Despite feeling like a rare breed these days, I'm someone who absolutely LOVES leg workouts. But even so, I still find myself getting bored with repeating the same moves every single week. In the spirit of switching things up, I recently tried out a few new exercises that I'm super excited about and encourage you to try, too! Below, keep reading for six *fun* leg-day routines guaranteed to make you break a major sweat!
1. Bulgarian Split-Squats
Talk about hamstring and booty pain, but in a good way of course! For this exercise, the first step is to find a barbell that’s not too heavy, and then grip it tightly with one hand over the bar, one hand under. Next, stand in a wide split stance with the heel of your back foot slightly off the ground. Keeping your back straight and shoulders parallel, lower your body until your front knee is at a 90-degree angle. Then, return to standing position by pushing the weight through your front heel. Repeat this exercise 8-10 times per leg.
2. Hip Thrusts with Barbell
This is my FAVORITE booty-isolation exercise! But heads up, you may want to use a barbell pad (as seen above), which will prevent your hip bones from hurting during the process. If you don't have or can't find one, no worries — just use a lighter weight and up your repetitions. First, rest your upper back and shoulders on a workout bench. Make sure to keep your legs at a 90-degree angle and your feet flat. Then, gently place a weighted barbell on your hips and use your hands to hold it steady. Lower your butt so that it's about two inches away from the ground. Next, push the barbell up through the heels of your feet, squeezing your glutes until you're back in starting position. Repeat this exercise 12-15 times. Pro tip: The slower the movement, the better!
3. Wide Sumo Squat with Kettlebell
Warning: Your inner thighs are about to be on fire! First, stand with your feet about six inches past each shoulder, and then turn your toes outward. Grab a kettlebell and let your arms hang down as you slowly lower your butt in a squat-like motion. Remember to keep your hips tucked slightly forward so that your inner thighs are doing the most work. Next, raise your body back up to starting position with your glutes still contracted. Repeat this exercise 15-20 times.
4. Alternating Stance Straight Leg Deadlifts
This workout may look a tad bit weird, but it's so effective — as long as you keep your back completely straight and your shoulders parallel. The first step is to grab a moderately weighted dumbbell or kettlebell. Then, place your feet shoulder width apart with your toes facing forward. Next, lower your torso down as you push your hips backward. Keep in mind that the weight should be about three inches from the ground before you raise yourself back up with your glutes contracted. Once you're back in starting position, move your toes slightly outward before the next rep. Repeat this exercise 10 times per foot stance.
5. Squat Holds into Jump Squats
It's time to incorporate a few jump squats into the mix. You can either use a bar weight or dumbbell for this exercise; I prefer using a dumbbell (as seen above). First, stand with your feet shoulder width apart and toes slightly outward to protect your knees. Similar to the exercise above, keep your chest up and back straight. Next, while holding the dumbbell with both hands, lower your butt down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Hold the lowest point of your squat for about 3-5 seconds, and then push through your heels to raise yourself back up. Repeat the squat hold portion of this workout for 8-10 times. Once complete, set the weight down and immediately begin to do 10 jump squats.
6. Hip Kicks with Plate
Last but not least, find a wall or something sturdy to hold on to. Standing up straight, grab a weighted plate that best suits you. During this exercise, remember not to move your torso and keep your hips facing forward at all times. Then, place the plate on the outside of your hip and kick your leg out sideways. Try to keep your toes pointed forward during the entire kick. Repeat this exercise 12-15 times per leg.
Depending on how motivated you are, feel free to repeat each individual exercise three to four times. Again, the main point is to keep rotating your workouts so that you're constantly challenging yourself and stimulating muscle growth!
Do you know of any great leg exercises we should try? Let us know in the comments below!