Whether you love it or hate it, if you’re serious about fitness, there’s no escaping leg day. This expert leg day routine, completed with reps and best form techniques, works the legs from every angle to build muscle massandstrength,and stands you in good stead to hold your own in the gym. Whether you’re doing it for the gains, the skills, fitness levels, or enhancing your mental health, committing to leg day has many more benefits than you might think.
Benefits Of Regular Leg Workouts
As the biggest muscle group in the body, training legs notonlyhelps you increase muscle mass to build bigger legs, ithelps you burn fattoo.You become functionally strongwhichreducesthe risk of injuryandmuscle and joint pain over time.Plus, your core strength and stability benefitshugely from compound lifts like squats and deadlifts to support other training, and extend your healthy lifespan!
“This workout will give you everything you need to build lower body strength and endurance whilst also torching fat, sayspersonal trainerLuke Downing.“I always start my workouts with the main strength movement. This is the movement we are looking to progressively overload week on week.”
A) Back Squats 4x8 reps
Rest 60-90 sec between sets.
“The back squat is the King of strength movements. It’s a lower-body compound movement meaning it crosses multiple joints and requires a lot of muscle activation. When performed correctly the squat can help improve your maximal strength, speed, power, and endurance.”
Start with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Keep your chest proud and shoulders back – you’re aiming to keep your spine neutral throughout the movement.
Rest the bar across the meaty part of your upper back.
Keep the hands as close to your shoulders as your flexibility will allow you to keep as much tension in the upper body as possible.
Inhale, filling your belly with as much air as possible as you brace the core.
Initiate the movement by bending at the knees and sitting back into the squat.
Your knees should start in line with your toes ensuring that the knees do not collapse inwards as you descend into your squat.
Sit back in the bottom of your squat as if you’re sitting on a chair and dig your heels into the ground. Go low. This should be the deepest point you can get to whilst maintaining a neutral spine (and will vary from person to person.)
You will think about pushing your feet through the floor as you drive out of the bottom of your squat back to standing. That’s 1 rep.
Pause at the top to get another breath to fill your belly and brace the core before repeating.”
Activeman Energy Charge
Superset x3 sets
B1) Leg Press 8-10 reps
B2) Lunge Walk 16-20 reps
Rest 60-90 sec between sets.
“This superset is designed to overload the quads. We’re going to perform a 10-rep set on the Leg Press before moving directly into 20 steps of a bodyweight lunge walk to increase the burn. The focus here is to maintain good form throughout making sure every rep is identical to the last.”
“Leg Press Technique Points:
Sit on the machine and alter your seat to allow full depth of movement.
Position your feet shoulder-width apart with toes turned slightly outwards.
Lower the weight by bending the knees until you hit the bottom of your rep. At this point, your whole back should be in contact with the seat pad.
From here drive through your heels pushing the footplate away from you
Hit full extension through the knee but never lock the knees out.”
“Lunge Walk Technique Points:
Start with your shoulders over your hips, core tight.
Step forward keeping your knee in line with your toe as you drop your back knee towards the floor.
Maintain a neutral spine with the hips tracking directly under the shoulders.
Push your weight through your front heel to drive back up to a standing positioning
Step your opposite foot forward and repeat.”
Superset x3 sets
C1) Barbell RDLs (Romanian Deadlifts) 8-12 reps
C2) Dumbbell Glute Bridge 12-15 reps
“The aim here is to work the hamstrings and glutes, using the hinge in the RDL. We can fire up all the muscles in the backside of the body before localizing that stimulus to the glutes and hamstrings with the glute bridge.
The posterior chain (all the muscles on the backside of your body, and area you’re working in this superset) is the “body’s power station – it’s where all your power and athletic performance is generated,” says Downing.
“RDL Technique Points:
After setting up your barbell on the floor in front of you, with a neutral spine, hinge at the hips (and let knees bend as much as they need to) to grip the bar with an overhand grip just outside shoulder-width apart with feet shoulder-width apart and the bar tracking over the middle of your foot.
Take a big breath into your belly as you brace the core.
Keep the core braced, bar in hands close to your body, as you raise and push the hips through to standing to initiate the hip extension. At the top of the movement squeeze your glutes and hamstrings. (This is the muscle you're working so the squeeze is important.) That’s one rep.
Hinge the hips backward as you lower the bar to the floor (or mid-shin) again keeping the bar as close to your body as possible and spine neutral.
Let your knees bend as much as needed to maintain a neutral spine while hinging at the hips. Lower to the middle of your shin or the floor (this will be dependent on the height of your barbell, and you.)
Then initiate the movement again to standing. Brace the core, inhale, drive the hips through to standing and squeeze the glutes at the top.”
“DB Glute Bridge Technique Points:
Lie on your back with your heels tucked close to your bum, keeping your ankles under your knees.
Your feet should be about shoulder-width apart, toes turned out slightly with your back flat to the floor.
Rest the dumbbell horizontally across your pelvis. (You can use a mat or padding if needed.)
Brace the core as you push through your feet to drive your hips upwards towards the ceiling.
At the top of the movement, you should have a straight line through the knee, hips, and ankles.
Squeeze your glutes hard at the top for a split second before lowering yourself back to the mat and repeating.”
“Finishers are a chance to increase our work capacity, build resilience and get our lungs pumping.” This is where you give it everything you’ve got!
9 min AMRAP (AS MANY REPS AS POSSIBLE)
D1) 200m Run
D2) 15 Kettlebell Russian Swings
D3) 10 Burpees
For this piece, you will set a 9-minute stopwatch with the intention of achieving as many completed rounds as possible within the 9 minutes. For the RDL, hinge at the hip and explosively thrust the kettlebell forward until it’s at eye level. Let it swing down and repeat for 15 reps. If you're doing this in the gym, set up your kettlebell behind the treadmill for a quick transition. Focus on thrusting and squeezing glutes at the top of the kettlebell swing.
For maximum gains, aim to progress week on week over a 4-6-week period by increasing, “weight lifted, volume, intensity or movement complexity,” before having a deload week (where you still train but decrease the intensity by reducing the weight, reps, or sets.)