4 Essential Lifts for Leg Day

Hi everyone, hope you all had a great week. This was a short one for me, since I was off on Monday for President’s Day.  

A few days ago, I officially accepted a new position in my company. I’ll be moving over to a different team on March 2nd, so I’m spending the next week wrapping up all the loose ends and cleaning out my desk. It’s an exciting and busy time!

One thing that I try to keep consistent is my gym schedule. No matter what changes or curveballs life throws my way, I always to myself best to stick to my gym routine. Since it’s #fitnessfriday here on the blog, I wanted to share four of my favorite leg day lifts.

Since legs are such a large and important muscle group, I actually work them twice a week. Once is on Thursdays during my lunch break at work, and then I have another (much longer) session on Sundays.

It was hard to narrow down this list because there are so many great exercises to tone and strengthen legs – kettlebell swings, cable donkey-kicks, step-ups… I could go on. However, if you do nothing else, I think the exercises below are the most effective for building the glutes and strengthening your lower half.

#1 Barbell Squats

You may have guessed this, but good old-fashioned barbell squats are #1 on my leg day list. I don’t think any leg workout is complete without incorporating this tried-and-true exercise.

Barbell squats are one of those exercises that continue to challenge me, even after doing them consistently for years. They are a great way to target the quads and glutes, and don’t forget the core strength benefits as well.

Improve your form (and see better results) by staying back on your heels and squatting to full depth.

#2 Barbell Hip Thrusts

Another one of my favorites is the barbell hip thrust. In my opinion, no exercise targets the glutes quite as well! Do these for a few weeks and you will see results. For a form guide, check out this resource.

As the weight increases, it can be uncomfortable balancing the barbell on your lower abdomen. To combat this, I purchased the Hip Thrust Pad and it really helps. I’d highly recommend getting one. When I use the pad, I’m able to hip thrust 345lbs without discomfort.

#3 Deadlifts

Deadlifts are probably my favorite exercise, period. There’s something very satisfying about moving a heavy amount of weight off the ground. It’s fun!

I switch up my deadlift variations week to week. Some days I do a traditional deadlift, others I try Romanian deadlifts or sumo stance. Most recently I’ve tried using the trap bar and I like doing those, too.

No matter which variation you choose, you’ll strengthen both your legs and your back if you deadlift consistently.

#4 Lunges

Weighted lunges are an effective way to tone the glutes and improve your balance. I am not a naturally coordinated person, so that is a plus for me.

Lunges can be done with dumbbells or with a barbell on your back. I’d suggest trying them on the Smith machine for more stability if you’re just starting out.

So there you have it: my four MVP exercises for leg day. Is there anything you’d add to this list? If you enjoyed this post, be sure to follow on WordPress and find me on Instagram @haileighsenatore.

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