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5 Best Exercises To Build Massive Legs

4 Best Exercises To Build Massive Legs

1. Barbell Back Squat

Barbell Back Squat

The standard barbell squat is one of the most popular exercises in the world. From powerlifters to bodybuilders and everything in between, the standard squat is a compound lift that builds leg power and size in droves, as well as increases overall strength and helps you pack on mass.

They’re a push exercise that train your entire lower body, posterior chain and even your core. Leave them out of a routine at your own peril.

How to do a barbell squat

Using a squat rack for safety, set a barbell at just under shoulder height. Get under the bar so that it is resting on the top of your shoulders. Secure it in place with your hands holding it an even distance apart, then press up and step back so that the bar is fully suspended by your body.

From here, squat downwards, keeping your head up and eyes forward with your back as straight as possible. Once your glutes go below your knees, explode back up so you’re standing straight. That’s one rep.

Squatting as part of a workout

Incorporating a barbell squat into leg day isn’t just essential – it should form the basis of your big legs workout day. Since you’re aiming for size, aim for less reps with heavier weights.

2. Front Squat

Front Squat

Another compound lift that sees you squatting in the rack, the front squat changes the position of the barbell so that it’s held on your deltoids. This targets different muscles and puts the focus on your glutes, as you experience greater knee flexion than during a back squat. They’re also good if you have problems with your back, as the anterior bar placement decreases stress on the lumbar and knees.

How to do a front squat

Exactly the same as a back squat, but this time you want to position the bar at the top of your deltoids. You can either hug the bar with crossed arms or tilt your arms back and grip with your fingers – but this requires flexibility and a wrist warmup.

Front squats in a workout

As with barbell squats, front squats should be performed as part of your routine. Some people do one or the other, but for a truly leg-busting day, try front squatting after back squats.

3. Leg Extension

Leg Extension

An isolation lift that gets criticism from some as it ignores a few key muscles, the seated leg extension is still one of the best machine lifts you can do. Low-impact, extremely tough and pretty much guaranteed to help you define your quads – it’s a great thing to add to any big leg workout routine – and is great for helping firm and define your legs.

How to do leg extensions

This one is simple. Sit on the machine, place the tops of your feet behind the foam pad and press upwards. Try to quickly extend, then lower back slowly.

Leg extensions in a workout

As an isolation, we’d recommend either sticking to your mass-style lifting regime (low reps, high weight) or increasing the volume to aid definition.

4. Romanian Deadlift


The deadlift is one of the best compound lifts for all-over muscle growth, but the Romanian deadlift specifically targets your glutes and hamstrings in a big way. It mainly focuses on your hamstrings, making them perfect for those lacking in that area.

How to do Romanian deadlifts

Hold the bar at hip level with your palms facing down. Keep your shoulders back and up, your back slightly arched and your knees slightly bent.

Push your rear back and lower the bar, keeping your head up and forward with your shoulders back. When the bar reaches just below the knee, you’ll feel your hamstrings preventing you from going further. Drive the hips forward to stand tall again.

Romanian deadlifts in a workout

As Romanian deadlifts can be quite a strange exercise to get used to, it’s best to start lighter and perform more reps. You’ll need to experiment to see what works for you.

5. Dumbbell Lunge

Dumbbell Lunge

A simplistic but very effective exercise, the lunge is a single leg compound exercise that targets your quadriceps, glutes, calves and hamstrings. As a bonus, they can be done in the gym when all the other equipment is being used because all you’ll need is a set of dumbbells.

How to do dumbbell lunges

Grip dumbbells in each hand. Lunge one foot forward and squat into it, so your trail leg lowers until your knee is just about to touch the floor. Step through with your trail leg so that it goes in front of your lead, and repeat the action.

Dumbbell lunges in a workout

As a compound, these are best done for fewer reps with heavier weights to help build mass, size and strength.