Leg workout for men: stronger and well-toned legs (in just 5 weeks)

The leg muscle is the biggest muscle group of your body. You want the muscles to be strong and well toned. This article includes a full explanation of the anatomy of your legs and a 5 week workout plan. This workout plan will give you your strongest legs ever!

 

This leg workout routine include exercises that can be performed with dumbbells, a barbell and machines.

 

In this article you will read everything about performing the perfect killer leg workout routine:

 

1. the anatomy of the legs

2. a 5 week workout plan

3. an overview of all leg exercises

 

Start today with this leg workout for men and develop stronger and well-toned legs in just 5 weeks!

 

leg workout plan legs training leg press squats

1. Leg anatomy

Upper leg

leg muscle upper leg

The leg muscles are the largest muscle group of your body. Your upper leg consists of 4 large muscles: at the front is your quadriceps that runs from your hip to your knee, at the back you have hamstring (semitendinosus), on the inside of your legs the adductor muscle and your buttocks consisting of your gluteal muscle.

 

When you want to completely train your upper legs, you must isolate these muscles for maximum result.

 

Lower leg

leg muscle lower leg

Your lower leg is defined by the calf muscle (musculus triceps surae).

 

Your calf muscle consists of two different parts.

 

The musculus gastroncemius covers about 70% of the total calf muscle and attaches between the knee joint and the heel bone. The soleus muscle covers the remaining 30% of the calf muscle and is located below the musculus gastron cemius.

 

2. A 5 week workout plan

This workout plan aims to develop all-round stronger legs. The workout of week 1 and week 5 focus on the entire muscle group, targeting all the muscles in the both the upper and lower leg. The 3 weeks in between all isolate a different muscle, which successively are hamstrings and gluten in week 2, the quadriceps in week 3 and the calf muscles in week 4.

 

The exercise, the amount of reps and the amount of sets are included in the training schedule below. Another important element for achieving success in the gym is the weight. This workout plan aims to perform sets that consist of 4 to 6 reps. It’s crucial that you select the right weight to perform the exercise with.

 

So what is the right weight? Make sure that your weight is not so heavy that you can’t perform at least 4 reps. But not too light either, you shouldn’t be able to make more than 6 reps. If you have performed 6 reps and you feel that you have a lot of energy left it’s time to increase the weight!

 

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

Week 1

The first week starts with an all-round leg workout. The 8 most effective leg exercises are included in this first workout. Try to perform 3 to 4 sets per exercises, performing at least 4 and maximum 6 repetitions per set. This way you really focus on developing muscle strength.

 

The barbell squat, lunges and kettlebell swing target every muscle in your upper leg: hamstrings, quadriceps and gluten. The hip thrust isolates your gluten, the leg extension targets your quadriceps and the leg curl isolates your hamstrings. The 1 leg machine kickback targets the muscles on the back of your upper leg: the hamstrings and gluten.

 

Standing calf raises target the calf muscle in your lower leg.

 

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

(Find an overview of all leg exercises below)


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week 2

This week the focus is on the muscles in the back of your upper leg: the hamstrings and gluten.

 

The workout starts with an all-round leg exercises: the leg press. Then, 2 exercises that focus on your entire upper leg: walking lunges and dumbbell squats.

 

Next are two of the best exercises that really isolate your hamstrings and gluten: the 1 leg machine kickback and 1 leg cable kickback. Finally, you finish the second day leg workout with the hip thrust. This exercise targets your gluten and is the reason for the pain in your butt tomorrow!

 

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

(Find an overview of all leg exercises below)

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

Week 3

After focussing on the hamstrings and gluten in week 2, it´s now time to isolate the front of the upper leg: the quadriceps.

 

We start this days workout with not one but two compound exercise: the front squat and the leg press. Both exercises focus on all the leg muscles but the front squat variation focuses extra on the quadriceps.

 

Next is the leg extension exercise that isolates the quadriceps. It’s one of the most effective exercises to train your quadriceps. The kettlebell swing targets most of the muscles in your upper leg but the swinging motion pushes your quadriceps to work extra hard.

 

Another exercise that perfectly isolates the quadriceps is the dumbbell step up. And we finish leg workout number 3 with a dumbbell squat.

 

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

(Find an overview of all leg exercises below)

week 4

During the first 3 weeks, all muscles in the upper leg have been isolated. Therefore, this workout focuses on the lower leg by targeting the calf muscles.

 

Walking lunges is a good first exercise to warm up both the muscles in your upper and lower leg. Then it’s time to really focus on the calf muscle. The standing calf raises and calf machine isolate the calf muscles making them perfect exercises. Standing calf raises can be performed with a barbell that's placed in the neck and dumbbells that you hold next to your body.

 

The leg press and squat exercises are the perfect leg compound exercises to complete this week’s workout!

 

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

(Find an overview of all leg exercises below)

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

week 5

The last day of this leg training schedule will be a killer all-round workout!

 

We start with the leg press to really work all your leg muscles from the first exercise onwards! Then 4 exercises that all focus on a different part of the leg: leg curls target your hamstring, leg extension isolates your quadriceps, the hip thrust is the perfect exercise to work your gluten and the standing calf raises isolate the calf muscles in your lower leg.

 

In order to make sure that you will feel this workout days later, we finish it off with 2 killer exercises; walking lunges and kettlebell swings!

 

leg workout developing muscle strength squat leg press hamstring quadriceps calves

(Find an overview of all leg exercises below)



3. Overview leg exercises

Below you will find various exercises that not only train the muscles in your upper leg but also the calf muscle in your lower leg! The focus is divided over 6 different muscles:

 

Lower leg: calf muscle

Upper leg front: quadriceps

Upper leg back: hamstring

Buttocks: gluten

 

In the overview below you see which exercise focuses on which part of the leg muscle:

 

leg legs exercises squat leg press curl extension lunges

leg exercises squat

1. Squat

Place your legs at hip width. Let the barbell rest on the back of your neck. Tilt your pelvis and lower your butt as you bend your knees. Keep your back straight and squat as deep as possible to fully work your leg muscles. Make sure that your knees do not cross your toes while performing the squat. Stretch your legs and come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): Hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●●●

 


leg exercises front squat

2. Front squat

Place your legs at hip width. Let the barbell rest in front of you on your chest and arms. Tilt your pelvis and lower your butt as you bend your knees. Keep your back straight and squat as deep as possible to fully load your leg muscles. Make sure that your knees do not cross your toes while performing the squat. Stretch your legs and come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty:  ●●●●●

 


legs exercises standing calf raises

3. Standing calf raises

Stand upright and place your forefeet on a step. Let a weight, such as a barbell or a weight bag, rest on the back of your neck. Hinge on your forefeet by stretching your toes and lowering them again.

Target muscle(s): calves

Difficulty: ●●●○○

 


leg exercises hip thrust

4. Hip thrust

For this exercise you use a bench. Sit on the floor in front of the bench. Place your upper back on the bench while your feet remain flat on the floor. Your legs are at a 90 degree angle; your lower legs are straight and your upper legs are horizontal in line with your upper body. Your body has two contact points: your feet on the ground and your upper back on the bench. Place a barbell or a weight disc on your lower abdomen/hips. Lower your butt to the ground and then bring the weight up again by raising your hips.

Target muscle(s): gluten

Difficulty: ●●●●○

 


leg exercises leg press

5. Leg press

Sit down on the leg press with your back against the backrest. Put your feet on shoulder width against the foot rest. Stretch your legs. Make sure you never overstretch your legs, your knees always stay slightly bent. Then slowly lower yourself by bending your legs and bringing your butt as close as you can towards the foot rest. Make sure that your knees stay straight, don’t let them stick in or out. Squat as deep as possible and stretch your legs again to come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●○○

 


leg exercises leg extension

6. Leg extension

Sit down on the machine with your back against the backrest. Place your feet under the foot support. Use the handles on the side of the seat to hold on to for extra grip. Bring the weight up by raising your legs and pushing the foot support in the air. When your legs are fully stretched you should be able to feel pressure on your quadriceps. Then slowly let your legs come down again back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): quadriceps

Difficulty: ●●○○○

 


leg exercises leg curl

7. Leg curl

Sit down on the machine with your back against the backrest. Secure your legs by locking them between the two support bars in front of you. Place your heels behind the lowest bar and place your knees under the highest support bar. Bend your legs backwards by bringing your heels to your butt. When your legs are fully bend you should be able to feel pressure on your hamstrings. Then slowly let your legs come down again back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring

Difficulty: ●●○○○

 


leg exercises abductor

8. Abductor

Sit down on the abductor machine with your back against the backrest. Place your legs against each other in front of you with the leg rests on the outside of your upper legs. Move your legs apart while pushing the leg rests out. Then slowly let your legs come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): outside upper legs

Difficulty: ●●○○○

 


leg exercises adductor

9. Adductor

Sit down on the adductor machine with your back against the backrest. Place your legs as far apart as possible with the leg rests on the inside of your upper legs. Then bring your legs together by pushing the leg rests in. Then slowly let your legs come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): inside upper legs

Difficulty: ●●○○○

 


leg exercise machine kickback

10. One leg machine kickback

Step into the machine, place your foot on the foot rest behind you and grab the handles that are in front of you. Your chest is resting against the chest rest. Kick your leg backwards as far as possible so that you feel the tension on your hamstring. Then let your leg return to the starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring & gluten

Difficulty: ●●○○○

 


leg exercise cable kickback

11. One leg cable kickback

This exercise is performed at a cable station. Stand in front of the cable station facing the machine. Place your foot in the loop that’s attached at the end of the cable. Hold the cable station in order to keep your balance. Kick your leg backwards as far as possible so that you feel the tension on your hamstring. Then let your leg return to the starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●○○

 


leg exercise calf machine

12. Calf machine

Sit down on the calf machine with your back against the backrest. Put your forefeet on the foot rest in front of you. Stretch your toes in order to push the footrest away. By doing so you will feel your calf muscle stretching. You can hold on to the handles next to the seat for extra support. Slowly let your forefoot come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): calves

Difficulty: ●●○○○

 


leg exercises dumbbell squat

13. Dumbbell squat

Place your legs at hip width. Tilt your pelvis and lower your butt as you bend your knees. Keep your back straight and squat as deep as possible to fully load your muscles. Make sure that your knees do not cross your toes while performing the squat. Stretch your legs and come back to starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●●●

 


leg exercises lunges

14. Lunges

Stand upright holding additional weight such as dumbbells in your hand. Step out with one leg. This leg should be in a 90 degree angle, your knee does not cross your toes. Bend through your back leg, bringing your knee to the floor. Then bring both legs up again and step back with your front leg into starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●●○

 


leg exercises walking lunges

15. Walking lunges

Stand upright holding additional weights such as dumbbells in your hand. Step out with one leg. This leg should be in a 90 degree angle, your knee does not cross your toes. Bend through your back leg, bringing your knee to the floor. Then continue the movement by bringing your back leg next to your front leg. You are now back in starting position.

Target muscle(s): hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●●○

 


leg exercises dumbbell step up

16. Dumbbell step up

Stand in front of the step with your legs next to each other. Hold additional weights such as dumbbells in your hand. Step with one leg on the step, bring the other leg on the step as well and then step of again. You can increase the difficulty of this exercise by increasing the speed of with  which you perform this exercise or by brining your knees up as high as possible when stepping up.

Target muscle(s): quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●○○○○

 


leg exercises kettlebell swing

17. Kettlebell swing

Place your feet on hip width. Slightly bend your knees, tilt your pelvis and place your butt backwards. Hold the kettlebell between your legs. Then swing the kettlebell forward using the strength in your legs and by stretching your arms out forward. The kettlebell should at least reach shoulder height. Let the kettlebell fall down again through your legs and swing it back to the front. The strength comes from your legs and shoulders, keep your back during this exercise straight.

Target muscle(s): hamstring, quadriceps & gluten

Difficulty: ●●●●●

 

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