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Leg workout to build muscle: 4 moves to target the hamstrings, quads, calves and glutes

Are you ready to give your leg workout a boost and unleash the power in your lower body? We all know that our bones are the foundation of our strength and mobility, so why not give them the attention they deserve? Let’s take a look at a muscle building leg workout that specifically targets all the leg muscles.

Our legs have four muscles that play an important role in keeping them and our movement stable. These muscles are the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Targeting all parts of your legs during a workout is of utmost importance to achieving balanced muscle development and overall lower body strength. Each region plays an important role in functional movement and athletic performance. Targeting these regions will not only improve your performance but also help prevent imbalances and reduce the risk of injury.

4 moves to include in your leg workout to build muscle

1. Romanian deadlifts: For hamstrings

Romanian deadlifts primarily target the hamstrings, which are the muscles at the back of the thighs. They also work the glutes (especially the gluteus maximus) and engage the lower back and core muscles for stability and control.

Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your back straight, hinge at your hips, letting the weights lower toward the ground while maintaining a slight bend in your knees. Lower until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings, then drive your hips forward to return to the starting position. Perform three to four sets of 8-10 reps, focusing on controlled and smooth movements.

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deadlift
Go for a Romanian deadlift if you want to target your hamstrings! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

2. Leg press: For quadriceps muscles

The leg press mainly targets the quadriceps. As you push off the platform, the muscles in the front of your thighs contract to extend your knees. The glutes and hamstrings also aid in this movement.

To perform a leg press, sit on the machine with your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform. Push the platform away by extending your legs until they are almost fully extended, then slowly lower the weight by bending your knees. Repeat for three to four sets of 10-12 reps, focusing on a full range of motion and controlled movements.

3. Calf Raises: For the calf muscles

Calf raises specifically target the calf muscles, namely the gastrocnemius and soleus. These muscles are located on the back of the lower leg and are responsible for ankle plantar flexion, which is the action of pointing the toes downward.

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Stand on a raised platform with your toes on the edge and your heels hanging off. Gradually raise your heels to maximum height, focusing on contracting and engaging your calf muscles at the peak of the movement. Lower your heels again and repeat for three to four sets of 15-20 reps. For an added challenge, perform the exercise with one leg at a time.

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Calf training
Also focus on your calf muscles for stability and strength! Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

4. Hip Thrust: For glutes

An excellent leg exercise that specifically targets the glutes is the hip thrust. The hip thrust is very effective at isolating and strengthening the glutes.

Begin by sitting on the ground with your upper back against a bench or step, and your feet flat on the floor. Place a barbell or a padded weight over your hips. Roll the barbell toward you until it rests just above your hips. As you lift your hips off the ground, emphasize driving through your heels and activating your glutes by squeezing them hard. Hold the contracted position for a moment, making sure your glutes are fully engaged. Lower your hips back to the starting position with controlled and deliberate movements. Repeat the exercise for the desired number of repetitions, maintaining proper form throughout.

hip thrust for the glutes
Hip thrusts are perfect for engaging your glutes! Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Remember, to achieve optimal results, it is crucial to maintain proper form, gradually increase the weights, and consistently challenge yourself by gradually overloading the muscles. Also, don’t forget to warm up before each leg session and cool down afterwards to prevent injury and aid recovery.

By incorporating these four targeted exercises into your leg training routine, you’ll be on your way to building strong, muscular legs that not only look impressive, but also improve your overall athleticism and functional strength!

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