The Best Leg Exercises: What Are They & Are They Right For You?


the best leg exercises

Searching For The Best Leg Exercises?

What’s the best leg exercise I was asked the other day by a middle aged gentleman who was looking to pack a little more size onto his lower body. I could only reply, since we had just met, that the best leg exercises are the ones that are going to recruit as many muscle fibers as possible, yet remain safe for you to do. Without any working knowledge of that person’s body, and with no medical history, that’s the honest answer. He wasn’t exactly satisfied with my response and informed me that he had learned of the great benefits of squats from a popular muscle magazine, and was going to pursue that because surely, if it’s in a magazine, it couldn’t be wrong.

It may not be wrong generally speaking, but conversely, it may be very wrong for this guy to do squats. In my brief interaction with him I was able to see he had tight hips, hamstrings, and weak glutes. He also was tighter on the left side and subsequently rotated to the right in his lower body. While squats are a fantastic leg exercise, when done properly, they are not something that just everyone should attempt. Squats can be hard on the joints, as well as the low back, therefore, it stands to reason that those, with tight hips, who will suffer from a shortened and weakened erector spinae, should build up their core muscles before attempting squats.

It has become popular with the younger folks who love their gym selfies, and social media posts proclaiming themselves to be working out like beasts (and not playing with their phones) to talk about the need for squats if you want to have any leg development. They say if you want to have a noticeable and well developed butt, you absolutely need to do squats. This is far from true, and unfortunately, has proven to be injurious to many people who didn’t know better, or first consult someone with any knowledge on the subject. There are plenty of ways to build bigger, stronger legs, as well as glutes. Squats are great for some people, but they’re not the only solution.

The best leg exercises are the ones that will benefit you the most, while posing as small of a risk of injury as possible. If you have a weaker core, and tight hips, you might consider leg presses as opposed to squats. At least until you can rectify your imbalances. Meanwhile, there are plenty of leg exercises, such as the aforementioned presses, to choose from if squats aren’t currently on the menu.

The best leg exercises can often be the most inconspicuous. For example, adductor and abductor movements are amazingly beneficial for stability, as well as inner and outer leg muscle development, respectively. Hamstring curls and quadricep extensions as well. Quadricep extensions are very good for stabilizing the knee as they work particularly well for where the quad muscles insert into the patella. Hamstring curls are great because when done properly, will help strengthen not just the belly of the 3 hamstring muscles, but their insertion points as well.

As a longtime personal trainer in Austin, as well as a gym owner for nearly a decade, I will advise people looking for the best leg exercises, to build up to the big ones, such as the squats, the front squats, etc. If you aren’t strong in your core muscles, weak in your stabilizing muscles, and are tight in your bigger leg muscles, you want to slowly work your way up with some auxiliary exercises and corrective flexibility before tackling the more advanced compound movements that inherently bring with them a much greater risk of injury.

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Andy
My name is Andy Bruchey and I founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition and sports specific training.
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The Best Leg Exercises: What Are They & Are They Right For You?
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The Best Leg Exercises: What Are They & Are They Right For You?
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Longtime Austin personal trainer Andy Bruchey writes of what he considers to be the best leg exercises, and who should be doing them.
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Andy Bruchey- Complete Fitness Design
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About Andy

My name is Andy Bruchey and I am a longtime Austin personal trainer having founded Complete Fitness Design over 20 years ago. I specialize in weight loss/gain, including the addition of quality, lean muscle mass, corrective flexibility, post injury rehabilitation, nutrition, and sports specific training for professionals. Contact me today to see how I can help you!
3100 W Slaughter Ln Austin , Texas 78748 512-484-2270