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7 Leg Exercises You Aren't Doing

Step one: don't skip Leg Day. Step two: don't skip these essential exercises.

Everyone is familiar with Lunges and Squats, the two exercises that we all do on Leg Day. But did you know that these leg exercises are fairly limited? They only target certain primary and secondary muscles. If you want to get a well-rounded leg workout, it's time to mix things up and add in the following movements.

Single-Legged Deadlift

If you want to improve the quality of your Deadlift (great for your hamstrings), do it on just one leg. The single leg movement requires more balance, meaning your secondary stabilizing muscles will have to work extra hard to keep you upright. Plus, the leg lift portion of the exercise will engage your glutes, leading to better-looking legs and butt overall!

Box Jumps

Box Jumps aren't your basic Leg Day exercise; instead, they combine the explosive force of jumps with a high-intensity cardio workout. The higher the box, the more your legs have to engage to make the jump. A few sets of Box Jumps mixed into Leg Day workouts can make a huge difference next time you play sports like basketball or football.

Around the Clock Lunges

Instead of just lunging straight forward, try this exercise to hit your legs from every angle. Start with a side lunge out to the right (3 o'clock), then between 1 and 2 o'clock, then 12 o'clock. Switch legs to repeat the lunge to 12 o'clock, then between 10 and 11 o'clock, then 9 o'clock. Come back around to finish at 3 o'clock. This movement will include lateral and side lunges that will hit your quads and glutes from multiple angles, leading to better flexibility, range of motion, and muscle growth.

Single Leg Squat

It's easy to squat a lot of weight on both legs, but what about using one leg at a time? Not only does this double the difficulty of the exercise (making it perfect for bodyweight workouts), but it requires a lot of balance and control to make it work. You'll find that your secondary stabilizer muscles work overtime as you perform this movement.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Think of this as a Half-Lunge, Half-Squat. Placing your back foot on an elevated box puts all the focus on your foreleg, leading to better muscle recruitment overall. Plus, if you're dealing with lower back pain, the isolation exercise allows you to work with lighter loads. It's a win-win for your entire body!


Think of these as Deadlifts on steroids—amazing for your posterior chain muscles. The fact that the weight rests on your shoulders and back means your spinal erectors, glutes, and hamstrings have to do all the work. Best of all, you can work with less weight, meaning it's a workout you can do almost anywhere.

Reverse Lunge

Instead of placing emphasis on forward motion, this movement recruits your muscles in reverse (back leg first, then foreleg). It improves your range of motion, strengthens your glutes and hamstrings along with your quads, and enhances balance control. What more could you ask for?

Throw these exercises into the mix, and your Leg Day workout will be a lot more effective than ever!

[Image via Shutterstock]

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