The 7 Best Workouts For Thicker Quads, Glutes, And Hams

“Leg day”the very phrase conjures up images of nausea, days of hobbling, and legs that feel like jello. The feelings may be universal, but bodybuilders looking to annihilate legs have countless workout options at their disposal. While most workouts start with some variation of the squat-widely acclaimed as the best lower-body movement-exercise choice, foot position, and advanced training techniques all allow you to emphasize one particular area of the legs over others. That’s great if you want to thicken up your quads, fill out your glutes, or beef up your hamstrings because of a weakness or simply because you want to prioritize an area for a length of time.

Each of the seven-leg workouts below has a different focus. Find one that suits your needs for the next 4-8 weeks before switching to another specialized program. Or simply follow a solid overall mass-building plan like the one listed under Goal 1.

While we can provide any number of formulas for advanced leg growth, you’re still on your own when it comes to generating the intensity to survive a high-octane workout and withstanding the pain. Nail those last two factors and you’ll leave your wheels no choice but to grow.


Goal 1: More Overall Leg Mass

Mass-building comes with a set of rules. That means starting your workout with the most challenging exercises and heaviest loads, hitting the thighs from a variety of angles, keeping the volume (number of total sets and reps) high, and training to muscle failure.

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Goal 2: Greater Leg Definition

Simply doing more work with light weight for high reps isn’t enough to get you lean. To keep your metabolism high, you still need that stimulus for building and keeping muscle size. That will help boost excess post-exercise oxygen consumption (EPOC), which roughly translates to the number of calories you burn after your workout is over.

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Goal 3: Starting Strong

Learning to squat can be a challenge, which is why the simple goblet version is a great place to start. The idea here is to learn and practice movement patterns before loading them with heavier weights or graduating to more complex moves.

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Goal 4: Emphasize Your Quads

Because multijoint leg movements work your legs from top to bottom, it’s impossible to completely isolate one area over another. However, you can emphasize one area over another. In this case, we’re trying to maximize the range of motion of the knee joint while limiting the range of motion at the hip joint. One way to do this is by changing up your foot position on machine exercises.

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Goal 5: Emphasize Your Glutes

While you tried to minimize hip flexion/extension in the quad-focused workout, here you want to maximize it. Do that by choosing exercises and foot positions that allow the glutes to be trained through their full range of motion. Be sure to descend fairly deep in all squatting motions; otherwise, you’ll limit glute activation.

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Goal 6: Emphasize Your Hamstrings.

Hams shouldn’t be an afterthought, and not just for aesthetic reasons; they also support knee-joint integrity. Most bodybuilders are familiar with the family of leg-curl movements, which can be done lying, seated, standing, or with one knee supported on a bench. Don’t forget to work the hams from the hip joint as well, which means doing Romanians.

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Goal 7: Pre-Exhaust Your Legs

This workout starts by targeting just your quads with a single-joint movement. By the time you get to the multijoint exercises that follow, your quads will already be highly fatigued but your glutes and hams will have been spared. Neither muscle group will be the weak link in those follow-up exercises; you’ll be pushing your quads, however, to their limit.

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