What Workouts are Best to Build Leg Muscle?

Lunges are among the best workout exercises for strengthening the thigh and gluteus muscles.
Leg workouts should include stretching exercises to promote flexibility.
A variation of the lunge, side lunges, which can be performed with or without weights, can strengthen and tone the thighs, buttocks and hips.
Barbell lunges and squats work the muscles of the legs, particularly the thighs, as well as the buttocks.
Most cardiovascular exercises like running or biking can help build leg muscles.
Leg extension machines allow users to exercise their quadriceps, or thigh muscles.
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  • Written By: Dan Cavallari
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 16 August 2015
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Many of the best exercises that can build leg muscle can be performed without any specialized equipment at home, though other exercises should be done at a gym or fitness center where the equipment is available. The best workouts to build leg muscle often combine the two types of exercises, and the workout is often designed to allow rest days in between workout days. Rest is just as important as exercise when attempting to build leg muscle, as overtraining can damage muscles and prevent further growth. Rest days also allow the muscles to repair tiny tears in muscle fibers, thereby making the muscles stronger and better prepared for the next round of workouts.

Any workout to build leg muscle will more than likely include lunges. This exercise requires a person to stand up straight with his or her hands on the hips, then lunge forward with one foot while the other foot stays in place. The front foot will plant solidly, and the person will drop his or her body until the front leg forms close to a right angle. The back should remain straight throughout the motion. The person will hold the position momentarily, then return to the starting position and repeat the motion with the other leg. This exercise builds muscle throughout the different regions of the leg and should be included in most workouts meant to build leg muscle.


Machines at the gym are designed to help build leg muscle quickly and easily. Squat machines are a safe way to execute squats while holding weights. The weights allow the lifter to push the muscles of the legs beyond their normal limits, thereby avoiding a plateau in which the muscles are only strong enough to support a certain amount of weight. Squats can be dangerous when done at home without the proper support, so a squat machine is an important piece of machinery for the best leg muscle workouts.

Strength is not the only important aspect of muscle growth. Any good leg muscle workout should include stretching exercises that promote flexibility in the legs. Tight muscles are more likely to become injured, and muscle strains can quickly put a damper on muscle growth. A muscle strain occurs when the tiny fibers that make up a muscle begin to tear, leading to pain in the affected region. A muscle strain will take several days or even weeks to heal, and those healing weeks are all weeks in which the muscles of the legs are becoming weaker. One should be sure to stretch properly and hydrate often to prevent muscle strains from occurring.


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