Many people love the squat, once they have got the correct squat form.
Squats are an exercise that can increase athleticism as they provide the body with many benefits and help to build muscle.
Squats build the leg muscles, hamstrings, quads and calves. They also work the thighs, hips and the buttocks.
They help to build both upper body and lower body strength.
They are known as an explosive exercise that helps to build power and strength.
They are also good for coordination and endurance. It’s fair to say the squat has many health benefits.
But, do you have to squat in order to build your leg muscles? Will avoiding squats hinder your progress?
We’re going to break it down for you, providing the best exercises to help build strength and muscle in the legs.
Are Squats Essential for Building Big Legs?
Many lifters stick with squats, as well as other exercises, to build muscle in their legs.
Squats can be tricky to get right, in terms of form.
Some people don’t like to perform squats due to the high risks of injuries.
If your form is bad, you put yourself at risk of injury.
Which, in turn, can lead to a major set back with muscle gain and your overall goal.
So, do you have to do squats to build the legs?
The simple answer is: no.
There are many exercises that are just as good at promoting muscle growth in the leg area.
Understanding these exercises and the best way to tackle them will help you to build muscle.
Before you rule out the squat though, we suggest trying different variations as you might find one you prefer to the normal back squat.
There are several variations of the squat that all promote muscle growth and strength.
Here are a few examples: the goblet squat, barbell front squat and the overhead squat.
They all work the legs and some work other areas of the body too, like the abs.
Leg Exercises That Build Muscle
Obviously, there are always other alternatives to squats.
A good way to start building leg muscle would be to set a routine that involved some of the following exercises:
Deadlifts: Deadlifts are a good way to build leg muscles, especially hamstrings and glutes. They also work muscles in your overall body such as traps and forearms. Many people worry about deadlifts, but if you do them properly they are great for you.
The Leg Press: This works very similar muscles to the squat and puts less pressure on the knees and spine. You can also use the leg press to isolate muscles such as the quads.
Leg Extensions: Leg Extensions help to work the quads and the rectus femoris (the muscle at the front of the thigh).
Leg Curls: The leg curl machine will help to build the muscles in the hamstring area.
Weighted Lunges: Another great alternative to the squat, working many of the same muscle groups and they help to stabilise muscle imbalances.
Choosing, and sticking to, a workout routine will help you to build muscle in the legs.
You would need to consider the number of reps and the weight you lift, keeping the exercises challenging but focusing on form.
As well as this, diet plays a huge role in the building of muscle. Ensuring you have a nutritious diet that is high in protein is essential.
HIIT sessions can help to build muscle and can also keep you lean so they are a good activity to incorporate when trying to gain muscle mass.
If you are serious about building muscle, you can do it. It takes time and effort but it is doable.
Gaining muscle around the calves can be trickier than anywhere else on the leg.
Calves are partly down to your genetics but they can be worked properly to build muscle.
Working your calves 2-3 times a week is a good way to get them growing.
Working Your Calf Muscles
There are many different types of exercises to work your calves.
We believe one of the best exercises you can do for your calves is the smith machine calf raise.
These really target the calves and you can feel the burn almost immediately.
You can also use the leg press machine to do calf exercises by using your toes to push off the machine.
Standing dumbbell calf raises are also effective, it is completely your preference when choosing how to work your calves.
It is important to consider cardio for building your calves too.
Cycling, walking uphill, running and the stair master can all help to build muscle in the leg area.
We hope this post has offered exercises other than squats that will help to build leg muscles.
Remember that diet is just as important as exercise.
Patience and persistence are key to building muscle and getting leaner.
If we have missed any other great exercises that help to work and build the leg muscles please leave us a comment below.