The 10 Best Leg Exercises: Warm-Up, Cool Down & More

Published November 3rd, 2021 by Chris Riley
Fact Checked by
Erik Rivera

Why do leg exercises? | Warm Up | Cool Down | Planning your exercises | Top 10 leg exercises

The leg muscles are the largest in our body so it is important to keep them healthy and strong.

This article will provide you with all of the information that you need to know about leg exercises.

You'll learn what they do for your body, how often you should work out your legs, and which ten best leg exercises there are for you.

Why do leg exercises?

Leg exercises work some of the major muscle groups of the leg, which include the quadricep, which is your thigh muscle, hamstring, which are the backs of your thighs, calves, and glutes, also known as the butt or buttocks.

Leg exercises are an essential part of any fitness program that works all parts of your body to keep you healthy.

Hip, leg, and knee pain are real. If you suffer from leg or hip pain, it's important to take care of your leg muscles with regular exercise.

The exercises in this article will help strengthen leg muscles and decrease the risk of injury.

Leg exercises are important because if you don't exercise your leg muscles, then leg bones break or fracture more easily.

It's important to get regular leg exercises and check with a doctor before beginning an exercise program if you have any history of broken leg bones in the past or recent knee surgery.

leg workouts

What are the best ways to warm-up for leg exercises?

Warm-ups for leg exercises should be done slowly and gradually. It's important to warm up leg muscles before leg exercises to avoid strain or injury.

The best warm-up for your legs are stretching and some cardio to increase your heart rate.

When doing leg stretches, don't forget the warm-up by starting out slowly for good posture while strengthening leg muscles.

When stretching before or after leg exercises, remember to breathe and hold leg stretches for 30 seconds or longer.

What is the best way to cool down from leg exercises?

Legs need a good cool down after leg exercises as well, which can include jogging in place for several minutes and stretching the leg muscles gently after each set of leg exercise repetitions.

Stretching is especially important if you're going to be sitting for a while.

End leg workouts with leg stretches that focus on one leg at a time by keeping legs straight, then bending knee muscles while holding body weight up for good posture.

When doing leg workouts like yoga and pilates (and other fitness routines) keep leg muscles contracted to tone leg muscles while also doing leg stretches for best leg workout results.

How often should I work out my legs?

It's important to give your leg muscles rest in between leg exercise workouts so that you don't injure yourself or cause more pain.

There are several different leg workout options for people with busy schedules who can't do leg exercises every day, including one day on, one day off leg exercises, and two days on, one day off leg exercises.

Legs are a big muscle group that needs time to rest in between leg exercise workouts. If you're just starting out with leg exercises or have been inactive for years, it's best to do lower repetitions of leg exercises during your first few weeks working out leg muscles to avoid leg muscle strain or injury.

When you do leg exercises depends on your overall fitness level, but it's best to do leg exercises at least two or three times per week if not more often.

It's important to work the legs in different ways and in various leg exercise workouts so that all parts of leg muscles are worked and strengthened equally and quickly.

Leg exercises can be done with leg weights, bodyweight resistance leg exercises like yoga and pilates, cardio leg exercises like jogging or biking, water leg exercises in a pool for extra support when recovering from surgery or injury, and more.

Different leg workout routines work the muscles differently so it's important to also try different types of leg exercise workouts to work leg muscles in different ways and prevent leg muscle strain or injury.

What are the 10 best leg exercises?

Squats, lunges, leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises and more leg exercises work all of your leg muscles for a full-body workout that can help you burn fat while building lean muscle mass.

The best leg exercise is one that challenges you but is also safe for your leg muscles.

The best leg exercises that we recommend are:


Squats are great leg exercises that work the butt, legs, and back muscles to tone your body while burning fat. To do squats safely, use proper form by keeping your head up with eyes focused forward so as not to hunch or look down which can strain neck muscle areas.

Keep feet hip-width apart and line up your feet in a straight direction.

Keep the weight on heels while bending legs to lower hips towards the floor until you are in a squat position, keeping knees behind toes but not pointing outwards or inward as that can cause leg injury.

Stand back up by pushing through the heel area and squeezing glutes at top of standing up.


To perform a lunge, you need to first lunge forward with one leg extended but your knee slightly bent.

Keep back leg straight and rear foot flat on the floor, keeping upper body weight balanced between both legs while keeping shoulders down and relaxed with arms at side. with hands at your sides, lower your hips towards the ground until you feel the tension in your legs.

Keeping your back straight, lift your legs and body back up to a normal height, and then bring your leg back to a relaxed standing position so your feet are next to each other.

Repeat with the other leg. Continue until the desired number of reps or sets.

Leg Curls

For leg curls with leg curl machines, when lying prone on the bench, place legs in the leg curl machine and hook heels under the bar.

Keep your upper body leaned slightly forward so as not to put too much pressure on back muscles but keep your lower back straight for good posture during leg exercises.

Curl both legs towards your butt by bending leg muscles to lift your leg up towards your butt.

Keep leg muscles contracted and lower leg back down slowly by straightening leg muscles for complete leg exercises.

Leg Extensions

For leg extensions with exercise machines, sit on a chair or bench while holding onto armrests.

Keeping legs together, place feet in the footpads of the machine then extend one leg out at a time by straightening leg muscles to lift your leg out in front of you.

Then lower leg back down slowly for a full leg extension exercise. Keep knees slightly bent and don't lock ankle at top or bottom of leg extensions as that can cause injury when doing leg exercises.

Pamela Reif- our first BEGINNER Leg Workout

Leg Presses

For the best leg press, sit on the machine with leg pads on both leg sides. Place feet into leg press footpad area as your starting position, then slowly extend your legs outwards straightening leg muscles to push the weight up off of leg press machine before lowering back down.

Just like leg extensions, keep knees slightly bent and don't lock ankle at the top or bottom of your leg presses as that can cause injury when doing leg exercises.

Leg Presses are leg exercises that strengthen leg muscles and work the butt, legs, and back.

They can be done with leg weights or bodyweight resistance leg exercises like yoga and pilates for a full-body workout to burn fat while building lean muscle mass.

Reverse lunge

Reverse lunges are similar to lunges but instead of stepping forward, you step backward.

To do a reverse lunge you step back then bend leg muscles to lower your body towards the floor for a leg exercise that will really challenge your leg muscles.

Keep front knee over ankle and chest up high while keeping leg muscles contracted for good form.

Stand back up by pushing through heel area to stand upright again with leg extended, then make leg muscles work again by taking leg back to bent position for another rep.

Romanian deadlift

To perform a Romanian deadlift you need to start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and dumbbells in each hand.

Slowly bend forward at the waist until both of your hands are on the floor and your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight as you slowly raise yourself back up to a standing position, making sure you squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement.

This can also be done with a barbell instead of dumbells.

Jumping calf raise

To do a jumping calf raise, start by standing on with your feet shoulder-distance apart. While standing still with knees slightly bent, jump in the air only using your calf muscles.

This leg exercise will help you build leg muscles, burn fat and increase stamina for better cardio performance.

Glute bridge leg

To perform a glute bridge you lie on your back and bend your knees and place your feet about a foot from your butt.

You then lift the lower part of your torso off the floor while keeping your shoulder blades and feet flat on the ground as you create a bridge with your hips.

You then slowly lower the bottom part of your torso back to the ground and return your glutes to the floor.

Kettlebell swing leg

The kettlebell swing is a leg exercise which is a deadlift variation with the same form as a regular deadlift but you're using a kettlebell instead of weights.

To do this leg exercise, start by holding a kettlebell with both hands straight out in front of you so your arms are parallel to the ground.

As you bend forward at the waist, lower your body at the hips until your back is almost parallel with the floor and swing the kettlebell back between your legs.

Trying to resist the momentum swing the kettlebell back forward as you stand back up.

You can make your leg muscles work by sending your hips forward and squeezing your glutes at the top of swing leg movement.

Leg exercise tips

Leg workouts can also be done with running, walking, biking, swimming, and more cardio exercises that strengthen leg muscles through the full range of motion without putting too much pressure on the back, leg muscles, or joints.

Leg exercises are best done with non-weight-bearing activities for the first two weeks after surgery or injury.

After that, you can gradually work your way back into doing weight-bearing leg exercises on healthy legs to regain strength in leg bones faster.

It's important to stay hydrated before, during, and after leg exercises.

For leg exercises that tone without injury, start with leg workouts using leg press machines then graduate to squats and lunges for best leg workout results.

When doing leg exercises, do several sets of 15-20 reps per leg exercise while also working the butt muscles from different angles.


When it comes to leg workouts, there are many different ways that people can do both cardio and strength training exercises safely without injury or over-training through the full range of motion by using machines, weights, bands, balls, etcetera.

But most importantly leg workouts should be done with a proper warm-up, cool down, and stretching to avoid injury.

The exercises should focus on different leg muscles from the front, back, and sides of the legs.

After working out leg muscles using leg machine lifts or weights, for best results finish your leg workout routines off with good posture by doing leg stretches before going about daily tasks for the best leg exercise results.

References and Sources:

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