There are dozens of leg exercises but the majority of workouts out there are comprised of basically the same base of exercises. And that’s all good but as you know, your muscles adapt to stimuli and if you do the same exercises over and over again they will lose effectiveness. You need to change things up.
You also need variety to keep it interesting so that you’re not tempted to skip that leg day. So today we’ll have some of the rather uncommon but very effective leg exercises for you to add to your routine.
Despite its name this is a great alternative to the leg extension machine. It works your quads well and doesn’t require any equipment being a body weight exercise. The only drawback is that it’s hard on your knees so you should probably avoid it if you have a problem there.
To perform, use something to hold on to for balance, and lean back as you bend your knees and shift your weight to your toes while keeping the back straight.
Glute Ham Raise
This exercise is great to isolate your hamstrings and if you don’t have access to a machine all you need is something or someone to hold your feet (a barbell, a bench, or a friend). To perform, put your feet under support and slowly bring yourself toward the ground face first. When the hamstrings can’t support you further, go into the push up position and push yourself back to repeat. Keep your body tense and really focus on the ham extension.
Barbell Hack Squats
Think of this exercise as a reverse deadlift by taking the barbell behind the back and doing a squat to focus on the quads. All the rules that apply to squat and deadlift form apply here, so keep the hips back and lift by thrusting the hips forward with your back straight.
The form of this exercise is pretty much like the regular squat except that the weight is front loaded. That removes a lot of stress from your back which is great if you have lower back problems. To perform, use a lighter weight barbell and place it in the crook of your elbows, proceed to do a squat.
Donkey Calf Raise
An old and forgotten exercise but it was once a popular bodybuilding exercise (you can find old photos of Arnold and Franco doing it). It’s a great exercise and you can bring it back to your leg workouts. To perform, bend your body at a 90 degree angle on something stable to hold on to and step with your toes on a block to do calf raises. Use a weight belt (or a training buddy) for added weight.
So here you have it, 5 uncommon exercises that can really find a place in your leg workouts to add variety, hit those muscles from different angles and make it more interesting.
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