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Twenty five Leg Routines That Are Here To Make #LegDay Way More Interesting

Twenty five Leg Routines That Are Here To Make #LegDay Way More Interesting

In case you missed it, you missed it: Strong legs are super-important—beyond just looking awesome in a booty pic. They’re literally what keep you moving all day, so building strength in your lower half (yes, butt included) is crucial.

Unfortunately, too many people neglect leg day a) because they think they’re already working their legs all day and b) because the leg muscles are so large to begin with, it takes longer to see results. Don’t do that! “You should be training your legs at least once a week,” #NeverSkipLegDay.

Start working three or four of these moves into your workout routine, and switching things up every couple of weeks. You may not see the difference right away, but you’ll definitely feel it..  

1. Goblet Squat

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest, elbows pointing toward the floor. Push your hips back and bend your knees to lower into a squat. Push yourself back to start. That's one rep.
 
Recommended sets/reps: Do 3 sets of 12 reps.
 
What it works: This squat variation helps tone the legs and thighs while strengthening the quads, hip flexors, calves, gluteal muscles, and the hamstrings—plus the lats.

2. Banded Lateral Walk

How to do it: Place a mini resistance band underneath your feet, and stand with feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Maintaining a tight core, step your left foot out to the side, followed by your right. Then step back to the left; that’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 10 steps in each direction.

What it works: This is a great move to activate the glutes and build up the sides of the booty.

3. Single-Leg Deadlift

How to do it: Holding a kettlebell in your right hand, stand on your left leg with palms towards your thighs. Keep your left leg slightly bent. Lean forward, extending right leg straight behind you, until torso is parallel to the floor, and kettlebell lowers straight down until almost touching the floor. Drive into your left heel to return to the standing position. (For an extra challenge, at the end of this move, lift your right leg until it forms a 90 degree angle, then return to start) That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

What it works: While working the hamstrings and the glutes, you’ll also challenge your core stability and strength.

4. Romanian Deadlift

How to do it: Holding a kettlebell or (two dumbbells) in your hands, stand with your feet hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Position the kettlebell in front of your thighs, palms facing your body. Keeping your knees slightly bent, press your hips back as you bend at the waist and lower the weights toward the floor. Squeeze your glutes to return to standing. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it works: A great strength and muscle-building move, the Romanian deadlift works your hip joints and hits the low back, glutes, and hamstrings. 

5. Staggered-Stance Deadlift

How to do it: Hold a kettlebell in front of your thighs with both palms facing toward your body. Stagger your legs, stepping your right foot back and your left foot forward. Your right heel should be off the ground. Push your hips back as you hinge forward, lowering the kettlebell while keeping it close to your legs. Once your hips reach 90 degrees, return to start. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: Do 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

What it works: Another deadlift variation, you’ll target your low back, glutes, and hamstrings while adding weight with the kettlebell.

6. Lateral Lunge

 How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest. Take a big step to the side with your right leg, then push your hips back, bend your right knee, and lower your body until your right knee is bent 90 degrees. This should take about two seconds. Push back to start. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 on each side.

What it works: A variation on the regular lunge, this is an excellent exercise for developing the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes.

7. Thruster

How to do it: Hold a pair of dumbbells next to your shoulders, your palms facing each other. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your torso as upright as possible throughout the entire movement. Lower your body until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push your body back to a standing position as you press the dumbbells directly over your shoulders. Lower the dumbbells back to the starting position. That's one rep.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it works: Your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes—essentially all your major leg muscles—have to work very hard in the squatting part of thrusters. That force developed by your legs is then transmitted into your upper body via your abdominal and lower-back muscles. 

8. Box Jump

How to do it: Stand six to eight inches back from a six-inch step (beginners can start with a lower step; work up to 14 inches). Get into an athletic stance with your knees slightly bent and your weight on the balls of your feet. Quickly jump onto the center of the step, then immediately jump back down to start, landing softly on the balls of your feet. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 10 reps.

What it works: Plyometric moves like this build the type-two muscle fibers in your glutes.

9. Bulgarian Split Squat

How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in each hand, stand about two feet in front of a step; extend your right leg back and place your foot on the step. Bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can (or until your knee hovers right above the ground), keeping your shoulders back and chest up. Pause, then press through your left heel to return to start. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it works: Split squats target the quads, glutes, and hamstrings. And performing the exercise with dumbbells ensures muscular balance on both sides of the body.

10. Sumo Squat

How to do it: Stand with your heels shoulder-distance apart, then turn your toes open slightly. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your hips. Bend your knees, reach your hips back, and lower down into a squat. Allow your arms to hang so that the kettlebell remains under your shoulders. Lower until your hips are slightly below the level of your knees. Pause at the bottom for two seconds then drive into your heels to stand up. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps

What it works: The sumo squat places more emphasis on the inner thigh adductors, which move your legs in toward your body, and the glutes.

11. Ice Skater

How to do it: Begin in a standing position, with your hips shoulder-width apart. Cross your left leg behind your right leg as you bend your right knee 90 degrees. Extend your right arm out to your side and swing your left arm across your right leg. Jump a few feet to the other side, switching the position of your legs and arms. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

What it works: Not only does this move challenge your balance, engaging your core, says Samuel, it works your lower back, hips, butt, and outer thighs.

12. Calf Raise

How to do it: Stand on one foot, with your other leg bent to a 90-degree angle. Stand with a long, tall spine and abs drawn inward. Rise up onto the balls of your feet with knees straight but not locked. Pause at the top, and squeeze your calf muscles. Lower down just until your feet are in line with the bench—do not drop them below the level of the bench. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

What it works: It’s all in the name—this move specifically strengthens and tones your calf muscles.

13. Reverse Lunge

How to do it: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest. Step back with your right leg and bend both knees as you lower until your left knee is bent 90 degrees. Push through your left foot to stand, then repeat on the other side. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps on each side

What it works: Reverse lunges are safer for the knees because they reduce the pressure compared to regular lunges, when we tend to push our knees too far forward, while still emphasizing the muscles of the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. 

14. Good Morning

How to do it: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, with a resistance band under your feet and wrapped around the back of your neck. Keeping your knees slightly bent and your torso straight, slowly bend from your hips until your upper body is parallel to the floor. Hold for 5 seconds and return to start. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it works: The exercise primarily strengthens the muscles on the backside of your body, or what's referred to as your posterior chain. Your glutes (your butt) and hamstrings (the backs of your thighs) drive the movement.

15. Banded Hip Drive

How to: Wrap one end of resistance band around an anchor, and the other around your hips. Place your knees about shoulder-width apart with your feet together. Your feet and knees should form a triangle. Begin by sitting on your feet and then lift your body up and out, extending your hips. Squeeze your glutes together at the end range of movement, while avoiding hyperextending the low back.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps.

What it works: A kneeling hip thrust focuses on hip extension and glute activation without putting pressure on your lower back.

16. Curtsy Lunge

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands on your hips, or holding a kettlebell in front of your chest. Take a big step back with your right leg, crossing it behind your left. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the floor. Keep your torso upright and your hips and shoulders as square as possible. Return to start. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 on each side.

What it works: Another lunge variation, this one targets your inner thighs as well as your glute medius, a smaller butt muscle that helps stabilize the hips to improve your posture. 

17. Step Up

How to: Place your left foot on the bench and your right foot on the floor. Pushing through with your left foot, lift your body up until you're standing on top of the bench. Drive your right knee up until it forms a 90-degree angle. Pause, then return to start. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

What it works: Step ups primarily work your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of your thighs, and involve both your knee and hip joints. But your glutes, calves, and hamstrings also assist in the movement, making it a total lower-body exercise.

18. Pistol Squat

How to do it: Sit on a box or chair. Lift your right leg and fold your hands in front of your chest, or hold your arms out to the sides for balance. Driving through your left heel, stand up from the chair. Pause, then return to start. Repeat on the other side. That's one rep.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

What it works: One-legged squats work the same primary muscle groups used for running, including the hips, hamstrings, quadriceps, gluteus maximus, and calves.

19. Squat Jump

How to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes forward, with your hands in front of your chest. Bend your knees, then explosively jump as high as you can. Land softly on the balls of your feet and immediately lower into your next squat.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it works: Another plyo exercise, squat jumps help engage two types of muscle fibers. 

20. Split Squat

How to do it: Stand with your feet in a staggered stance, left foot in front of your right, two or three feet apart. Lower your body into a split squat. Quickly jump up and scissor-kick your legs so that you land with your right leg forward. As soon as your feet land, lower your body into a split squat. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.

What it works: Since this is a plyo exercise, you’ll engage those type-two muscle fibers in the glutes, resulting in more power. 

21. Cable Kickback

How to: Get on your hands and knees. Wrap one end of a resistance band around your right foot and hold the other down in front of you. While keeping your abs tight, contract your glutes to slowly kick the right leg back until it's straight. At full extension, squeeze your glutes for a second. Slowly bring it back down. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

What it works: This move effectively targets your butt by isolating the gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus, and your hamstring muscles. 

22. Lying Lateral Leg Raise

How to: Lie on your left side, rest your head on your left arm, and place your right hand on the floor in front of your chest. Your bottom leg should be bent, and top leg straight. Without moving any other part of your body, slowly raise your top leg as high as you can. Pause, then return to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps on each side.

What it works: This helps build the side of the glutes. Lateral movements are key to keeping the booty round.

23. Rainbow Kick

How to: Start on all fours, hips directly over knees and shoulders directly over wrists. Keeping your spine neutral and core engaged, straighten one leg out to the side or at a 45-degree angle, so the tips of your toes are touching the ground. Lift your straight leg up and around in a rainbow arc behind you. Touch your toes to the ground on the other side of your bent leg, then bring them back to the starting position. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.

What it works: This will primarily targets the glutes, but you’ll also feel it in the abs, hamstrings, and lower back.

24. Glute Bridge

How to: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet on the floor 12 to 16 inches from your butt. Brace your core, then press into your heels and squeeze your glutes to raise your hips toward the ceiling. Hold the position for two seconds before lowering to start. That's one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps.

What it works: Glute bridges are another great move for booty activation as well as strengthening.

25. Single-Leg Glute Bridge

How to: Lie on your back with your arms out to the side, knees bent, and feet flat on the floor, hip-width apart. Keeping your thighs aligned, straighten one leg so that your toes point up. Squeeze your glutes to lift your hips evenly off the floor, then lower. That’s one rep.

Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps

What it works: This variation will work your back and hamstrings a lot more than the standard glute bridge.


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