3 versatile exercises to develop the entire lower body. EXCELLENT for developing athletic and defined legs!
Variety in your training is the key to defined, athletic and balanced legs. Lower body is big and complex and it needs to be treated that way.
Big compound exercises can produce great results, but one dimensional approach of just up-down movements (like the squat and deadlift) won't produce good results when it comes to athleticism and functional ability.
Your legs can rotate and raise to every direction. To fully train the legs, all of these functions need to be present in your training. Otherwise your legs will grow imbalanced and you will mostly be good at few simple movement patterns.
The exercises below will work many functions of the legs and all parts of the lower body. You will work the glutes, hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and hip flexors. It's not a cure-all workout (no workout or exercise is), but it's excellent among many other workouts.
This workout is great for athletes, martial artists and everyone who wants to develop a functional lower body.
Size and definition will also follow. If your execution is on point, you don't need heavy weights to build powerful and big legs.
For a full leg training program and a lot more, you can check out Movement 20XX.
Lower Body Workout
Step Back to Single Leg Squat: 4 x 7-10 repetitions per side
Frog Squat to Side Kick: 2 x 8-14 repetitions
Toe Split Squat: 4 x 7-10 repetitions per side
Rest 2 minutes between sets and exercises. This workout can be done 1-3 times per week.
Step Back to Single Leg Squat
Step back to single leg squat is a very versatile exercise and will hit many parts of the lower body if you do it right and with control.
When you step back, you open up your hips which trains the glutes. When you bring back the leg from behind, you will be working the inner thighs (adductors).
After you have brought the leg back to the initial position, you do a single leg squat with the supporting leg. This will train the quads, hamstrings and glutes.
While you are doing the single leg squat, the other leg stays up (knee raise). This will train the hip flexors of the free leg.
The execution is the key to results. Slow and controlled execution will ensure all the muscles will get worked.
Frog Squat to Side Kick
Frog squat to side kick is another phenomenal exercise to develop many parts of the legs.
The frog squat (wide squat where you are bent slightly forward and your toes are pointing outwards) will work the inner thighs and glutes.
The side kick that comes after the squat will work the lateral glutes of both legs. You will also be developing the outer head of the quads if you extend the knee slowly with control.
Toe Split Squat
Toe split squat is one of the best exercises you can do for your quadriceps (almost as good as the sissy squat) and you will also be working the calves!
Because you are on your toes, your quads, core and calves need to stabilize quite hard to keep the balance. This exercise is great for core, hip and knee stability.
On toes you will also emphasize more the quads than your hamstrings. Quadriceps of both the front and rear leg will be worked extensively.
The big difference is that the rear leg is stretched and then contracted (active flexibility). Your hip flexors will also be stretched and worked to some extent.
Keep the body upright, tense your core and focus on slow controlled execution.