It’s a little weird for me to talk about legs because most people are interested in knowing the best chest or biceps exercise but nonetheless, this article will be dedicated into looking at the best leg exercises out there.
The second weird thing when it comes to weight training is the fact that people assume that each muscle group needs to have one exercise that could be named “the king”.
This subtitle was a moment inspiration (I don’t really know how it came out hehe) but getting back to our issue, when it comes to choosing the best leg exercise, there are certain considerations that you need to take into account before choosing your personal best leg exercise.
- You have to be able to execute that exercise in perfect safety – when it comes to technique, even the simple leg extension can be dangerous if you don’t take into account the weight you can lift with proper form and/or the machine mechanics (if you don’t align your knee cap with the machine’s “joint”, you will 100% put excessive shear and stress on your knee joint which in turn can have some negative effects on your knee health).
- You have to learn the exercise technique almost perfectly – any kind of exercise if done with poor form/technique can short circuit your path to a better body mostly temporary but you never know what can happen so the best way when it comes to technique is the safe side: learn the proper technique
- You have to be able to progress – when it comes to muscle mass or strength increase, the number one rule you need to follow is progressive overload. What progressive overload means is that over time, as you become more experienced with exercise technique and weights in general, the weight on the bar needs to go up no matter what. If you are not able to progress by getting more weight on the bar, you are not growing and something needs to be changed: either caloric intake isn’t closely looked or your exercise technique sucks – either ways, something needs to be changed
- Your general body mechanics need to be optimized or at least allow you execute the exercise with some good degree of safety – if your body doesn’t let you execute a certain exercise with proper form just because you have some structural imbalance, a body structure that simply doesn’t allow you to perform safely/optimally a certain exercise (for example people with very long femurs are not “optimized” for doing squats so they are better in substituting them with leg press – I wrote about this issue in my leg press vs squat issue).
Best Leg Exercises Final Selection
If you made it until here, you probably understood what I wanted to tell you but if you still have some questions, I want to end this article with my final thoughts on this matter:
The best leg exercises for a certain person are the ones that can be done full range of motion with no pain whatsoever, with proper technique and which allow that same person to progress with weights over a long period of time.
This is the no nonsense answer that you should have known a long time ago and which I also discovered simply by trying every leg exercise out there and noting my progress which clearly showed that any leg exercise that follows those principles is the best.
If you love to squat and you can do them without pain, with full range of motion and you can also progress, by all means, continue doing them.
If by chance when you do the squat, your lower back hurts like hell, your knees are also giving you pain, then I would probably either go to assess and correct any type of flexibility/pain issue that bothers you before doing them or if you are injured and you can only leg press without pain, leg press is completely fine.
There are no definitions of the best leg exercises out there for a specific person but everyone should chose them based on at least the 4 criteria that I showed you.
Finishing this, I want to note that an effective leg day consists of both compound and isolation exercises so just because I wrote here that every leg exercise can be considered good, it doesn’t mean that you should go to the gym and when the leg training day comes, the only exercises you will be doing will be leg extensions and leg curls.
I wrote this just to take out the never ending question of choosing “the best leg exercises” and put the focus where it should be put: progressing!
Also I would appreciate any kind of share with your friends so we can start a discussion on any topic.
What’s the best leg exercise for you?