Sometimes we focus too much on pumping up our arms and abs and forget that our legs also need attention. There isn't much sense in having a toned stomach and muscular arms and flabby legs, right? So when you're planning your exercise goals you must not forget about working the legs. And while you may be tempted to just hit up one leg machine at the gym, experts say this will do nothing. It's important to do several different types of leg exercises to get the body you want. And it's very important, experts say, to make sure your leg workout is centred around multi-joint moves such as lunges, squats or step-ups. These exercises will hit your quads and hamstrings as well as your glutes, a body part that men in particular seem to ignore. According to Muscle & Fitness, the glutes are one of the biggest muscle groups in the body and to not train them is considered irresponsible. Below are a few of the best leg exercises to consider the next time you and your legs have a date at the gym. Make sure you talk to a personal trainer to make sure these are safe exercises for your body and to make sure you do them at the right time and in a healthy way.
Dumbbell Overhead Bulgarian Split Squat
This exercise can be done by taking a light dumbbell in one hand, standing tall and placing the top of your toes of the same-side foot on a bench behind you with your knee bent. Press the weight over your head so your arm is directly over your shoulder. With your arm extended, bend your front knee and hips and go down straight toward the floor. When your front quad comes parallel to the floor press back up throughout your front heel and begin again. It's recommended that you do eight to 12 reps per side in sets of four to five.
Kettlebell Swing with Flip to Squat
Grab the handle of a kettlebell with both hands and stand up with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees to dip down while lowering the weight between your legs. Keep your arms out and swing the kettlebell up by extending your knees and hips and lifting your arms. When the weight passes your shoulder level, quickly bend your elbows and knees to drop underneath it and catch it in front of you in a full squat. Then stand up while pressing the kettlebell over your head and drop it back down to start again. Do eight to 15 reps in sets of two to four.
One-Leg Extension with Angled Crunch
This exercise calls for you to sit in a leg extension machine. Make sure you adjust the roller so it sits across the front of your ankles. When this is done do a one-leg extension with your right leg while crunching and twisting your torso to bring your left pec over your right knee. Then reverse the motion and repeat on the opposite side. Do 10 to 20 reps of these in sets of four to five. When you're done, finish with double-leg extensions.
Smith Machine Front Squat to Back Squat
Stand tall in a Smith machine with your feet shoulder-width apart and your head up and the bar resting across your front delts. Go down into a squat with your back flat and your chest out, until your quads are parallel to the floor. Stand back up and repeat for eight to 12 reps in sets of four to five. Then position yourself for back squats.
Lying Leg Curl to Hyperextension
Go to a leg curl machine, lie facedown and put the back of your ankles against the pad with your legs extended. Make sure your knees are off the edge of the bench. Bend your knees and pull your heels toward your glutes. Contract your lower back muscles to perform a hyperextension and then lower your torso to the pad and begin again. Recommended reps for this exercise are eight to 15 in sets of four to five.