Top 5 Lower Body Exercises To Get Strong & Jacked

One of the biggest problems I see with the way most guys train is their exercise selection. Too often I see guys who want to build muscle and get stronger perform the WRONG exercises. Instead of focusing on the basic exercises that have been proven to work, they focus on these gimmicky exercises that won’t help them reach their goals.

Simply put, you don’t have time to waste in the gym doing exercises that might work. Focus on the basics, as they are proven to deliver the best results. If I ask you why you are doing a specific exercise and you don’t have a legitimate answer, then scrap it.

When it comes to choosing the best strength exercises, you need to consider training economy, getting the most bang for your buck.

In this post I will focus on the ‘Top 5 Lower Body Strength Exercises’. These lifts are staples in my Lift Like A Man program and they should be a staple in yours as well (that is if you want to build muscle and get stronger).

Here are the Top 5 Lower Body Exercises For Athletes:

1) Trap Bar Deadlifts

Trap bar deadlifts are an awesome exercise for you to strengthen your entire posterior chain. While conventional or sumo style deadlifts are great, trap bar deadlifts are easier to learn and very effective when done properly. Trap bar deadlifts are also less taxing on the body then traditional deadlifts and easier to learn.

When you do trap bar deadlifts, make sure you are sitting back and are keeping the tension on your hamstrings. Do not turn it into a squat.

2) Front Squats

I am sure you have herd 1,000 times that squats are the king of all lower body exercises and should be a staple in your training program. There is no denying that but a better question is what type of squats should you do? My favorite variation is safety squat bar squats but since most guys don’t have access to a safety squat bar, front squats will do just fine.

Front squats are much easier on the lower back because there are less compressive forces on the spine when compared the back squat. In addition to this the trunk is engaged much more in front squats compared to back squats. While back squats are a great exercise, front squats are easier to learn because it is much easier to maintain a neutral spine and upright torso in the front squat. Front squats can be done with kettlebells, sandbags or a barbell.

3) Barbell Hip Thrusts

Popularized by Bret Contreras, hip thrusts are the best way to train the glutes. Simply put, if you want to deadlift and squat a lot of weight, you need to have strong glutes.

Check out this video of Bret Contreras breaking proper technique on the hip thrust.

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4) Front loaded Reverse Lunges

Unilateral leg training is often overlooked by guys that want to get strong and jacked but they are a great way to promote balance in your training.

Front loaded reverse lunges place a greater emphasis on the core compared to other unilateral leg exercises where you are holding the weigh at your side or on your back. Another major benefit of this exercise is it will improve your hip stability and help you overcome muscular imbalances caused from everyday life.

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 5) Prowler Pushes/ Sled Drags

The prowler and sled are awesome tools because of their effectiveness and their versatility. They can be used for many different goals and can be good for beginner athletes all the way to the professional rank.

The prowler is a great way to improve work capacity and general physical preparation. You can also load the prowler up with super heavy weight and push it for shorter distances to improve lower body strength with minimal stress on your joints. And finally, the sled and prowler can also be used as a rehabilitation tool when you are recovering from an injury and you need to do low impact exercises.

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While there are a ton of other great lower body exercises, these lifts are all staples in my Lift Like A Man program because they work!  In the next part of this installment I will share my top 5 upper body exercises.

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