Here’s Why You Shouldn’t Skip Leg Day
You may think that you put in enough miles on your legs and find yourself focusing more on other areas when it comes to the gym. But putting in the time to target your leg muscles is not only essential to your workout routine, but your overall fitness as well.
All of the major muscle groups in our bodies are connected. So not strengthening and stretching your leg muscles can affect the performance of your other muscles as well. You need a strong base to support the rest of your fitness routine––so don’t skip a leg day. Try these workouts to target the major muscles in your base and also get some killer leg muscle definition.
Transformation Protein's own fitness expert, Kam F. gave us the inside track for the 10 exercises you need to get killer leg definition.
10 Best Leg Workouts for Killer Definition
Incorporating regular leg workouts can help build balance and stability. They can also eventually help you to better target other groups of muscles–– like core workouts. These 10 workouts engage your whole lower body, plus are a great start on how to get more defined leg muscles.
Here are the groups of muscles you’ll be targeting:
1: Good Mornings: This move focuses primarily on your upper thighs because it’s a hip hinge movement. Targets glutes and hamstrings.
To do: Start with your hips shoulder width apart. Using dumbells or simply your own body weight, use your glutes and your hamstrings to hinge your upper body up over at the hips and then up again. Keep a flat back to isolate legs.
2: Split Squat. This exercise is similar to a regular squat, but it isolates each leg, making it great for balance and posture. It can also reduce back strain more than a traditional squat, which puts focus on your lower back muscles. Targets the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves.
To do: Pick a leg to start with and place your back knee on a mat or cushion. Bring your front knee to a 90* angle and proceed with a squat. Do at least 5 on one leg before switching sides. Use dumbbells as an option to make it harder.
3: Pistol Squat. A pistol squat works only one leg at a time, challenging any strength deficits between your legs. The balance and control with this butt-buster makes it an excellent all-around workout. Targets the glutes, quads, hamstrings, hip abductors, calves, and core.
To Do: Start with your feet hips’ width apart and pick a leg to have as your “pistol” and extend it straight as far out as possible. Then bend with your standing leg to bring it all the way down so that your butt hovers just above the mat. Then come back up. Repeat with the same number of reps on each side.
4. Calf Raise. Working your calves with this move can help define, strengthen, and lengthen your calf muscles for better mobility. It works the calves and other smaller bands of muscle that go all down the back of your leg.
To Do: Pick up your favorite dumbbells to make this exercise more challenging. With your feet hips width apart stand upright and simply move onto your tippy toes and then bring the heels back down. You will feel this light up your calves.
5: Sumo Deadlift: Similar to a standard deadlift, the sumo deadlift works the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. It can give you killer thigh definition.
To Do: Pick up your favorite dumbbells or a weight bar to make this exercise more challenging. Start with a very wide “sumo” stance, and keeping your back flat, bring the bar up and down using your legs NOT your back to control the weight.
6: Kettlebell Single Leg Squat: This is a great workout that uses counterbalance to challenge your core and help build stability. Targets your glutes and hamstrings.
To Do: Starting with your feet shoulder width apart and your kettlebell in both hands, hinge forward at the hips with one leg back until your upper body makes a “T”. Keep your back leg straight and use a slight bend in your front knee. Alternate sides.
7: Walking Lunges: This move loosens and lengthens the hip and hamstring muscles and can also help you increase your range of motion by building flexibility. Targets quads and hamstrings.
To do: Pick a leg to start with and begin walking in a lunge position. Fold knee to a 90* angle and then bring forward your other leg to do the same. Make sure you have a clear path for your “walk” as this is a traveling exercise.
8: Side Lunge with Balance: More complicated than a standard lunge, the side lunges stretches your inner thighs and has a balance component that ups the degree of difficulty. This targets the hip abductors, outer glutes, and quads.
To do: Begin with a wide stance and your arms clasped at your center body. Then step out from side to side, coming down to a right angle with your standing leg, while the other one stays straight.
9: Banded Lateral Walk: Like a squat, this exercise uses an added resistance band to engage more muscles in your upper thighs. Targets hip abductors, glutes and quads.
To do: Put a resistance band across both legs at your middle thigh. Then start with a wide stance and your arms clasped at your center body. Proceed to do squats and pulse up and down, using tiny movements to isolate different areas of your quads.
10: Glute Bridge: This move specifically targets the glutes (when done correctly) and core. Stronger glutes can help improve posture, reduce knee pain, and align your lower back.
To Do: Lie on your mat and bring your legs up with your knees folded comfortably while your back and feet stay on the floor. Then lift up your center body to make a bridge, using only your glutes and core muscles to complete each rep.
Hit Your Muscle Definition Goals with Leg Workouts & Balanced Nutrition
A well-balanced diet with ample amounts of protein will help kick start the muscle-building process and get you the leg muscle definition you are after. Including a high quality protein powder into your post-workout routine will help you achieve your goals faster. Consider how a premium multi-protein superblend made from plant, collagen, and egg whites can positively affect your leg day workouts.
Our bioactive formula creates a biological response in your entire body to speed your workout recovery. Build muscle with 30grams per serving of optimized egg white and plant proteins, and collagen peptides. Bottom line is when you give your body all the ingredients it needs in one protein shake, you will reach your goals faster. Try Transformation Protein to help make the most of your leg workouts!