What Are Great Leg Exercises
People are often confused on how they should set up a great leg workout. To truly write a great leg workout, you need to do so from a standpoint of what you need to address the most. Are your quads strong and your hamstrings weak or vice versa. Once you ascertain what your needs are, you need to then decide what exercises will give you the best results. Once you have the exercises picked out, you need to decide what amount of volume (sets and reps) will suit your purpose. Once you decide all this, you are ready to go. In the truest sense, the great leg exercises are the ones that give you the most bang for the buck. So depending on what your strengths are, we need to decide whether we need size, shape, or conditioning. Then we need to decide whether we need quad work or ham work.
The trunk of the quad dominant tree is the squat. The back squat is the number one exercise that you will be able to load the most and theoretically gain the most muscle. From there the various exercise variations are all squat based exercises. Front squats, hack squats, and Bulgarian Split Squats are all great exercises to do as stand alone exercises or in conjunction with the other exercises. I either squat and follow it with hack squats, split squats, or lunge variations or I leg press and follow it with the same secondary exercises. I usually finish with higher repetitions on leg extensions. Down below is a list of the exercises in order from primary, secondary, and tertiary levels.
Primary Secondary Tertiary
Squats Hack squats Leg extensions
Front Squats Split Squats Step Ups
The hamstrings are usually an afterthought in many peoples programs. Most people do a bunch of squats, presses, extensions and then do 4 sets of lying leg curls and call it a day. Then they have horrible hamstrings with a great set of quads. I would venture a guess that 80% plus of people need hamstrings more then quads. So those people would need to prioritize hamstring work not only via volume but also sequentially. The hamstrings have two functions; knee flexion and hip extension. So in my experience, I pick 2 knee flexion exercises and 2 hip extension exercises. So to understand the hamstring movements, the trunk of the hip extension tree is deadlifts. Many think these are a back exercise, but in reality it hits the whole rear chain hard.
Hip Extension Knee Flexion
Deadlifts Lying Leg Curl
Stiff Leg Deadlift Seated Leg Curl
Romanian Deadlift Standing Leg Curl
Sample David Reid Leg Workout
Quad Specific Workout Hamstring Specific Workout
Squats 4-6 sets of 8-15 reps Goodmornings 4 sets 6-12 reps
Hack Squats 4 sets 8-15 reps Glute/Ham Raise 4 sets 6-12 reps
Walking Lunges 4 sets 8-15 reps/leg Seated Leg Curl 4 sets 6-12 reps
Leg Extensions 4 sets 8-15 reps Standing Leg Curl 4 sets 6-12 reps
Seated Leg Curl 4 sets 6-12 reps Leg Press 4-6 sets 12-20 reps
Lying Leg Curl 4 sets 6-12 reps Bulgarian Split Squats 4 sets 112-20 reps/leg
RDL 4 sets 6-12 reps One Leg Extension 4 sets 12-20 reps
Glute Ham Raise 4 sets 6-12 reps High Rep Smith Machine Squats 4 sets 12-20 reps