Crave quad definition, head-turning glutes, and calves that look great no matter how many inches of heel your shoes have? Then you need to do some leg workouts, sister! When you add leg training to your workout regimen, you'll see increased strength, better athleticism, enhanced muscle definition, and curves where you've always wanted them.
Not sure which lifts, rep ranges, or training split will provide the best outcome? You're in luck! We've rounded up the best leg workouts from some amazing women on Health. They're all unique, but they have one thing in common: They deliver serious lower-body results!
1. Danielle Beausoleil
"Great legs can't be bought—they have to be earned," says competitor Danielle Beausoleil. Over the years, she's seen such great results from leg training that it's become her favorite workout of the week.
Before getting into her actual workout, Beausoleil recommends a solid warm-up. "A warm-up doesn't have to mean burning energy on cardio machines," she says. "Executing controlled leg exercises at a slower pace is a great way to warm up the muscles."
Beausoleil's workout routine hits the legs from a number of different angles, making sure no muscle fibers go untouched. "The exercises should be done slowly and smoothly. It should take you 2-3 seconds to raise the weight, and then 2-3 seconds to lower it back down," she says.
Beausoleil also incorporates high-volume training into her routine with high-rep sumo squats. "Training this way can help women looking to shave off extra fat while sculpting the perfect legs. It's a great way to increase muscular endurance and burn calories."
After her workout, Beausoleil recommends 5-10 minutes of stretching or cardio training. "Doing a cool-down will help decrease the lactic acid build-up, reducing soreness," she says.
2. Elissa Martis
Physical therapist and figure competitor Elissa Martis firmly believes in the power of flexibility. "It's important to stretch and warm up before training to increase blood flow to the muscles," she says. To start her own workouts, Martis stretches and foam rolls her quadriceps, hamstrings, piriformis, IT band, and hip flexors.
During her workouts, Martis likes to keep her heart rate up by utilizing supersets and short rest periods. "Keep the weight manageable," she advises, "and time your periods short for a greater anaerobic effect."
3. Jessica Tarnawski
MuscleTech athlete Jessica Tarnawski likes to complete two leg days during the week. The first one—listed below—is more extensive than the second.
"Pay attention to your rest times and stay true to them," Tarnawski advises. "I've noticed the biggest difference in my training results when I'm limiting my rest."
She also suggests you stay focused on the exercises you're doing. "It's easy to let your mind wander away from the actual muscle contraction taking place, but maintaining that mind-muscle connection is a must."
4. Katie Miller
Personal trainer Katie Miller also trains her legs twice per week. One day is heavy, while the other is more focused on glute isolation. "I never train with max weights, but I do lift moderately heavy, especially on my heavy leg day," she explains.
Along with lifting heavy, Miller says proper form and mind-muscle connection is crucial to success. "Slow down the movements and think about each part of the muscle you are trying to work," she recommends.
Miller also says to pay attention to which parts of your legs need the most improvements. "My quads grow too fast, so I don't include any leg extensions," she explains. "Instead, I do more hamstring- and glute-dominant exercises."
For cardio, Miller recommends that you move it to a day that's less heavy. This ensures you have maximum amounts of energy to really push yourself hard, allowing those weaker muscles to develop at a faster rate.
5. Lindsay Cappotelli
"If you want tight and toned legs, don't be afraid to lift heavy with lower reps," says personal trainer and MuscleTech athlete Lindsay Cappotelli.
"I like to do my heavy, compound movements like squats at the beginning of my workout when I'm feeling the most fresh," she says. "Just make sure that you warm up by increasing the weight over 3-4 sets until you get to a weight that's challenging enough for the desired working rep range."
She also recommends glute activation drills as part of your warm-up to help ensure you recruit them during heavier lifts. Some of her suggestions include bodyweight glute bridges, side-lying clams, and band walks.