6 Best Leg Exercises for Mass
Most people build upper body muscle mass and get broad shoulders, biceps, and significant, tough pecs.
There’s no bad feeling about that nice toned upper body, but a more substantial lower body brings balance to the equation.
If you’re reading this, you must have an idea or thought that your legs also need the mass to be erect and firm to carry the rest of your body. Big, firm legs are also important.
Yet again, while some bodybuilders know that training the lower body is also essential, many still prefer to skip leg exercises because they may become overwhelming.
While some pieces and articles online portray the best leg exercise for mass as grinding your leg to a pulp with overstretching workouts for the low body, it is medically not advisable.
Going too fast or performing a strenuous exercise for your leg could burn you out quickly.
Some of the best leg exercises for mass consists of sets and reps, some of which you only need to perform once or twice a week.
But don’t get it wrong, you’ll still put in the work if you want a better leg mass than what you have now.
Top Leg Exercises for Mass Buildup
Here are the top 6 best leg exercises you can try out for mass. The best thing about this set of exercises is that you can work them out at home.
However, we recommend using a gym to help you gain a better advantage.
#1 Barbell Back Squat
In the first instance, squats are essential in building up those legs. They are also the most challenging of all the exercises.
Asides from building the entire lower body muscle tone, research has shown they also stimulate the release of hormones responsible for muscle building.
- It can tone up the lower body
- It can improve the arm strength
- Tension on all muscle fibers increase
How to Do Barbell Back Squat
- Place the Barbell in a squat rack at an angle just slightly above your nipples.
- Get under the rack, squeeze your shoulder blades in and gently rest the bar on your shoulder blades’ bottom.
- Now, lift the bar from the rack and rest it on your shoulder, taking two steps back and stretching your toes outward. You can also sit down and place your back in a straight position, pushing the knees in the toes direction too.
- Get your weight before standing up.
For the leg, take the warm-up in light sessions first, letting the weight of the Barbell build on you. Don’t forget to belt up if you’re feeling the heaviness creeping in.
How to Modify
You can modify this exercise either by a high or low bar. It’s all up to what you want to achieve. The high bar will rest the weights on the traps, targeting all leg muscles evenly.
When squatting, bend your knees and hips till the thighs are parallel to the ground, and repeat. The low bar will target the glutes and allow you to lift more weight, an ideal position for weight lifters.
#2 Barbell Front Squat
The front squats using the Barbell will directly affect the quads over the hams and glutes. Research shows the front squat takes the compressive pressure from your lower back.
This exercise could be tasking, so you must start the first at the beginning of your workout session in a range of 3-4 sets over 6-10 reps.
However, this exercise demands much upper body strength, especially back.
- Reduces the risk of back injury
- Helps keep your torso vertically
- Good for shedding weight
How to do Barbell Front Squat
- Place the barbell weight on the squat rack just at the position of your breast bone.
- Stand behind the rack and grip the bar with your shoulders spread wide and palms facing away from you.
- Take a step close to the bar and let it press against the top part of your breast bone.
- Squeeze your elbows in an upright position, and pull the bar from the rack.
- Now, take two steps back, spreading your feet wide at shoulder-wide length.
- You can squat till you’re in a sitting position on your thighs, elbows facing up, and push your knees out.
- When in a balanced position, stand up and repeat.
How to Modify
If you feel your strength may not be adequate, you could try the following variations:
- Goblet squat
- Dumbbell front squat
- Frankenstein squat
You could alternate between each option.
#3 Romanian Deadlift
The Romanian Deadlift will train the upper hamstrings or glute to take on heavyweight without the risk of being pulled to the floor. It focuses the force and pressure on the hamstrings and glutes instead of your back.
This Deadlift class is also energizing and won’t drain you quickly, allowing you to do it repeatedly without becoming tired quickly.
Because of the area where it focuses pressure, many weightlifters usually disregard this exercise, although comprehensive.
- Strengthens the hamstrings
- Relieves back pain
- Improves strength and endurance
How to do Romanian Deadlift
Perform this exercise when starting workouts on your hamstring.
- Load the bar standing straight with shoulders widened and your hands facing you.
- Straighten your back and bring down the weight slowly, keeping your legs straight and your butt moving backward as the upper body goes down.
- It is essential to bend the knees as soon as you feel your hamstrings and glute straightening out.
- When your lower back begins to stretch out and round, just below the knees, go back up to restart the process again.
How to modify
If the grip pulls you down, you could try lifting straps. The weight lifting straps are affordable and come in different materials. You could also try the following variations:
- Single-leg Romanian Deadlift
- Dumbbell Romanian deadlift
- Barbell Romanian deadlift
The original Deadlift is presumed as an exercise for the entire body. They hit the quads from the hamstrings to the glutes, too, especially for bodybuilders trying to use a wider stance for the back and the entire body.
The Deadlift will push you to gain more strength if you perform this exercise consistently.
- Works the entire body
- Improves endurance and strength
How to Perform Deadlift
- Stand in front of a barbell, positioning yourself directly in the middle. For effective results, distance the feet the same width as your hips, with both toes spread out.
- Now bend your hips, bending the knees slightly as it meets your torso while your shin touches the bar.
- Pick up the bar with one hand under and the other above. Let your arms be outside your knees too.
- As you’re raising the bar, puff out your chest and make your head face up with the back and arms straight and widened out.
- Bring the weight up to knee level and stretch your hips forward as you squeeze your glutes.
- Continue going up till you reach a locked position. Ensure the bar is touching your legs this entire time.
- Once in the locked state, go to the resting position and repeat the process.
How to Modify
You could variate the reps, between 5-8 per set, taking note of when it seems your energy wants to fail. You could also try the following modifications:
- Sumo deadlift
- Conventional Deadlift
- Kettlebell deadlift
#5 Leg Press
The leg press has excellent advantages for your quadriceps. Although it is also challenging since it is a machine lifting exercise, it is as effective as the squat exercises.
It is almost similar to the squat exercise. The only difference is the Leg Press requires you to be in a sitting position, your back in a stationary post while your hips do the work, with your feet moving.
The Squats need you to stand and bend, moving both your back and hips simultaneously while your feet remain in a standstill position.
This exercise is purely a leg mass exercise, and most builders classify it as their best leg exercise for mass.
- Strengthens your quadriceps
- Less body balancing required for optimum results
How to Perform Leg Press
- Get into a sitting position on the leg press machine.
- Place your feet just about wide as your shoulder width while pointed out.
- Now, push the weight up and use your legs to release it from its safety handles.
- As you push up, ensure the grip handles are firmly held and pull on it, keeping your butt and back stable on the back and seat pad.
- Now, bring the sled down gently till your knees make an angle of 90 degrees. You need to do it slowly and firmly to ensure your back does not move.
- Bring your knees forward with the hips to keep the weight in a top position until your legs are locked.
- Slowly release the position and repeat the process.
How to Modify
For a start, you can go between 3-4 sets of not more than 12 reps each time. You can increase it to 20-30 reps or more. Also, try out the following variations:
- Wide-stance leg press
- Single-leg leg press
- Narrow-stance leg press
#6 Dumbbell Lunge
This exercise is another favorite that works on the core muscles of your legs. Contrary to squats and deadlifts, in which main goals are strength increase and muscle building, the Lunges will focus on your hamstrings, butt muscles, quadriceps, and other parts of the upper legs.
This exercise is not suitable for those with knee pain, though.
- Exercise is not demanding
- Strengthens imbalance as it trains different sides independently.
- Dumbbell Lunges are safe, easy to learn, and advisable for beginners.
- Lunges are even recommended as a startup workout before moving to the more challenging physical activities.
How to Perform Dumbbell Lunge
- Holdtwo dumbbells with both palms facing in and your arms at either side of your body.
- Remain upright, spread your feet wide and both toes forward.
- Push your chest and torso out and keep your eyes forward.
- Take a significant step forward, with your heel hitting the ground first and lowering your body in slow motion.
- You can achieve this by leaning your back knee first before the forward one and the front hip following.
- Make sure your forward knee does not stretch past your toes.
- Now, slowly return to the standing position by returning your forward knee to the position and straightening your legs till you’re back in such state
- Repeat the process.
How to Modify
These variations will help you get a start:
- Walking lunge
- Reverse lunge
- Forward lunge
Benefits of Leg Exercises for Mass
Here are some significant reasons you should incorporate the best leg exercises for mass into your daily activities.
- Power from your lower body is almost as crucial in any sport as strength from the upper body. As a sportsperson, you’ll need your entire body to provide the much-needed power for you to excel. A balanced body, especially from the lower body, will release force in a short time to help achieve your goals faster and in a quick format.
- If you suffer from back pain, part of your physiotherapy sessions will be focused on routine leg exercises. Most back pains are a result of short hip flexors and weak hamstrings. Working on your lower body muscles will help you get the much-needed cure from chronic back pain, which could be a real headache.
- Leg exercises like deadlifts, lunges, and squats will improve your grip of motion. When you become comfortable with these weights, you can shred more weight and spread the remaining one evenly throughout the body. Your motion and speed will also improve as you build on your strength.
- Leg exercises are an essential tactic to shred calories. The exercises will force your body glands to stimulate the production of muscle growth hormones known as testosterone and growth hormones. These hormones aid the building of more muscles, pushing out calories as your muscles form. In addition, testosterone presence improves men’s reproductive health and strengthens the muscles around the reproductive organs.
- The glutes (butt muscles) are among the most challenging muscles in the body. The list also includes quads and hamstrings. As you build on strength using these muscles, you increase your body’s fat metabolism, an essential piece of weight loss programs. Leg exercises make use of these muscles and draw power from them.
- Strength training is essential for athletes. Strength-improving exercises like squats and deadlifts help to build endurance and strength.
- Leg exercises are essential for everyday activities. Physical activities, including picking up groceries, moving furniture, and doing laundry, will require strength. As much as your upper body will provide power for these activities, most of the tasks will require bending down and standing up. Squatting and utilization of your glutes will help you perform the required activities you need.
The best leg exercise for mass can help you gain an overall body balance, especially if you are interested in sports.
Getting those legs toned up with a fitted mass may be the missing piece of the equation to health improvement.