leg exercises for bodybuilding

A true leg day for natural bodybuilding, one with the appropriate exercises and intensity, separates the contenders from the pretenders.

A true leg day separates the real deal walkers from the fake hustle talkers.  And a true leg day will decisively reveal what type of lifter you are and what type of resolve you have.

During a true leg day workout, you are guaranteed to face some adversity.  I’ve witnessed some lifters, who had the look of a contender, get badly exposed as a complete pretender during the midst of a brutal leg day.

I’ve witnessed some lifters talk about how tough they are only to consistently skip leg day.  This is why I always say look at what people do instead of what they say.

Hollow talk only requires a mouth.  But real action requires action.

What Makes Leg Day So Hard?

Leg day is so hard because lower body exercises are infinitely tougher than upper body exercises.

Weighted dips are a phenomenal exercise, but in no universe are dips tougher than barbell squats to the bucket (deep below parallel for you suckas who cheat the rep).

Weighted pull-ups are also a great exercise, but in no dimension are they harder than doing barbell Bulgarian split squats.

No matter how hard your upper body workout is (our upper days at The Center are very demanding) they will always pale in comparison to your lower body workouts.

What You See Is Not Always True

A true leg day will be punishing.

But a lot of the “leg day” workouts you see littering your social media feeds are a complete exercise in deception.  These are just some of the moves and things you typically see in the current generation of social media “leg day” workouts:

1) Partial, bad form squats with too much weight.

2) Half-rep lunges where the back knee doesn’t come close to touching the ground.

3) Quarter rep leg presses with way too much weight.

4) Bands on everything to build a so-called “big bubble butt.”  Bands have their place in the game, but they are not the entrée.

5) An over reliance on easier lower body moves like leg extensions, leg curls, and hip adductions/abductions.

6) “Workouts” that lack intensity, purpose, and progression.

7) “Workouts” that focus on taking selfies instead of doing real work.

8) An emphasis on bad movement selection during workouts.

The only folks who can still get some benefit from these farcical workouts are the lifters who are juiced up to the gills.  

The Top Leg Exercises For Bodybuilding

the barbell squat

The best exercises for leg day are the ones that will not only improve your lower body, but also strengthen your mental toughness.

The lower body exercises presented today will be divided up by the muscle group.  Your legs contain your quadriceps, your hamstrings, your glutes, and your calves.

The vast majority of these exercises will hit multiple muscles at once.  But I will list an exercise under the category of the muscle it typically hits the hardest.


Barbell Hip Thrusts
• Bulgarian Split Squats (barbell or dumbbell)
• Hip/Back Extensions (barbell or dumbbell)
Reverse Lunges (barbell or dumbbell)

Glutes (Non-Gym)

Sprinting (flat surface or hills)


• RDLs
• Glute Ham Raises
• Deadlifts (conventional and sumo)
Hip/Back Extensions (barbell or dumbbell)

Hamstrings (Non-Gym)

• Sprinting (flat surface or hills)


Barbell Hack Squats
• Barbell Squats (below parallel and can also be done with the safety bar, cambered bar, or buffalo bar)
• Walking Lunges (barbell or dumbbell) 
• Bulgarian Split Squats (closer stance)
• Roman Chair Squats
• Sissy Squats
• Low Prowler Walks Or Low Prowler Sprints


• Standing Calf Raises (with a safety bar in a power rack or on a standing calf machine)
• Seated Calf Raises 


To succeed in natural bodybuilding, you have to get comfortable doing these uncomfortable leg exercises.

If you truly want to find out what type of lifter you are and also what type of mettle you have, you have to consistently show up on leg day.

If you want to build real strength and bigger legs, the first step is to stop following these gimmick social media workouts.

In reality these Instaworkouts are going to lead you straight into the dustbins of fitness oblivion.

Overall, muscle building is a undeniably difficult process, but you truly have to earn your leg muscle.  Not only will you build mental toughness, but you will also build some impressive wheels.

Surely you don’t want to live your life looking like Johnny Bravo walking around on a pair of flimsy stilts!

I’ll holla at you next time.
The People’s Trainer,

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