3 Deadly Effective Leg Exercises We Promise You’ll Hate

Grueling Leg Exercise

Skipping leg day didn’t become a meme for theatrics. Training legs is difficult; therefore, we just return to upper body workouts because they provide the aesthetics we want without sacrificing comfort. But leg day is THE MOST important part of any training regimen because it floods the body with human growth hormones. That’s right: Lifting legs is your own natural steroid!
Here, MUTANT will give you the three toughest leg exercises that can be scaled up over time. Sure, you’ll hate every second of these movements, but what you won’t hate are the results following. Your legs won’t be able to fit into jeans in the best way possible. Here’s how…

Bulgarian Split Squat Form & Muscles Worked

Do you want an exercise so challenging it’ll make your legs weak like you’re in an intense boxing bout? Bulgarian split squats will give you that opportunity without stepping a foot into the ring. This squat variation works every muscle in your legs – quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Specifically, the split focuses on the quads in the front of your upper leg. 
It’s also a unilateral movement, which means it works one leg at a time, which helps correct imbalances with your left and right legs. Also, the balance needed to stay upright during the exercise helps work out your core
Bulgarian split squat form starts with foot placement. The top of the back foot should be resting on the bench behind your body, while the front foot should be far enough in front of the bench to allow your front leg to be parallel to the ground at the bottom of the squat. 
When doing Bulgarian split squats, you want a focused mind-muscle connection. Slowly lower yourself – bodyweight or with dumbbells – so your back leg’s knee is close to touching the floor. Explode with an exhale, flexing your front leg and buttocks so the entire leg feels the burn. The ideal setup for Bulgarian split squats is two to four sets and 8-12 reps per leg per set. Progressively overload by adding dumbbell weight from week to week. 

Barbell Lunge

Reverse Barbell Lunge

A cousin of the Bulgarian split squat, barbell lunges offer a nice wrinkle to a traditional lunge. Essentially, you perform a lunge, like a split squat, without the bench elevating the back leg. This is another solid compound exercise that affects the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and quads. 
The addition of the barbell is the main difference here. This forces you to remain balanced as you lower the barbell and lift it back up. The barbell allows you to add incremental amounts of weight over time. Plus, your core will become stronger than ever. This unilateral exercise will improve your leg athleticism, so grit past the uncomfortable and become a beast.
You’ll want to perform a reverse barbell lunge to get the most out of this exercise. A reverse barbell lunge means your back leg moves backward while you sink to the floor, moving back up at the top of the movement. The setup is simple: two sets of 10-15 repetitions per leg per set. 

Elevated Goblet Squat

Finishing out the traumatic trio of leg exercises is the goblet squat. Once more, it’s a compound exercise, working everything in the lower body. The reason why this is a better squat variation – and the reason why it deserves to be on this list of hellish leg movements – is because of the mechanics. 
You can do an elevated goblet squat, putting five-pound weight plates under your heels. This allows your spine to remain more erect, pushing your upper body back and your knees forward. Your knees go beyond your toes, which puts them in the position to gain strength. For those with “weaker” knees, elevated goblet squats are terrific at improving the health and strength of those knee joints. 
A goblet squat is accomplished with either a dumbbell or kettlebell being held with both hands at the chest. To continue to increase the weight, simply choose heavier dumbbells or kettlebells. Three to four sets of 10-15 reps is plenty to get your legs wobbling in a good way. 
Doing all three of these exercises as a training routine is a testament to your own fortitude. So it’s time to dig deep, put away the Kleenex, and be someone who loves to hate leg day.
Article by Terry Ramos