Everybody wants to be strong. It is a powerful word after all, and nothing could be greater than investing in your own strength. In the gym, there are certain exercises that work better than others when looking to build strength and these exercises have been tried and tested for many, many years.
To ensure you get the most out of the time and energy you spend in the gym, here are the top 5 best exercises to build strong and toned legs
Nothing screams strength like picking heavy weights off the ground. The Deadlift is a full-body exercise that has a huge capacity to help build strength in every sense of the word.
There are multiple ways to approach the Deadlift as far as style and equipment. There are two styles, the Conventional Deadlift and the Romanian Deadlift, both target similar muscle groups yet both have unique movement patterns. Check out this complete guide on everything you need to know about both deadlift variations. Deadlifts will help build up the strength in your glutes and hamstrings the most.
The Squat is arguably one of the most functional exercises to perform. Think about it, how many times throughout your day do you squat up and down? From sitting at the dinner table to picking up a baby from the floor, you are squatting more times in the day than you can count.
By training the Squat you will use all the muscles of the lower body to different degrees. This exercise also has a large list of variations from easy to difficult. Make sure to start at a level that you can perform the Squat with good form before loading up. Good form is a key foundation to building strength.
3. Bulgarian Split Squats
Single leg or unilateral exercises are often overlooked by many people because for most people they are more challenging than bilateral exercises. With that in mind, it is important to always include unilateral exercise into your strength program. For instance, the Bulgarian Split Squat is a single leg exercise that has the capability to take the leg not being used completely out of the equation.
This required the leg under load to work much harder to control the body through the proper range of motion while staying balanced and stable throughout. The best part is all the gains made from single leg work carries directly to improving your strength in all bilateral movements. Be prepared to feel the burn.
4. Single Leg Romanian Deadlift
If you thought I was joking about the importance of single leg exercises, here is another. The Single Leg Romanian Deadlift is a variation of our Deadlift mentioned above. Take your time with this one as the hamstrings – which will be the primary muscles used – are best trained in an eccentric fashion when trying to build strength.
This means controlling your body as your muscle is lengthening before contracting and returning to the starting position. A 3-6 second count down works best, you’re going to love this one!
5. Cossack Squat
The Cossack Squat is a variation of a lateral lunge just with some added benefits to improving mobility and dynamic stability. This exercise will focus and building your strength to move side to side which includes using muscles you didn’t know you had.
If you’re new to this one it is best to start with body weight but as soon as you are strong enough to add a load you can hold a weight just in front of the chest.
When looking to build lower body strength it is best to have a wide variety of exercises all with unique benefits and movement patterns. Challenge your mind, challenge your body and challenge your spirit and you will be on your way to building a fitter and stronger you.
Best of luck