goals.
Why's that? Building muscle is a great way to burn more calories at rest. And when your muscles are bigger and stronger, they'll also help you perform better everyday activities and have more energy.
Weight Training is perfect for building these muscles and a healthier and more toned body, The best way to achieve this is to utilise a vast range of Strength Training Equipment we have available at the Home Fitness Store like our inner thigh strength training equipment
If however your looking to use Free-Weights to train which often give you the best all round workout, Have a look at our vast collection available below.
Dumbbells - The must have Weight for any Gym.
Dumbbells are the swiss army knife of the gym, their balanced design gives great flexibility in their use allowing you to undertake a range of exercises.
They work greatly with the assistance of a gym bench so be sure to check out our selection of benches as well.
Buying your set of Dumbbells can seem expensive at first, but its the one bit of equipment your going to use every session and a good set of Dumbbells will last a lifetime.
Dumbbell Weights give the following benefits
- Versatile Range of Exercise's
- Balanced in the Hand
- Great for Chest, Arms, Legs, Core
- Builds Lower, Upper & Core Strength
- Improves Grip Strength
- Exercises include Lunges, Flys, Chest Press, Arm Curls, Hammer Curls, Skull-Crushers, Shoulder Press, Wrist Curl, Shrugs, Calf Raise
Kettlebells - Train for Rapid and Specialized movements.
Kettlebells are a great addition to any gym, they can be used for rapid movements like Snatches or used to add weight to exercises like Shrugs.
They are great for exercises involving two hands on one weight such as through the leg exercises.
Kettlebells give the following benefits
- Great for Rapid Movements
- Can be used for Incline Press-ups
- Builds Grip and Wrist Strength
- Good for two Hand one Weight setups
- Exercises include Lunges, Hammer Curls, Skull-Crushers, Wrist Curl, Shrugs, Incline Press-ups, Squats, Calf Raise
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