Leg day is my favourite day of the week. I love programming lower body sessions, I love coaching lower body movements and I love doing them myself. Below is an example of a lower body focused day with explanations why I pick certain things. Use some of these ideas next time you’re at the gym and need some inspiration for your leg day.
A- Barbell back squats. 5 sets of 5. 2-3 minutes between sets.
When done correctly, the back squat is the most effective lower body movement. It allows you to move the most weight through the longest range of motion which means you do more work. 5 sets of 5 reps is a classic sets/reps scheme which will work on some strength as well as some hypertrophy (muscle building). 2-3 minutes is sufficient rest for most but those lifting more weight could rest even longer. Weight for this should be heavy but not enough for form to break down.
B- Dumbbell reverse lunges. 3 sets of 8/leg. 2 minutes between sets.
After the squats, adding in a single leg movement is important to work on any imbalances between left/right you may have. I prefer using a reverse lunge because you’ll get a little more glute involvement than other variations and you can feel the “load” the front leg a bit easier. For most single leg movements, dumbbells will feel a bit more comfortable than a barbell on your shoulders but you could also go with a kettlebell or something like that held at your chest. Sets of 8 here to work a bit more hypertrophy. You’ll likely be fatigued after your squats here so we don’t want to go too heavy. Another good option here would be rear foot elevated split squats.
C- Dumbbell Romanian deadlift. 3 sets of 8. 2 minutes between sets.
We’ve worked the quads and the glutes quite a bit so far and it’s time to give the hamstrings some attention. I use the dumbbell variation here because by this time you’re likely to be quite fatigued and using dumbbells instead of a barbell is going to be challenging without having to add as much weight. I do also think you’re able to keep the load closer to you centre of mass with the dumbbells as opposed to a barbell. Again sets of 8 here to work on hypertrophy.
D- Step ups. 3 sets of 10-15/leg. 90s between sets.
To finish off we’re going to do some step ups. Preferably we’d like the step between knee to mid-thigh height. This is going to stretch your glutes a bit further and get them to work that bit harder. You probably don’t need to add weight to these to get a training effect but you could add some light dumbbells if you wanted to. Higher reps here to work on a bit of endurance with slightly less rest. With most single leg work I like to do all reps on one leg before doing the other.
And that’s it. A basic lower body focused workout. This is just a guideline and will be adjusted according to who’s doing it but it’t a nice framework you can follow on your next leg day.