Believe it or not you can build massive legs without barbell squats, there are a wide variety of exercises that will develop your legs just as efficiently. A lot of people look to avoid squats for many different reasons, the most common being knee pain, yes squats can cause knee pain, however 99% of the time this only occurs when they’re performed incorrectly. Below we have listed a couple of great exercises you can incorporate into your leg day routine without having to go near a squat rack.
Sled training comes in many forms and can be an extremely versatile workout. By using different weight amounts and mixing up the distances you push the sled, you can easily train for multiple goals. In this particular example we are going to discuss Sled Pushes. Sled Pushes are a fantastic way to develop the leg muscles, in order to add muscle mass we recommend loading the sled up with 150-200 percent of your body weight, look to push the sled a distance anywhere between 25-50 yards, 4-6 sets with 60-90 seconds rest in between sets. This will really put your legs to the test and help to develop lean muscle mass.
The leg press is a great way to develop your leg muscles without putting your knees at risk. When performing the leg press you should focus on controlling the tempo during all phases of the movement, the eccentric (lowering phase) and concentric (driving phase). This will ensure you get the most out of the lift and will massively reduce the risk of injury.
Note: Do not fully lockout your legs.
Step Ups have many benefits and should most definitely be a key component to your leg day routine for a variety of different reasons. The step up can be described as a unilateral leg exercise, in other words you train each leg independently, the advantage of this is that you improve the symmetry of your leg musculature. Another great benefit of step ups is that they can significantly reduce the risk of lower back injuries, this is simply due to the fact that you use a whole lot less weight with step ups than you do with squats. And finally step ups are a great assistance exercise and will in turn help to develop your squat and deadlift!
While leg extensions aren’t considered a mass builder they are a fantastic isolation exercise. The leg extension targets your quadriceps, and if performed correctly, is not hard on the knee joint, it is also a great exercise for beginners due to the simplicity. Leg Extensions should be an essential component to your leg routine as they help you develop that teardrop look that every bodybuilder is looking for, in other words they help add that finishing touch.