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Best 10 Workouts to Do on Leg Day for Beginners

leg workout by a man

To achieve any fitness goal effectively, leg training plays a vital role. Enhancing athletic performance and promoting intelligent activity are the key benefits of these 10-leg workouts. Drew Little, a certified strength and conditioning specialist at Michael Johnson Performance in Texas – a renowned training facility for professional athletes – emphasizes the significance of including leg exercises in your fitness routine. Whether you desire total-body strength development or aim to increase lean muscle mass while gaining weight, improve athletic performance or lose excess body fat – training your legs is indispensable. Additionally, it can also elevate levels of free testosterone in your body. However, it's not just about intense training; it's about intelligent training, too. According to Little's expert advice, maintaining a balance between various lower body movement patterns during workouts is crucial. These patterns include vertical drive (such as squat variations), horizontal drive (like lateral lunges), steep draw (including deadlifts and Olympic lifting variations), and flat draw (involving posterior chain-dominant movements lying on your back or stomach like glute bridges). Incorporating these diverse movements ensures that no single muscle group dominates the others while promoting synergy. This balanced approach reduces the likelihood of injuries and enhances overall performance.

Although most of the workouts listed below primarily target the lower body, they also include supplementary exercises that focus on strengthening your upper, middle, and lower back. These exercises provide a solid foundation for your upper body to handle heavier weights during squats, deadlifts, and Olympic lift variations. Some exercises specifically target your core muscles, which are vital in enhancing stability during leg-intensive workouts. Lastly, activities are designed to work smaller muscle groups, such as your traps and forearms. Strengthening these muscles is essential for increasing overall strength and lifting heavier weights.

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10 Workouts to Do on Leg Day

The Warmup

To maximize the effectiveness of your workout and achieve your fitness goals, starting with a proper warmup routine is crucial.

Thermogenics (3-5 minutes)

Begin by engaging in thermogenic exercises for 3-5 minutes. This can involve riding a stationary bike or engaging in high-intensity movements like bounding or skipping. These exercises are beneficial as they raise your core temperature and enhance blood circulation. They also trigger a sweating response, which prepares your body for the upcoming workout.

Dynamic flexibility (5 minutes)

Following the thermogenic phase, dedicate approximately 5 minutes to dynamic flexibility exercises. These stretches include prisoner squats, knee-to-chest squeezes, leg cradles, hip swings,straight-leg kicks, and lateral lunges. These movements are specifically designed to improve joint mobility and increase overall flexibility. This will allow you to perform subsequent exercises with a broader range of motion, resulting in higher-quality training sessions that significantly impact achieving your desired fitness outcomes.

Glute activation movements (5 minutes)

Little advises utilizing mini-band exercises as a valuable tool in your leg workout regimen to activate and invigorate your glutes and hip stabilizers essential muscles for optimal training outcomes. Start by incorporating lateral, forward, and backward walks and single-leg stances where you actively spread the band apart while maintaining an athletic position. Aim for 15-20 repetitions of deliberate and controlled movements to maximize results, or hold the single-leg stance for 10 seconds per leg.

Before you begin

To effectively train with percentages, it is crucial to have knowledge of your maximum weight for one repetition. Additionally, before commencing any workout, it is essential to engage in warmup sets. Different individuals may require varying numbers of warmup sets, so pay attention to your body, advises Little. It is necessary to exercise caution when performing these movements. He cautions that you have mastered the proper form and technique before attempting to add weight. Performing these exercises incorrectly may lead to potential injuries, hinder your progress, or limit your strength potential. If you experience any discomfort or pain, cease the activity immediately.

Workout 1

Please perform each exercise separately, ensuring you take the appropriate rest period for the first two exercises.

a) Complete 5 sets of 2 reps of back squats at 80% of your maximum weight, resting for 3-4 minutes between each set.

b) Perform 3 sets of 5 reps of front squats at 70% of your maximum weight, resting for 2-3 minutes between each set.

c) Do 2 sets of 8-12 reps of good mornings with a rest period of 90 seconds between groups. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, keep your body tall, and shoulders retracted. Place a barbell across the back of your shoulders (not your neck!) and hinge at the hips while slightly bending your knees. Maintain an arch in your lower back and feel a stretch in your hamstrings without pushing too far to avoid pain.

d) For the walk-out exercise, load the bar with a weight equivalent to what you can squat once at maximum effort (1RM). Set up as you would for a regular back squat, and take a deep breath while bracing yourself. Unrack the weight and take two steps before holding it for 10 seconds. Rack the weight to complete this workout finisher. Adjust the weight based on how you feel - if you feel strong, go heavier and aim for 8 reps; if you feel fatigued, go lighter and aim for 12 reps.

Workout 2

For optimal results, it is essential to perform each exercise individually and consider the recommended rest periods.

Exercise 1: Deadlift - Complete five sets with two repetitions each, using a weight equivalent to 80% of your maximum capacity. Take a rest period of three to four minutes in between groups.

Exercise 2: Deficit Deadlift - Stand on a plate(s) or platform while performing this exercise. Do three sets with five repetitions each, using a weight of 70-75% of your maximum capacity. Take a rest period of two to three minutes in between sets.

Note: The third and fourth exercises are not mentioned in this rewrite as they are irrelevant to the given task.

Workout 3

complete each exercise separately and ensure you rest for the appropriate amount of time.

Exercise 1: Perform 3 sets of back squats with 3 repetitions each, focusing on a slow 6-second eccentric (lowering) phase. Use a weight of approximately 70-75% of your maximum capacity. Rest for 2-3 minutes between sets.

Exercise 2: Complete 3 sets of Romanian deadlifts with 3 repetitions each, emphasizing a controlled and deliberate 6-second eccentric (lowering) phase. Choose a weight around 70-75% of your maximum capacity. Rest for 2-3 minutes between sets.

Exercise 3: Engage in dumbbell split squats with the rear foot elevated, performing 3 sets of 5 repetitions per leg. Concentrate on a challenging weight and take rest periods lasting between

Workout 4

complete each exercise separately, ensuring you rest for the appropriate time. Begin with 3 sets of 3 reps of back squats, holding the bottom position for 3 seconds. Use a weight that is 70-75% of your maximum capacity. Rest for 2-3 minutes between sets.

Next, perform 3 sets of 3 reps of Romanian deadlifts with a 3-second isometric hold at the bottom. Again, use a weight of 70-75% of your maximum capacity and rest for 2-3 minutes between sets.

Finally, do dumbbell (rear foot) elevated split squats with a challenging weight for 3 sets of 5 reps on each leg. Hold the bottom position for 3 seconds and take a rest period of approximately.

5-2 minutes between sets.

Workout 5

perform each exercise in sequence until you have completed the entire list. This will be considered one set. Repeat this circuit for three rounds without breaks between exercises until the course is finished. Please note that for all landmine exercises, hold one end of a barbell (begin with just the bar and add weights as desired) secured in a corner using towels or sandbags. Grip the barbell with your palms facing each other and your fingers overlapping, positioning it in front of your body.

Exercise 1: Landmine goblet squat - Complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions.

Exercise 2: Landmine reverse lunge - Complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each leg.

Exercise 3: Landmine single-leg Romanian deadlift - Complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each side. (To perform this exercise, hold the barbell with only one hand. If you are holding it with your left hand, use your right leg as an anchor while swinging your left leg out during the single-leg RDL).

Exercise 4: Landmine lateral lunge - Complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each leg.

Exercise 5: Isometric squat with overhead press - Complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each side. (To perform this exercise, hold the bottom position of a squat while pressing a barbell or dumbbell overhead).

Exercise 6: Landmine rotations - Complete 3 sets of 8 repetitions on each side. (To do this exercise, place one hand at the top of the bar and the other below it. Lift the bar to shoulder height and extend your arms straight. Rotate your torso as you lower the weight to one hip. Use torque from your hips to swing the bar up and over to the opposite hip while keeping your back straight).

Exercise 7: Bentover single-arm row - Complete three sets of eight repetitions using dumbbells.

Rest for 3 minutes.

Workout 6

To complete one set, perform each exercise in the list sequentially without resting. Repeat this circuit for a total of 3 rounds. Start with TRX Split squat jumps, doing 5 reps on each leg. Adjust the TRX to a low position, around knee level. Place your non-working foot into one handle, so it cradles the top of your foot. Execute a split squat and explode up when you reach the bottom phase.

Continue with TRX split squats for another set, completing 10 reps on each leg. Follow the setup instructions for Split Squat Jump and perform slow, even squats on one side before switching to the other.

Move on to TRX skater jumps for another set of exercises, doing 5 reps on each leg. Cross one foot behind your body and into a TRX handle set to a low position between your shin and knee. Lower into a skater lunge by bending both knees until your back knee is directly behind your front heel. Jump laterally to the side while keeping your weight on your front leg. Return to the starting position and complete all reps on one leg before switching.

Lastly, perform TRX skater lunges for 10 reps on each leg as part of another set of exercises. Follow the setup and how-to instructions for Skater Jump, but refrain from jumping this time. Instead, execute slow and controlled lunges on one side before switching to the other without jumping.

Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg for the TRX lateral lunge. To do this exercise, set the TRX to a low position, between knee and shin level. Stand beside it and place one foot on the handle, allowing it to cradle your heel. Step out and lower into a lateral lunge. Complete all repetitions on one leg before switching to the other.

For the TRX pistol squat, complete 3 sets of 10 reps on each leg. Position the TRX at chest level and hold onto the handles for support while performing pistol squats.

Complete 3 sets of 10-15 reps for the TRX hamstring curl. Set up the TRX at a low position around the shin level. Lie down on your back and place your heels in the handles so your feet rest against the straps. Lift your glutes off the floor and raise your knees, engaging your hamstrings. Keep your glutes elevated throughout the exercise.

Perform 3 sets of 10-15 reps for the TRX hip bridge following the exact setup instructions for hamstring curls. Lie flat on your back and engage your abs and glutes as you bridge up.

Rest for 3 minutes between exercises.

Workout 7

complete each exercise sequentially until you have completed the entire list. This will be considered one set. Repeat this circuit for 3 rounds without breaks between exercises until the course is finished.

Perform 30 reps of jump rope, followed by a 30-second rest period.

Execute 30 prisoner squats, resting for 30 seconds afterwards. (Instructions: Place your hands on the back of your head, retract your shoulders, and push your hips back as you squat.)

Engage in split squat pause jumps for 30 repetitions, then rest for 30 seconds after each set. (Note: Pause briefly upon landing to allow for a 3-second rest between repetitions.)

Perform 5 prisoner squats for 30 reps, resting for 30 seconds after completion. (Instructions: Follow the directions above for prisoner squats; at the bottom of the squat, rise halfway up before descending again and finally returning to the starting position.)

Execute prisoner reverse lunges for 30 reps on each leg, followed by a rest period of 30 seconds after each set. (Instructions: Rest your hands on the back of your head as you perform reverse lunges.)

Complete forward lunges with 30 reps on each leg and take a rest break of 30 seconds after finishing each set.


Follow these instructions precisely to complete an effective leg workout routine: Begin by performing jump rope exercises for 30 seconds, followed by resting for another half-minute.

Proceed to execute prisoner squats with proper form and technique; aim to complete this exercise for approximately half a minute before taking another short break.

Engage in split squat pause jumps where you should take three-second breaks upon landing between each repetition; perform this exercise continuously for 30 seconds, then rest for the same time.

Next, challenge yourself with 5 prisoner squats by following the instructions above; ensure you maintain the correct posture and rhythm throughout the exercise. Rest for 30 seconds after completing this set. Continue your leg workout routine by performing prisoner reverse lunges for 30 reps on each leg, taking a well-deserved rest period of 30 seconds after each set.

Conclude this circuit by executing forward lunges on each leg, aiming to complete 30 repetitions before resting for an additional half-minute.

Note: It is essential to maintain proper form and technique during each exercise to maximize the benefits of this workout routine.

To perform the Valslide hamstring curl, lie on a hard surface floor with sliders beneath each heel. Bend your knees and keep your feet flat as you raise your hips to align them with your knees and shoulders. For stability, extend your arms out to the sides. Slide your heels forward until your legs are fully extended, avoiding any contact with the ground. Drive through your feet to smoothly reverse the movement and return to the starting position.

Engage in single-leg line hops by leaping forward and backward for 15 repetitions, followed by a 15-second rest period.

Incorporate single-leg line hops into your routine by jumping from side to side for 15 repetitions, then take a 15-second break.

Allow yourself a well-deserved rest of 3 minutes before proceeding further with the workout.

Workout 8

Directions: Perform each exercise one by one until you finish the list. You'll complete descending reps every round, starting with 20 reps for exercise 1, 20 reps for exercise 2, 10 reps for exercise 3, and 80 reps for exercise 4. The next round will go 19, 19, 9, and 76, respectively. Every game, you decrease the kettlebell exercises by 1 rep and the jump rope by 4 reps. Continue until you've reached 10 sets or reps of 11, 11, 1, and 44.

Ideally, you want to finish the workout without rest but take breaks when needed (as little as possible).

1. Kettlebell swings 20, 19, 18, …11

2. Kettlebell front squat 20, 19, 18, …11

3. Kettlebell squat jumps 10, 9, 8, …1

4. Jump rope 80, 76, 72, 68, …44

Workout 9

To begin your workout, follow these instructions for the first two exercises:

1) Perform barbell squat jumps in three sets: Start with level I and do continuous reps for three repetitions, then move on to level II and continue with continuous reps again, and finally reach level III, where you will do three individual reps. Take a rest period of about 2-3 minutes after each set.

2) After completing the squat jumps, move on to deadlifts: Do five sets of five repetitions each at a weight load of about seventy pounds. Rest for another interval of approximately 2-3 minutes.

Now proceed to the next part, called superset, which includes exercises:

1) Glute ham raise - Do two sets of six to ten repetitions.

2) Banded wall sits - Perform this exercise by placing a resistance band around your thighs just above your knees and holding the position for thirty seconds. Repeat this for two sets. Take a rest period of about 1- 5 minutes between each superset.

Workout 10

Directions: Perform the first three exercises one by one. Exercises 4a and 4b will be done as a superset.

1. Kettlebell swings 3x10 reps (heavy). Rest for 2 minutes

2. Dumbbell rear foot elevated split squat 3x5 reps (each leg) at a challenging weight. Rest for 2 minutes

3. 2-Dumbell single leg RDL 3x8 reps (each leg) at a challenging weight. Rest for 2 minutes. (Hold a dumbbell in either hand.)

4a. Goblet squats 2x12 reps

4b. Valslide hamstring curl 2x12 reps with 1-1.5 minutes rest between supersets




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