The right exercise for the right muscle: Legs
Heavy Barbell squat


Blessed is he that skippeth not the day of legs. – Random Internet Personality.

Leg day. If there is a day feared by gym-goers, it is this day. A man cannot hide from the squat rack, and the deadlift threatens to expose you for the puny weakling you secretly think you are.

But fear not! In this second instalment of The right exercise for the right muscle, we tackle the dreaded leg muscles in search for the most efficient lifts for your wheels.

Accordingly, we have mapped out the best exercises for the muscles of the lower body.



Adductor longis (inner thigh)

  1. Romanian deadlift
  2. Single leg gliding leg curl
  3. High step up

Biceps femoris (hamstrings)

  1. Rack pull
  2. Deadlift
  3. Weighted bird dog

Gastrocnemius (calves)

  1. Parallel squat
  2. Heavy lever calf raise
  3. Pause lever calf raise

Gluteus maximus (buttocks)

  1. Glute bridge
  2. Hip thrust
  3. Pull through

Vastus lateralus (middle thigh)

  1. Full squat
  2. Parallel squat
  3. Front squat

Unsurprisingly, the squat and the deadlift are key components of a comprehensive leg programme. Lifters take note: These exercises are compound movements and they should not be attempted without an understanding of the associated technique and form.

In studies, hamstring isolating movements such as leg curls were less effective for hamstring stimulation than deadlifts and rack pulls.

Many of these exercises can be done with basic barbell and dumbbell equipment, both of which are available on bidorbuy.