Tree Trunk Legs Workouts

So, what is the one muscle group that is the true indicator of a wonderful physique? Some people will say the biceps, others will tell you that it’s the trapezius that is the real indicator of strength.

Or is it… The big, striated and swept legs?

Well… Not really.

It’s the overall development of the physique, that actually makes it look aesthetic and the legs are a very important part, due to the fact they are the biggest muscle group in the body.

So, in this guide, we will give you our best picks for lower body exercises, that will target the quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.

After we go through each exercise and give you a showcase and a short description, we will give you not 1 but 5 different leg workouts, using combinations of these exercises.

The exercises

Barbell squat

The barbell squat is an exercise, often referred to as “the king of all exercises”.

It is a basic, compound movement that involves primarily the quadriceps, and secondarily the hamstrings and glutes, while the core and the lower back musculature are responsible for movement stability.

Execution

  • Place the bar on your traps.
  • Balance it right in the middle so it won’t go to the side.
  • Keep your back straight and don’t let the torso go down.
  • Go down, without letting your knees pass the line of your toes, then move up by driving the tension through your heels.

Note

A full squat is considered a squat where your hamstrings are parallel to the ground.

Dumbbell lunges

Another basic exercise, that is recommended if your goal is having bigger, more shaped quadriceps and hamstrings.

Execution

  • Grab the dumbbells and hold them by your sides
  • Keep your back straight
  • Proceed to take a big step forward and then go down
  • Continue to the next repetition on the other leg

Leg press

This is a very heavy movement, as it allows you to go up in working weight quickly. The leg press is the perfect exercise to implement after your squats.

Execution

  • Place your feet on the sled, so that they are at the borders of the platform
  • Make sure your butt and back are strongly pushed against the seat- All you want is leg movement, your torso should be static. If your torso moves up the seat, this may lead to lower back injury
  • Push the sled slightly and unrack it
  • DO NOT lock your knees out, keep them slightly bent
  • Go down, then push up- Drive the tension through your heels

Leg extensions

The leg extension, done on a lever is a proper isolated exercise, that targets the quadriceps. This exercise will help you shape up your thighs and further develop the separation between the quadricep heads.

Execution

  • The illustration of this exercise is pretty self-explanatory
  • Make sure to keep a moderate pace throughout the whole movement
  • Do not lock out aggressively at the top of the movement

Hack squat

This is a great squat variation, that allows you to complete a controlled squat on a sled, leading to a more isolated feeling in the quadriceps.

Execution

  • Get under the pads, so that they are on top of your shoulders
  • Place your feet on the platform as you would in a regular squat- Shoulder width, toes slightly open
  • Make sure your back, head and butt are pressing against the backrest
  • Puff your chest up, grab the handles
  • Squat down, then move up, without locking out the knees

Front squats

This one is a very tricky exercise for some people, as you will have to find the right position of the barbell, so that you can do it without any discomfort or disruptions.

Execution
Now the tricky part is handling the barbell in front of you. Here’s what you need to do.

  • Get under the bar so that it is placed on your shoulders, but make sure it doesn’t press your collar bone hard
  • Cross your arms so that the palms meet in the middle of the barbell and hold it in position
  • Place your feet at slightly wider than shoulder width- Just like a regular squat, just a tad bit wider
  • Squat down to parallel, then move up, without locking out the knees

Barbell lunges

This is a great variation of the lunge exercise. Done with a barbell, you can reach higher levels of intensity and control of the movement.

Execution

  • Place the dumbbell on your traps, you can either grab it with your arms closely or let them along the full length of the barbell, in order to exclude the tension from holding the bar with your hands
  • Take a big step forward, go down and then proceed to the next repetition on the other leg
  • Do NOT let your knees hit the floor

Lying hamstring curls

This is a basic, isolated movement for the hamstrings.

Execution

  • Lay down and make sure you’re comfortable when placing your heels right under the lever
  • Grab the handles and curl up with your hamstrings, then let the lever go down
  • To keep constant tension, avoid letting the weights all the way down

Romanian dead-lift

This is pretty much the best hamstring exercise, since it allows you to use heavy weights and really stretch the hams out. Unlike the conventional dead-lift, the Romanian dead-lift is done with pretty much straight legs.

Execution

  • Place the barbell on the ground
  • Grab the barbell using whatever grip you feel comfortable with (underhand, overhand or mixed grip, at shoulder width)
  • Keep your back straight
  • Knees are only slightly bent, so that they are not locked out
  • Lift the barbell up, contracting your glutes at the top, then let it down, driving the tension through the hamstrings

Note

To keep constant tension, avoid letting the bar touch the ground on the way down- Proceed to the next rep when it is an inch or two above the ground.

Seated hamstring curl

This is a hamstring curl variation. Instead of doing it face down, it is done in a seated position.

Execution
Very simple, self-explanatory exercise.

  • Place your legs in front of the lever- Heels can be right on top of it, or slightly below
  • Grab the handles and curl the lever, contracting the hamstrings, then let the lever return to its initial position

Standing barbell calf raises

This is a basic calf exercise. Doing a calf raise with your legs straight allows you to optimally contract the two heads of the calf musculature.

Execution

  • Place two disks on the ground
  • Take the barbell and place it on your traps
  • Step with your toes right on the edge of the two disks
  • Lift yourself up on your toes, then go down

Note

You can do the movement on the ground, but using two disks or any other ledge, will let you use a bigger range of motion and stretch out your calves more.

Standing machine calf raise

This is a great isolated calf exercise, that will primarily target the two heads of the calf musculature.

Execution

  • Step on the edge of the stepping platform
  • Make sure you are comfortable under the pads
  • Lift yourself up on your toes, then let your heels go down to stretch out the calf muscles

Weighted donkey calf raises

This is an intense, yet fun exercise, which your partner can help you with.

Execution

  • Find a proper ledge and step with your toes on it
  • Let your body down and hold on to something for balance
  • Have your partner sit on your lower back as illustrated
  • Push up, then let your heels go down for that extra stretch

Seated calf-machine raise

This is another basic calf exercise. Doing a calf raise in a seated position, allows you to target the outer part of the calf musculature more.

Execution

  • Sit down on the calf machine and place your thighs under the pads
  • Place your toes on the edge of the platform
  • Unrack the weight, then let your heels go down, stretching out the calves
  • Lift the weight up, contract the calves and pause for half a second, then again- let your heels go down and stretch out

5 different leg workout combinations

Workout 1
Exercise Repetitions
Barbell squat Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Sets 3,4 and 5- 10-8-8 repetitions respectively
Dumbbell lunges Set 1- 12 repetitions
Set 2- 10 repetitions
Sets 3-10 repetitions
Leg press Set 1- 12 repetitions
Set 2 and 3- 10 repetitions, heavy
Leg extensions 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Lying leg curl 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Standing barbell calf raise Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Sets 3-12 repetitions
Set 4- 10 repetitions, heavy
Seated calf machine raises 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Workout 2
Exercise Repetitions
Romanian deadlift Set 1- 12 repetitions
Set 2- 10 repetitions
Set 3- 10 repetitions
Set 4-8 repetitions
Barbell lunges Set 1- 12 repetitions per leg
Set 2 and 3- 10 repetitions per leg
Hack squat Set 1- 10 repetitions
Set 2- 10 repetitions
Set 3- 8 repetitions
Set 4- 6 repetitions
Leg extensions 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Seated leg curl 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Standing machine calf raises 3 sets of 15
Seated calf machine raises 4 sets of 20
Workout 3
Exercise Repetitions
Leg press Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Set 3- 12 repetitions
Set 4- 10 repetitions
Set 5- 8 repetitions
Romanian deadlift 3 sets of 8 repetitions, heavy
Leg extensions 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Donkey calf raises 3 sets of 15 repetitions
Seated calf machine raises Set 1- 20 repetitions
Sets 2,3- 15 repetitions
Set 4- 12 repetitions
Workout 4
Exercise Repetitions
Barbell front squats Set 1- 12 repetitions
Set 2- 10 repetitions
Set 3 and 4- 8 repetitions
Barbell lunges 3 sets of 12 repetitions per leg
Leg press Set 1- 12 repetitions
Set 2- 10 repetitions
Set 3- 8 repetitions
Leg extensions 3 sets of 15
Lying hamstring curls 4 sets of 15
Standing barbell calf raises 4 sets of 15
Donkey calf raises 3 sets of 15
Workout 5
Exercise Repetitions
Hack squats Set 1- 15 repetitions
Set 2- 12 repetitions
Sets 3 and 4- 10 repetitions
Barbell front squats 3 sets of 8 repetitions
Barbell lunges 4 sets of 8 repetitions
Leg extensions 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Barbell standing calf raise 4 sets of 15 repetitions
Machine seated calf raise 3 sets of 20 repetitions

To Wrap It Up

Now that we have showed you 5 different workout variations for your leg day, make sure to go ahead and try them and decide which one works best for you.

Remember that your upper body might be important, but if you neglect your lower body, not only will you get called “chicken legs” but you will also skip some very important, intense, compound movements like squats and dead-lifts. And these are the exact movements that will help your body release more testosterone, which is essential for muscle building.

So, in a sense, lower body workouts help you develop the upper body as well.

If you really want to avoid disproportions in your body, don’t just train your ‘beach muscles’, like many people do. Focus on the heaviest, compound movements that are done using free weights, to maximize muscle growth in every part of your body.

You cannot afford to go all-in on your upper body days, and only do machines like leg extensions when it comes time to pay your lower body dues.

Most people underestimate the importance of those heavy, excruciating leg days, so, don’t be one of them!

Squat till you cannot squat no more!

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