If you're just starting out with leg weight training, these five exercises are a great place to begin. They'll help build strength and definition in your legs, without overcomplicating things.
Warming up before a workout is essential for two main reasons: to reduce the risk of injury and to improve performance. So make sure you don't skip this step!
1. Hip Thrusts
If you are looking for a weight training exercise to grow your Glutes this is it! Hip thrusts build strength and size in your Glutes like many other exercises cannot making this an essential exercise for your Glute days.
How to do hip thrusts:
- Sit on the floor with your shoulder blades against a bench.
- Add a barbell and balance it on your hips. We recommend using a barbell pad or gym mat for comfort.
- Keeping your chin tucked in, push up through your hips and lift your Glutes off the floor.
- Clench your Glutes at the top.
- Lower back down in a slow controlled movement.
2. Cable Kick Backs
First things first, what is a Cable Kick Back? The quick answer: one of the best Glute exercises you’ll ever do. Cable kick backs allow you to isolate the Glutes and single leg exercises are great for targeting any imbalances you might have.
How to do a Cable Kick Back:
- Attach an ankle strap to your ankle and cable pulley.
- Stand about 2 feet away from the machine.
- Set the desired weight on the pulley machine (it’s best to start off light).
- Hold the frame for support and hinge the hips to keep your chest upright.
- Bend your knees slightly, pull your right leg back to squeeze your Glutes.
- In a slow and controlled movement return your leg to its starting position.
- Repeat for desired repetitions and then repeat on the other leg.
3. Hip Abductor Machine
The Hip Abductor Machine is often a favourite as it is possible to specifically work on this muscle group in isolation and strengthen it. Not many exercises specifically target the area on the outer hip. This is a must-do for anyone who wants to improve their Glute strength.
How to use the Hip Abductor Machine:
- Sit in an upright position with your back against the pad.
- Pull your legs together as you squeeze the pad inwards.
- Once the pads touch slowly in with a controlled movement return the pad back to its original position.
- Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.
A Deadlift is a compound lift which targets all of the muscles on your backside. It is one of the best exercises for targeting your hamstrings, Hips and Glutes depending on what variation you are doing.
How to do a Conventional deadlift
- Position the bar on the ground infront of you with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Push your hips back and hinge forward until your torso is parallel with the floor.
- Reach down and grasp the bar with a shoulder width grip.
- Pick up the bar and brace through your body.
- The bar should almost graze your shins. Pull your shoulders back.
- Lower the bar back down, slightly bending at the knees, to the floor and repeat for a desired number of reps.
5. Split Squats
When it comes to lower body exercises, Split Squats are often overlooked in favour of more popular options like squats and lunges. But don't discount this move just yet - split squats can be a great way to build strength and stability in your legs, hips, and Glutes.
How to do a split squat:
- Position your feet shoulder width apart.
- Step one foot forward as wide as you can whilst keeping your feet planted on the ground facing forward.
- Raise the heel of your back foot so that only your toes are touching the floor with shoelaces facing down. Both your hips and back heel should be straight. Consider placing a foam block or bench underneath your back foot.
- In a slow controlled movement defend your knee towards the ground.
- Push back up to your starting position with your front leg.
- Repeat for the desired number of reps.