Best Exercises for Strong Legs

Patrick Dunham's picture
By Patrick Dunham on January 25, 2019

No strength training routine is complete without “leg day.” But not everyone is in love with leg day.

We have all seen the guy at the gym with a ripped torso but skinny legs. But it is not just about looking good, skipping “leg day” is a bad idea because it can slow down your strength and muscle gains and make you more vulnerable to injury.

Plus, strength training your lower body can help you burn more calories!

When I work out my legs, I aim for exercises that work the gluteus maximus (or butt), quadriceps and hamstrings together.

These are some of the largest and strongest skeletal muscles and generate a large amount of force when working together in a multi-joint fashion, such as in a squat or vertical jump.

Three of my top exercises for strengthening nearly every muscle from your torso down are squats, step-ups and Romanian deadlifts.

Check out my ultimate leg workout below.

1. Squats

  • Step 1: Start with your feet between hip to shoulder width apart.
  • Step 2: Keep your chest up, shoulders slightly back and back flat.
  • Step 3: Start the movement at your hips, making sure to keep your knees over your feet.

Note: Do not let your knees cave in or push past your toes.

Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

2. Romanian Deadlift

  • Step 1: Hold a bar slightly wider than hip width apart.
  • Step 2: With a flat back, push your hips back as you lower the bar.
  • Step 3: Lower, pause at bottom and copy your path of travel back to your starting position.

Note: The bar should travel in a straight line and your knees and below should stay stationary, creating a 90-degree bend.

Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

3. Weighted Step-Ups

  • Step 1: Start by placing one foot on a low, STABLE box or platform.
  • Step 2: While your foot is in a stable position on the box or platform, press through that leg, keeping your knee over your foot. Do not cave in or go past your toes.
  • Step 3: Stand up completely straight at the top, then lower in a controlled manner.

Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions.

These exercises can be performed consecutively or paired up a couple of times a week with other exercises.

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Before performing any exercise consult your physician for clearance. Stop exercising immediately if you feel lightheaded, dizzy or have chest pains.


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