The perfect leg workout must consist of compound exercises for the quads, glutes, and hamstrings while not overlooking the smaller muscles of the hips and our ability to train in all three planes. In this leg workout, you will find that we overlook no component of upper leg training and get you training like an athlete in the process.
As with all videos in this perfect workout series, the goal here is to make sure you will build not only size by following these leg exercises but strength and explosiveness as well. This starts as always with a compound movement for the legs, and there is none better than the squat. While warming up to perform the squat the key is not to exhaust yourself more than necessary. Too many times, people perform too many warmups, cutting into energy reserves for their working sets.
What you should do instead, is do a few reps with your sub-working weight to loosen up your joints. Just before starting your first work set, perform one touch-up set with about 10 percent more than what you will be using for your workout. Perform just 1 to 2 reps here to prepare the nervous system and neurologically “lighten” the load that is to come.
Work your way from sets of 5 to a set of 25 grueling reps on the squats before moving on to the next component of this leg workout; the posterior chain compound exercise.
Here you have two choices. You can either do the barbell hip thrust or the glute-ham raise. Keep in mind, because you will be able to significantly load the barbell hip thrust more than you will the glute ham raise, you will want to opt for this exercise if your main goal is training for strength. That said, if you are looking to get the more active engagement of the hamstrings through their concentric range of motion, then you will want to do the GHR since it contributes in areas that the hip thrust only isometrically challenges.
The next exercise is the hi/low dumbbell Bulgarian split squat. This is a necessary component of any athletic lower body training approach because it is a unilateral exercise. Not only do the dynamic stability benefits shine through here but it challenges the body in the frontal plane in ways that traditional bilateral training via squats cannot do. Alternate the position of your torso on each rep to ensure you hit both the quads and the glutes more effectively on each rep.
The TKE Drop Lunge is a great way to ensure resistance through terminal knee extension. Now, it is important that you understand that there is no way to isolate the medial or inner portion of the quads during an exercise. What you can do however is ensure that this separately innervated head of the quads gets full stimulation by going to a full lockout position of extension on every rep. We can overload that with the addition of the band as well.
Next, no perfect leg workout would be complete without the additional focus on the inside and outside of our legs. The adductors are hit tremendously well with the Goblet Adductor Lunge shown in this video. Don’t just step back up to the top, but slide or squeeze your legs together to get yourself back to a standing position. This will light up the all-important adductor muscles on the inside of your thighs and help you to build the strength needed.
Finally, you have to hit the outside abductors of your legs as well. This can be accomplished with the finisher shown. The hip band ladder requires that you work your way up to 10 reps in each direction of a side step while making sure to keep your toes pointed straight ahead at all times. This will strengthen the outside of your legs, which is an area that tends to be very weak.