6 Of The Best Unique Leg Exercises

Doing just deadlifts and squats is not neccessary for fantastic results.

A lot of people are bragging online about their brutal leg routine, follow them round for a bit and the routine is pretty boring, a few squats, boring stiff deadlifts and some burn on the machines then off they go. If you are wanting the best legs ever to match your awesome arms, shoulders and chest then traditional exercises are just not going to cut it.

Your leg day should be customised to eradicate the most common source of lower-body weakness. It should be hard, but also diverse enough to rid you of the muscular imbalances that are common in holding back muscle and strength gains.

These are some of the best ways to boost time under tension, increase intensity and keep the growth coming.

1) One And A Half Rep Box Squat

Turn basic squats into super squats that will really make your legs burn and help them to grow. This simple technique will increase the time your muscles are under tension and also emphasize the crucial bottom range of the squat. By stressing full range of motion and increasing the involvement of your glutes and hamstrings it will also help make you better at all kinds of squats:

Technique

  1. Set up a box or bench a few feet behind the squat rack and get into position by loading the barbell onto your traps. The height of the box should be slightly at or below your knee level.
  2. Position yourself over the box with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  3. Lower yourself all the way down to the box and pause.
  4. Come up to the halfway point and pause.
  5. Slowly go back down to the box in a controlled fashion.
  6. Sit on the box and then finish the rep by exploding back to a standing position.

A helpful tip is to keep your core tight for the whole phase of the 1 and a half rep set to maintain positioning and control during the set.

Performing plyometrics before the main workout can really help you when it comes to the main workout and can even produce more reps.

2) Stiff-Legged Deadlift 21

The 21 method is amazing for arm growth, this classic intensity booster is also great for the biceps femoris and the other two big muscles that make up your hamstrings as well as the glutes and lower back.

Technique

  1. Start tall with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a loaded barbell, dumbbells or kettlebells, do not lock out your knees but keep a slight bend in them.
  2. Slowly lower to the bottom until you feel a mild stretch in the hamstrings, pause and then complete 7 reps halfway up.
  3. Perform another 7 reps from the top position to mid-point.
  4. Perform the last 7 reps from top to bottom using a full range of motion.

Keep your shoulders pulled back and your knees slightly bent, focus on pulling through your heels to enhance hamstring contraction.

3) Lateral Lunge

You live in 3D so why train in 2D with your legs and two feet on the ground? There is a time for planting your foundation and loading up as heavy as you can, but you will be surprised by what you can accomplish through the simple addition of training laterally or side to side.

The lateral lunge forces you into a different plane of motion, targeting the abductors, adductors, glutes and calves whilst boosting hip and lower back mobility, it also offers benefits for those looking to boost their athletic ability, it also gives your muscles a serious shock, even with lower weight.

Technique

  1. Start tall with your feet together and hold a kettlebell in a goblet type position at the front of your body.
  2. Slowly step out left and bend your left knee, keeping your right leg straight. Keep your left heel on the ground and your knee lined up over your foot.
  3. Pause at the bottom before exploding back to a starting position, complete the set and then repeat on the right hand side.

Keep your head and chest up by pulling the kettlebell back in front of your chest, be sure to push-off the floor on each rep instead of dragging your foot.

Also great for glutes and hamstrings, – the walking lunge

4) Jump Squat

Who says you have to get through nose-bleed inducing very heavy squats for them to be effective? To add intensity to the king of all exercises, lighten the weight and explode into the air. Performing jumping squats can boost power production as well as the anabolic hormone responsible for muscle growth.

Technique

  1.  Start with a basic back squat position with a barbell loaded onto your traps using a weight no more than 30% of your 1 rep max and build up from there.
  2. Slowly lower down until you reach a full range of motion or your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Explode up from the ground whilst maintaining a full athletic position.
  4. Absorb the weight with your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves as you hit the floor, controlling the negative. Sink back down into a squat immediately and repeat.

Drive from the bottom up keeping your chest up and proud throughout the whole movement.

5) Single-Leg Bench Squats

Pistol squats as their also known are a great way to add balance and symmetry to your lower body whilst boosting overall athletic performance. Many people avoid them, believing they have to do rock bottom pistols to see the benefit, this is not true.

One of my favourite lower body movements is the box squat, not just the two-footed, barbell loaded variety either. SIngle-leg squats on a box or bench are a fantastic add-on to a workout, allowing focus on one leg at a time, dealing with imbalances that may be affecting your performance and ultimately your gains. They are easy to customize as you can adjust the height of the box and the weight if you use it.

Technique

  1. Place a box or bench 1-2 foot behind you and sit down performing a squat to determine the correct position and placement, go at least parallel or maybe even a bit deeper.
  2. Start by standing on your right leg, pistoled out in front of your body to work your left leg.
  3. Slowly lower yourself to the bench, pause and then drive off the left leg back to a starting position, repeat on the other side.

Always keep your head and chest up, maintain a tight core and flat back throughout the movement, once you can easily do 12 reps per side, add-on some weight to make it more challenging.

Conditioning is just as important for the body as the weight training itself, and can be done in no time at all out of your day.

6) Kettlebell Swing

The perfect way to end your leg day? Both hands on a kettlebell and finish off your workout with this explosive exercise that works on your glutes and hamstrings, increases your heart rate and takes the workout to a whole new level.

Technique

  1. Start tall with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, hold a kettlebell between your legs with your chest up and shoulders back.
  2. Initiate the swing by bending your knees and hips whilst bringing the kettlebell back and down. Keep your back neutral, a bit like performing a Roman deadlift.
  3. Use your hips to drive the kettlebell forwards and up explosively, clench your butt and abs, not letting your back extend too much.
  4. Pull the kettlebell back down to begin another rep.

Always keep your head and chest up, controlling the kettlebell so as not to lose your stance and positioning, always maintain a flat back throughout the movement, focusing on driving with your legs and core.

These really are some of the best leg exercises in the business that will help change-up a dull leg workout and help you to start seeing gains again.

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