Best Top 5 leg workouts for Cutting

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A leg workout is a type of exercise that focuses on strengthening and toning the muscles of the lower body, such as the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. A leg workout can help you improve your balance, mobility, endurance, and power. It can also prevent injuries, enhance your performance in other activities, and boost your metabolism.

There are many different exercises that you can do for your legs, depending on your goals, fitness level, and equipment availability. Some of the most common and effective leg exercises are:

  • Squats

    Squats are a compound movement that work your entire lower body, especially your glutes and quads. They also engage your core and back muscles. To perform a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed out. Keep your chest up, shoulders back, and core tight. Bend your knees and hips and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through your heels and stand back up. You can do squats with your bodyweight or add resistance with a barbell, dumbbells, kettlebells, or bands.

  • Leg Press

    Leg press is a machine-based exercise that isolates your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. To perform a leg press, sit on the machine and place your feet on the platform, hip-width apart. Adjust the seat and the weight according to your preference. Push the platform away from you by extending your legs, but do not lock your knees. Slowly bend your knees and bring the platform back to the starting position. Do not let your lower back lift off the seat.

  • Stiff-leg Deadlifts

    Stiff-leg deadlifts are a variation of the deadlift that targets your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back. They also improve your hip mobility and posture. To perform a stiff-leg deadlift, hold a barbell or dumbbells in front of your thighs, with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent, your back straight, and your core tight. Hinge at your hips and lower the weight down your legs, keeping it close to your body. Go as low as you can without rounding your back or losing your balance. Squeeze your glutes and lift the weight back up to the starting position.

  • Leg Extensions

    Leg extensions are an isolation exercise that works your quads. They are usually done on a machine, but you can also use a band or a cable. To perform a leg extension, sit on the machine and hook your feet under the padded bar. Adjust the seat and the weight according to your preference. Extend your legs and lift the weight until your legs are straight, but do not lock your knees. Hold for a second and then lower the weight back to the starting position.

  • Leg Curls

    Leg curls are an isolation exercise that works your hamstrings. They are usually done on a machine, but you can also use a ball, a band, or a cable. To perform a leg curl, lie on the machine and hook your heels under the 

1 Squats

Squats are a type of exercise that involves bending and straightening your legs while keeping your upper body stable. Squats are one of the most effective and beneficial lower body exercises for your health and fitness. Here are some of the benefits of squats and which muscles they strengthen:

  • Squats work your entire lower body, especially your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves. These muscles help you perform daily activities such as walking, climbing stairs, lifting objects, and running. Squats also engage your core muscles, which support your spine and posture.
  • Squats can help you burn calories and fat, as they use a lot of energy and increase your metabolic rate. Squats can also boost your hormone production, which can promote muscle growth and fat loss.
  • Squats can improve your flexibility and mobility, as they stretch and strengthen your muscles and joints. Squats can also prevent injuries and pain, as they improve your balance, stability, and alignment.
  • Squats can enhance your athletic performance, as they improve your power, speed, endurance, and agility. Squats can also help you jump higher, run faster, and lift heavier.

There are many variations of squats that you can try, depending on your goals, fitness level, and equipment availability. Some of the common variations are:

  • Bodyweight squats

These are the basic squats that use only your body weight as resistance. You can do them anywhere and anytime, and they are great for beginners and warm-ups.

  • Weighted squats:

 These are squats that use external weights, such as barbells, dumbbells, kettlebells, or bands, to add more challenge and intensity. You can do them in a gym or at home, and they are great for building strength and muscle mass.

  • Wall squats:

 These are squats that use a wall as support, to help you maintain proper form and alignment. You can do them anywhere there is a wall, and they are great for improving your endurance and posture.

  • Jump squats

These are squats that involve jumping up from the bottom position, to add more explosiveness and power. You can do them anywhere with enough space, and they are great for improving your cardiovascular fitness and coordination

2 Leg Press

The leg press is a type of exercise that uses a machine to help you push a weight with your legs. It is a popular and effective way to strengthen and tone your lower body muscles, such as your quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Some of the benefits of the leg press are:

  • It isolates the legs, which means you can focus on working your leg muscles without involving your upper body or core. This can be helpful if you have an injury or pain in your upper body, or if you want to target specific leg muscles.
  • It doesn’t require balance, which means you can use more weight and more reps than you can with other leg exercises, such as squats. This can lead to more muscle growth and fat loss, as well as more hormone production.
  • It strengthens your squat and deadlift, which are two of the most important and challenging exercises for your lower body. By improving your leg strength and endurance, you can perform better and safer in these exercises.

It improves your balance and stability

  • which are essential for your overall health and fitness. By strengthening your leg muscles and joints, you can prevent injuries, improve your posture, and enhance your mobility
  • It enhances your muscle definition, which can make your legs look more attractive and fit. By varying your foot position on the machine, you can target different parts of your leg muscles and shape them according to your preference.
  • It strengthens your core, which is the group of muscles that support your spine and pelvis. By engaging your core during the leg press, you can improve your core stability and strength, which can benefit your other exercises and activities.

It boosts your athletic performance

  • which can help you excel in sports and physical challenges. By increasing your leg power, speed, endurance, and agility, you can jump higher, run faster, and lift heavier.
  • It increases your workout variety, which can make your training more fun and effective. By adding different variations and progressions to the leg press, you can challenge yourself and avoid boredom and plateaus

3 Stiff-leg Deadlifts

Stiff-leg deadlifts are a variation of the conventional deadlift that target the posterior chain muscles, especially the hamstrings and lower back. They are performed with almost straight legs, which increases the range of motion and the difficulty of the exercise. Stiff-leg deadlifts can help improve your strength, power, and mobility for other movements that involve hip hinge, such as squats, cleans, and jumps. They can also enhance your posture and prevent lower back pain by strengthening the muscles that support your spine.

To perform stiff-leg deadlifts, you need a barbell and a flat surface. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Step up close to the bar, so that it is about over the middle of your foot. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Inhale, lean forward with only a slight bend in your knees, and grip the bar. Your arms should be straight and your shoulders should be over the bar.
  • Hold your breath, brace your core slightly, and lift the bar. Pull the bar close to your body, with a straight back, until you have reached a standing position. Your hips and shoulders should rise at the same rate.
  • Lower the bar back to the ground with control, still keeping your legs straight. Take another breath, and repeat for reps.

4 Leg Extensions

Leg extensions are a type of exercise that isolate the quadriceps muscles of the front of the thigh. They are performed on a leg extension machine, where you sit on a padded seat and raise a padded bar with your legs. The benefits of leg extensions include:

  • Strengthening your quadriceps, which are important for activities such as walking, running, jumping, and squatting.
  • Improving your knee stability and preventing injuries by balancing the strength of your quadriceps and hamstrings.
  • Developing your muscle definition and shape, especially if you are a bodybuilder or an aesthetic athlete.
  • Enhancing your performance in other exercises that involve leg extension, such as leg presses, lunges, and step-ups.

To do leg extensions, you need to follow these steps:

  • Position yourself on the leg extension machine and adjust the weight stack to a moderate load.
  • Sit on the machine with your knees positioned in line with the equipment’s axis of rotation. Put your hands on the handlebars.
  • Arrange your sitting posture so that your back is straight and your head is aligned with your spine.
  • Place your feet under the padded bar, with your ankles slightly behind your knees.
  • Exhale and extend your legs until they are almost straight, but not locked. Squeeze your quadriceps at the top of the movement.
  • Inhale and lower your legs back to the starting position, with a slight bend in your knees.
  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

5 Leg Curls

Leg curls are a type of exercise that work on your hamstring muscles, which are located at the back of your thighs. They help you bend your knees and extend your hips. Leg curls can improve your strength, flexibility, and balance, as well as prevent injuries to your knees and lower back.

To do leg curls, you need a leg curl machine, which can be lying, seated, or standing. You place your legs under a padded bar and curl your lower legs towards your buttocks against resistance. You can also do leg curls with a resistance band or your own body weight.

Some of the benefits of leg curls are:

  • They target and isolate your hamstrings, which are often neglected in other exercises.
  • They improve your performance in sports and activities that involve running, jumping, and kicking.
  • They enhance your posture and alignment by balancing the strength of your hamstrings and quadriceps.
  • They reduce the risk of hamstring strains, tears, and pulls, which are common injuries among athletes and active people.
  • They tone and shape your legs, especially if you vary the speed, intensity, and angle of your leg curls.

If you want to design a leg workout using these exercises, you can follow this simple template:

  • Start with a squat movement, then move to a hip-hinge movement, then add in your single-leg movements.
  • Choose 3–5 exercises per leg workout.
  • Complete 3 sets of 8–12 reps of each exercise, ensuring that you’re working your muscles to fatigue but not failure.
  • Rest for 60–90 seconds between sets and exercises.
  • Warm up before your workout with some light cardio, foam rolling, and dynamic stretching.
  • Cool down after your workout with some static stretching and deep breathing.

Here is an example of a beginner leg workout that you can try:

  • Bodyweight Squats: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Stiff-leg Deadlifts: 3 sets of 10 reps
  • Alternating Reverse Lunges: 3 sets of 8 reps per leg
  • Leg Extensions: 3 sets of 12 reps
  • Leg Curls: 3 sets of 12 reps

 

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