The ultimate leg workout for strength

Is leg day boring? Do you feel like you’ve fallen into a routine that doesn’t give you jelly legs? At Fitkit, we understand that workouts can sometimes start to feel stagnant and repetitive, which is why we have created a leg workout designed to help you feel stronger and to help you gain muscle mass.

Woman working out on the leg press

Explore the full range of leg exercises below, cherry-pick the ones you want to try and target areas of the muscle group that work best for you. Build your workout accordingly and ensure you work all areas of the muscle group (Quads, hamstrings, calves, adductors, and glutes).

Leg exercises for strength and mass

  1. Back Squat
  2. Front Squat 
  3. Leg Press
  4. Romanian Deadlift 
  5. Leg Extension 
  6. Goblet Squat 
  7. Seated Leg Curl 
  8. Calf Raises
Leg workout using kettlebell

Back squat 

The back squat should be a staple of your leg workout and is a compound exercise that works multiple areas and muscle groups. Holding the stability of the weight will engage your core and the upper body, and the movement will work every area of your legs.

How to back squat:

  • Using a power rack and a barbell, set your weight and secure it with a clip to ensure it doesn’t slide from the barbell.
  • Get under the barbell, so the bar sits across the back of your neck and rests on your traps and shoulder blades. 
  • Engage your core and lift the barbell. 
  • Step backwards away from the rack. Set your footing so that your feet are in line with your hips. 
  • Keep your chest up and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  • Drive back up by pushing your feet through the floor to stand.
  • Repeat the motion.

Front squat

Front squatting can be a great way to work your legs if back squatting hurts your shoulders and back. Holding the barbell in the front will activate your core muscles and fix your posture if you have bad technique.

Front squatting using a barbell

How to front squat: 

  • Set the barbell in the power rack at a similar height to your shoulders. 
  • Place your weight on the bar but opt for a lighter weight until you feel comfortable with the motion. Ensure you clip the weight into place. 
  • Put your arms out straight in front of you and touch the bar. Drive your palms upwards and bring your elbows under the bar, so they are facing forwards. (See picture above) 
  • The bar should be resting across the front of your chest. 
  • Step backwards into position and complete your squat, ensuring your core is activated. 
  • When completing the movement, make sure that your elbows are pointing forwards.
  • Keep your chest up and squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. 
  • Drive your feet back through the floor until you are standing. 
  • Repeat.

Leg Press

The leg press machine supports your back and torso, which means you can isolate the movement to your legs and progress the exercise with more weight. If you’re looking for an exercise to build leg strength, using the leg press is great for progressively increasing your mass and strength. 

How to use the leg press machine:

  • Prepare the leg press machine with your desired weight. 
  • Sit on the leg press machine and lift your legs, so they are placed on the sled. As you spend more time on the leg press machine, you will find that your leg positioning (upper, middle and lower) will target different muscles and areas of your legs. 
  • Drive through your legs so that the sled moves away from you. Lift the safety bars and bend your legs. Drive again until your legs are straighter. 
  • SAFETY: Do not lock out your knees, as this can cause serious injury. Always ensure that there is a bend in your knee when on the leg press machine.
  • Repeat the movement, and pull down the safety bar once you have finished your reps. 

Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is considered one of the best compound movements you can do to improve your muscle strength. It can help strengthen your lower back and hips, which reduces injury. Specifically targeting the hamstrings, you should complete the Romanian deadlift at a lower weight but more controlled manner. If you’re looking for a movement that will strengthen your lower body and improve your deadlift technique – this is one for you to try.

Person clipping a barbell

How to Romanian deadlift: 

  • Load the bar with your chosen weight which should be less than what you would normally deadlift. 
  • Get into your usual deadlift position, with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands gripping the bar just outside your knees. 
  • Lift your chest and drop your hips at the same time. Pull up on the bar until your hips are locked out.
  • From here, push back your hips and lower the bar until it is positioned in the middle of your shins. 
  • This movement should activate your hamstrings.
  • Drive your hips back forwards and bring the weight to the starting position. 

Leg extension

Target your quads by using the leg extension machine. Isolating the quadricep in a controlled way can help you to develop your leg strength and physique shape. Due to the isolated nature of the movement, using the leg extension machine can be great if you want to train legs but have DOMS in other areas. When performing this exercise, there is no weight on the spine, making it the ideal movement for those who struggle to bear heavy weight. 

 How to use the leg extension machine:

  • Sit on the machine, line your knee up with the axis rotation and adjust the ankle pad so that it rests just above your shoes. 
  • Set the desired weight and drive your feet upwards through the extension. 
  • Ensure your toes are pointed straight forwards or slightly out to the sides. 
  • In a controlled manner, return to the original position. 

Goblet Squat

Designed to hit your core muscles, your glutes and hamstrings, the goblet squat can be used to increase your cardiovascular fitness. Use either a kettlebell or a dumbbell for this movement and use the exercise as a way to develop your squatting technique. 

Woman doing goblet squats
Dumbbell goblet squat for strength

How to goblet squat 

  • Grab your desired weight in dumbbell or kettlebell form. 
  • Stand with your legs just outside the width of your hips with your feet turned outwards. 
  • Hold the weight close to your chest and keep your back straight. 
  • Bend at the knee into a low squat and then drive back up to the original position. 

Seated Leg Curl

A seated leg curl is a great starting point if you are looking for an exercise that isolates the hamstrings. The stability of the leg curl machine will allow you to up the weight and lower the reps to gain muscle mass. 

How to use the seated leg curl machine:

  • Fix the machine so your knee lines up with the axis of rotation. 
  • Adjust the thigh pad so that it reaches just above your knee. 
  • The lower pad should sit just above the shoe on the back of your leg.
  • Drive the feet back down towards the floor and keep your knees and toes pointed forwards.

Calf raises

Calf raises help to bring stability to your knee and ankle and will benefit your overall leg strength. The exercise also helps give your legs a defined and strong look and will prove that you don’t skip leg days. 

Man training calf raises

How to do calf raises 

  • Stand up straight with a slight bend in your knee. 
  • Prepare a barbell with your desired weight.
  • Stand on a step and lower your heels as far as possible to the floor. 
  • Push through your toes and raise yourself until you are standing on your tip toes. 
  • Slowly lower yourself to your original position and repeat. 

You can also perform this exercise on the calf raise machine.

Leg machines at Fitkit

Browse the full range of leg machines at Fitkit today, which includes everything your gym members could need to complete a full leg workout. Discover leg press machines, calf raise machines and leg curl machines from leading fitness and wellbeing brands. 


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