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Leg Exercises with Weights. Best Leg Exercises

Leg Exercises with Weights. Best Leg Exercises

In my last article, I talked about arm exercises, because I know how men like to train their arms. This time I want to talk about leg exercises with weights, Legs are opposite to arms and I think most of the men don’t like to do legs, because it is very hard and requires a lot of energy and effort. For women training legs usually is one of their main routines in the gym.

I’m talking about legs today, because that it is one of the most important body parts to train for both men and women. Legs are the biggest muscle group in the human body and it is a huge mistake to skip leg day. Leg exercises with free weights are very beneficial for core and balance and it’s great for those who want to lose weight or get leaner and more athletic. Legs are the largest muscle group and you can burn a lot more calories than training arms, shoulders, chest or even by doing cardio.

After leg workout, your metabolism will increase and your body will burn calories up to 24 hours after your workout. So let’s get started and find out what my top leg exercises with weights are.

 

Barbell or dumbbell squats

This exercise primarily focuses on your quadriceps and glutes and secondary on your hamstrings, calves, and core.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder width and hold a bar across your upper back, or dumbbells next to your body, palms facing each other.
  • Your knees should be slightly bent and your toes turned away from each other slightly.
  • Keep your head in a natural position, your abs tight and back straight.
  • Slowly start squatting down controlling the weight and keeping your back straight as you would as if you were going to sit in the chair.
  • Squat as low as you can, ideally at least where your tights come parallel to the floor or lower.
  • Keep the weight center in your heels, not in your toes and return to a standing position.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions. 3 – 5 sets.

 


Barbell or dumbbell lunges

This exercise primarily focuses on your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes and secondary on your calves and core.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Stand with your feet about shoulder width and hold a bar across your upper back, or dumbbells next to your body, palms facing each other.
  • Step forward with one foot and bend both knees to lower your torso toward the floor.
  • Make sure that your front knee doesn’t pass your toes at the bottommost position, keep your back straight and do not lean forward.
  • Go as low as your rear knee nearly touches the floor and stop for a second.
  • Drive through the heel of your front foot while bringing your rear leg forward until you return to a standing position.
  • Then do the same with the opposite leg and keep repeating this pattern.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions for each leg. 3 – 5 sets.

 


Bulgarian split squats with dumbbells

This exercise primarily focuses on your quadriceps and glutes and secondary on your hamstrings and core.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand palms facing each other.
  • Step forward with one foot and rest your rear foot on a bench, with your rear top of the foot facing down.
  • Bend your front knee to lower yourself and make sure that your front knee doesn’t pass your toes at the bottommost position. Keep your back straight, but slightly lean forward.
  • When your front knee forms at least a 90-degree angle, reverse the motion, driving through the heel of your forward foot to return to a standing position.
  • Do all repetitions with one leg and then switch to other leg and repeat the pattern.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions for each leg. 3 – 5 sets.

 

 

Step up to reverse lunge with dumbbells

This exercise primarily focuses on your quadriceps and glutes and secondary on your hamstrings, calves, and core.

How to execute this exercise correctly

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand palms facing each other.
  • Stand with your feet in shoulder width.
  • Step forward with your right leg onto the bench.
  • Bring your left leg upholding your back straight and not leaning forward too much and stand on top of the bench.
  • Then step back with your left leg and return it on the floor.
  • Step back from the bench with your right leg and bring it behind you.
  • Bend both knees to lower your torso towards the floor, making sure that your front knee doesn’t pass your toes at the bottommost position, keep your back straight and do not lean forward.
  • Go as low as your rear knee nearly touches the floor and stop for a second.
  • Drive through the heel of your front foot while bringing your right leg forward until you return to a standing position.
  • Repeat the pattern with your right leg, then switch to your left leg and repeat all steps.
  • Repeat between 8 – 12 repetitions for each leg. 3 – 5 sets.

 


My last suggestions

I have shared my top leg exercises with weights. And you have noticed that there are no exercises with machines and the reason why, because exercises with free weights are a lot more useful. You are working out more muscles and you have to engage your core to keep your body stable while executing exercises with free weights.

If you have to put more effort while executing exercises, you will burn more calories, which will help you to lose weight or get leaner faster, get stronger and more athletic. Both men and women should be doing leg exercises every week.

If it is too hard for you to do any of these exercises with weights, you can do all of them without weights too.

Don’t forget to always keep your form, don’t rush through exercises and try to choose a right weight so you could execute the exercise with correct form, also control your negative movement and try to do somewhere in between target repetition range.

If you can do more repetitions, just do it, don’t’ stop once reached your repetition target if you can do more. Do as many repetitions as you can, but for the next set use a heavier weight. If you can’t hit your minimum repetition range, do opposite and for next set use a lighter weight.

My last suggestion is if you don’t have enough time in a week to train all your muscle groups, better miss small muscle groups such as arms and shoulders, rather than large muscle groups such as legs and back. Follow my, advice, be patient and you will start seeing results very quickly.

As always, if you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

All the best,

Marius Mickevicius

Founder of ihealthylifestyle

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15 thoughts on “Leg Exercises with Weights. Best Leg Exercises”

  • Thank you so much marius, for leg excercise with weights, i did not realise you still burn calories up to 24 hours after exercising. This gives me more motivation to start as I know the effects will last longer than I had anticipated, thank you for giving a number of different exercises including the lunge with dumbbells. I do prefer leg exercises to arms exercises as a female . I will come back to use your suggestions going forward…

    • Thank you Ann, glad that my article can help you. Most females prefer training lower body more than upper body. And I don’t think that you have to train upper body as much as male, but females still have to train upper body as well, so you could have entire body toned and in perfect balance.

  • I am a 30-year-old female who has been out of the gym for almost a year now. I know I tend to favor only one type of leg work out and not try other forms but this one helps me open my eyes to other ways I can work on my leg muscles. I’m not gonna lie, I would definitely have to start without the weights but hopefully, I can start to add baby weights and work my way up… Looking forward to checking out other workout tips from you, Marius!

    • It is very important to change your workout and exercises from time to time, because our bodies get use to it after couple of months. And you are doing right thing, every exercises can be done without weights and once you can do 15 repetitions on certain exercise, add small weight and just keep building weights up that way. All the best for achieving your goal and if you need any help, don’t hesitate to ask me!

  • Thanks for your article! It helps me a lot! By the way, how can I still do the leg exercise without having the professional equipment?? I want to do the actions you mentioned at home:)))

    • You can do all exercises at home without weights or you can buy dumbbells of your preferred weight and do all exercises using them. Instead of a chair for exercises like Bulgarian split squats you can use chair. Most important to want it and go for it, doesn’t matter it’s gym or home.

  • Really interesting to read your articles. Being a hockey player asks to train a lot our legs and in the last years I neglected this part and my entire body.. I took notes and I will make sure to enter these exercices in my routine. Thank you !

  • Hi Marius,

    Some great advice here, squats and Bulgarian split squats are already a regular feature in my leg workouts. What I have never tried is step up to reverse lunge with dumbbells, that looks pretty intense lol. Agreed on the free weights side of things, they mean you have to stabilise your body, making you work harder. Free weights also increase testosterone and higher T means greater muscle gains and fat loss as a whole,. The legs are also the best muscle group for spiking testosterone release , so free weights and legs combined means multiple extra benefits from fat loss and muscle gains perspective, through the additional testosterone release as well!

    • You are doing two main exercises already, well done Nate. Step up to reverse lunge is really intense and will ”kill” your legs and leave you out of breath, definitely try this exercise out, if you like to give 100% at the gym you will enjoy it. I totally agree with you, because it is largest muscle group and leg workouts requires a lot effort they are best for spiking testosterone release. You have a great knowledge Nate, best of luck!

  • Hi Marius, thank you for sharing this article on leg exercises.
    I am actually looking for leg exercises with the purpose of giving more strength than mass. I am already in my prime years that is why i am really looking for good set exercises for my legs to keep it strong.
    Are these leg exercises with weights good enough for me?

    • Hi Hanna, you are very welcome, I glad my article can help you out. If you want to go for strength and endurance do more repetitions, somewhere between 12 – 15 with slightly lighter weights, and make sure you are doing full range of motion. As example if you squat do it at least until your knees are at 90 degree angle. Many people are taking too heavy weights and squatting like 1/3 of full range, which is not good at all.

  • Once again thank you for your amazing post.
    As a female I always exercise my legs, but I struggle with knowing which exercise will give me better results and are best in general. This post really helped me with it.
    Also seeing and having a description of how the exercises should be performed helps me a lot.
    Thank you.

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