Top 5: Leg Exercises

Leg Day Never Felt So Good

 At Athlete Movement skipping leg day isn’t an option! Here’s our top five, favourite exercises to target your leg muscles precisely.

The rep ranges and load can be adapted to suit your goals but including all five of these in your program will ensure you build a set of strong wheels to carry you around!

Squats

Squats are the ultimate leg exercise. When performed with the correct technique they are a safe, effective and simple way to build muscle and develop strength in your legs.

If barbell back squats aren’t for you, try goblet squats as a starting point.

Coaching Points:

  • Take a deep breath and use it to brace your trunk
  • Keep a neutral spine
  • Make sure your knees are in line with your toes
  • Knees can go past toes as long as your feet stay flat
  • Knees and Hips should bend at the same pace
  • Don’t breathe out at the bottom of the rep!

RDLs

Romanian Deadlifts are a fantastic way to target your hamstrings and there are lots of different variations to experiment with.

Our favourite is the kettlebell RDL as it can be easily progressed into a split stance RDL and then an arabesque RDL for the advanced athlete.

Coaching Points:

  • Bend slightly at the knees
  • Keep the weight close to your body
  • Pause at the bottom of the rep

Bulgarian Split Squats

Bulgarian Split Squats are a simple exercise but extremely taxing so don’t be afraid to start with just bodyweight or an empty bar.

Make sure you take a broad stance so you can really feel a stretch at the bottom of the rep and slowly progress up in weight. You can load this brutal exercise with a barbell, kettlebells, dumbbells or with a safety squat bar like in the picture.

Coaching Points:

  • Use your warm up sets to find a stance that feels comfortable and allows you to feel the stretch
  • Start light, you can always go heavy later

     GHR

Glute Ham Raises are a fantastic hamstring exercise with the added bonus of targeting your entire posterior chain.

They can be adapted easily to add resistance with bands, plates or bars and challenge even the strongest athletes.

Coaching Points:

  • Control the ascent and descent, making sure you feel the muscle contraction
  • Maintain a neutral, flat spine
  • Pause at the top of the rep and squeeze your glutes

Hip Thrusts

Whilst not the most flattering of exercises, Hip Thrusts are one of the best ways to target your glutes and an exercise most people can load quite heavy!

Use either the bar pad, a foam roller or a yoga mat around the bar and your hands to guide the weight up.

Coaching Points:

  • Use your hands to guide the bar up and aid your balance
  • Squeeze at the top of the rep
  • If you struggle with the height of the bar, use lifting blocks to raise it up

If you want to try adding any of these into your weekly workouts and want a bit more information just ask, advice is always free!

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