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Leg exercises should be a key part of any workout routine. But, many people avoid them because they can be very demanding. Yet, everyone wants great legs!

While there is no absolute best leg exercises, here are a few of the most effective ones.

Squats

Squats are often called the king of all leg exercises, and it is justified. According to owner of Explosively Fit Strength Training Gym Danny O’Dell, full-depth back squats will increase the muscle mass in your quadriceps, hamstrings, calves and glutes.

They will also help to strengthen joints and tendons ,boost your metabolism and release endorphins.

Split Squats and Lunges

People tend to underestimate the effectiveness of the single-leg exercises like lunges, pistol squats and step-ups. But, according to many physical therapists, those types of exercises help boost muscle growth and can help prevent future injury.

Glute Ham Raise

This is not an exercise you are going to see being performed at your local gym. But it should be a core part of your workout routine.  Kneel on the seat of a lat pull down and face away from the weight stack, with your ankles secured under the pad. Bend forward from your knees and descend toward the floor. Go Slow and squeeze your glutes and hamstrings as hard as you possibly can. This will pack on some serious muscle.

Calf Raises

For a stunning set of legs, this is the go to exercise for most women, but men really should not overlook it. Training your calf muscles, can be tough using just your body weight, but that is the best way to get started. As you get better, try adding free weights or use machines as you can.

Image: Maria Ly

References

Bodybuilding Universe: Tom Platz Talks Squatting

Precision Nutrition; Deadlifting with Eric Cressey; Myles Kantor

Brian Mac; Conditioning: The King of exercises: the Squat; Danny O’Dell