The Best Leg Exercises for Building Mass

If you are looking to add mass to your legs, try these basic exercises. Remember to choose a weight that is challaging yet light enough for good form.

Best Leg Exercises for Mass

1. Barbell Squat

Exercise Data
Main Muscle Worked: Quadriceps
Other Muscles Worked: Lower Back, Hamstrings, Calves, Glutes
Equipment: Barbell
Mechanics Type: Compound

Procedure: Rest a barbell on the upper portion of your back, not your neck. Firmly grip the bar with your hands almost twice your shoulder width apart. Position your feet about shoulder width apart and your toes should be pointing just a little outward with your knees in the same direction. Keep your back as straight as possible and your chin up, bend your knees and slowly lower your hips straight down until your THIGHS ARE PARALLEL TO THE FLOOR. Once you reach the bottom position, press the weight up back to the starting position. Don't lean over or curve your back forward! You can use a belt to help reduce the chance of lower back injury. You can put your heels on a 1 inch block to further work the quads. You can also use a wider stance to work the inner quads even more.

2. Leg Extensions

Exercise Data
Main Muscle Worked: Quadriceps
Other Muscles Worked: None
Equipment: Machine
Mechanics Type: Isolation

Procedure: Using a leg extension machine, sit in the seat and hook your feet under the padded bar. Adjust the pad and/or the seat so that your knees hang off the end of the seat and the footpad rest on the lowest part of the shins. Grasp the handles on the machine or the edges of the seat to keep your hips from lifting up as you perform the exercise. Extend your legs until knees are straight, making sure you remain seated flat on the machine. Raise the weight all the way, lock and hold briefly, then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Get the full range of motion and feel the muscle being worked during the entire movement. Do not SWING the weight up!

3. Leg Curl with Machine Lying Down


Starting position: You may sit, stand or lie flat on the bench, depending on the machine. Your hips should be neutralized. If you are lying down on a flat bench, your glutes should be contracted to press your hips down and kneecaps should be just off the bench

Engage and contract the hamstrings, maintaining contraction throughout the movement.

Exhale as your knees flex. Bring your heels as close as possible to your but, then in hale while lowering slowly.

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