7 Best Leg Exercises You Must Do for Strength and Conditioning 

Leg exercises are important to keep your leg and lower body muscles strong. (Photo by Pavel Danilyuk via pexels)
Leg exercises are important to keep your leg and lower body muscles strong. (Photo by Pavel Danilyuk via pexels)

Performing proper leg exercises is important for any fitness goal. Whether you want to gain weight, improve athletic performance, enhance your muscle mass or strengthen and condition your leg muscles, practicing leg exercises is as important as training any other body part, such as your biceps or abs.

Your legs have some of the strongest as well as largest muscles in your body. They are also responsible for hauling you around the entire day, so it’s important to work on them regularly to maintain their flexibility and mobility.

To keep your leg muscles strong and maintain them in the best condition possible, here are a few leg exercises you must include in your daily workout routine:


Leg exercises for strength and conditioning

1) Barbell back squat

Instructions:

  • Load a barbell with an adequate weight on your shoulders (traps), and stand straight on the floor. Keep your feet at a shoulder-width distance and your back absolutely straight.
  • Keep your gaze forward, your chest lifted and your toes pointed out.
  • Sit back into your hips in a controlled manner, and bend your knees. Allow your body to go down towards the floor. Ensure your knees are slightly out.
  • Continue to lower your body till your thighs are parallel to the floor. You may go as down as per your mobility.
  • Slowly push back your body up to the initial position.
  • Perform the next rep.
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2) Bulgarian split squat

Instructions:

  • Stand in front of a bench. Hold dumbbells in both hands, and put the top of your right foot on the bench behind you.
  • Start to lower your body, and continue to lower it till your rear knee touches the ground, and your front thigh is parallel to the ground.
  • Perform the desired reps.
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3) Romanian deadlift

Instructions:

  • Hold a barbell in your shoulder-width grip. Stand straight with your feet at a hip-width distance.
  • Bend your hips back.
  • Bend your knees while you start to lower the barbell along your shins till your hamstrings start to stretch.
  • Make sure to keep your lower back straight and in a naturally arched position.
  • Once you’ve completed the desired reps, put the barbell slowly on the floor.
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4) Bodyweight calf raise

Instructions:

  • Stand straight with your toes on a step or an elevated surface. Hold onto something strong and sturdy for support.
  • Raise your heels slowly, and come up on the balls of your feet.
  • Lower your heels so that you feel a stretch in your calf muscles.
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5) Kettlebell swing

Instructions:

  • Stand straight with your feet at a hip-width distance. Put a kettlebell on the floor.
  • Hold the kettlebell with both hands, with your palms facing down. Make sure to keep your lower back absolutely flat; extend your hips, and raise it off the ground.
  • Bend your hips back, and allow the kettlebell to swing back in a controlled manner between your legs.
  • Extend your hips explosively, and allow the momentum to swing the kettlebell up to your shoulder level.
  • Make sure to control the movement, but use the momentum to perform the next repetition.
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6) Weighted adductor goblet squat

Instructions:

  • Put off your shoes.
  • Hold a dumbbell with both hands, and keep it at the centre of your chest.
  • Your feet should be wider than your hip-distance.
  • Put your bodyweight on one leg, and the other leg will do the sliding.
  • Take a squat position. As you squat, your bodyweight should be on the non-sliding leg, and the sliding leg should move out straight from the side of your body.
  • At the bottom of the movement as you come up, squeeze your inner thighs.
  • Repeat 12 times, or perform three sets.
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7) Leg curls

Instructions:

  • Lie flat on your stomach on a leg curl machine, with the roller pad above your heels.
  • Hold the machine’s support bar on both sides.
  • Engage your core; lift your feet, and pull the roller pad towards your butt.
  • Hold for a few seconds at the top movement, and return to the start.
  • Perform the next rep.
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Summary

Ideally, you should practice leg exercises at least two to three times a week, as that will give your legs enough time to recover. Moreover, it’s important to keep your workouts simple, especially if you are a beginner, so that you don’t put too much strain on your leg muscles.

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