The king of all bodybuilding exercises is the squat. There is no denying that. They increase overall strength and are performed by people of all levels who are pursuing a variety of goals. When it comes to 'Leg Day,' it's a guarantee that you'll start with a large number of squats. But is it possible to achieve the same lower-body outcomes without squatting?
The answer is yes, and the reasons for this may surprise you.
To begin with, squats are unquestionably the most effective approach to develop a powerful set of wheels. It would be dishonest and inaccurate to try to say otherwise. However, there are instances even when practicing squats properly is counterproductive. Especially if it may result in you missing crucial gym time due to an injury or prolonged soreness.
When you squat, your entire body is put to the test, and your knees and lower back are put under a lot of strain. Wraps and a belt can help, but they won't avoid an injury entirely. It's not simply a question of faulty form; even when doing a repetition correctly, you can blow a knee out. Incorrect form, on the other hand, is frequently the source of persistent lower back pain.
Squats may be an exercise you want to stop doing for whatever reason, but you still want your quads to be symmetrical with the rest of your body. This is doable, but you'll have to be a little inventive to accomplish so. Here are some ideas for you to take to the gym the next time you have a leg workout scheduled:
#1 Leg Extensions
Although this is more of a detail exercise than a bulk builder, it should always be included in your leg routine due to its efficiency. Extensions will help you achieve that teardrop shape that every bodybuilder desires, and you can work your legs hard by locking out your knees and pausing for a second or two at the top of each set.
#2 Leg Press
To achieve a very deep stretch, use either the 45-degree or old-school 90-degree variety, and this is an exercise where you can put up some hefty weight for general strength and power. Take a shoulder-width posture with your feet on the platform and lower it until your upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle at your knees. Push it back up and come to a complete stop just before locking your knees out and starting the next rep.
#3 Walking Lunges
While many individuals prefer to do this with dumbbells, a barbell is actually a better option. It will make you work harder to complete each rep by involving your stabilizer muscles and equilibrium. Walking lunges, like squatting, can aggravate an existing injury or put you at risk of developing one. Grab a set of dumbbells and play it safe in that scenario. Lunging, which gives your quads a wonderful two-way workout — extending on the down leg and flexing on the up leg – can still help you.
#4 Dumbbell Step Ups
You can increase the number of reps on each set of dumbbell step-ups by alternating legs in two directions, i.e., stepping up with the right leg, stepping down with the left leg, and then doing the opposite. As a result, you'll be working both legs, but on a higher impact/lower impact basis. Start close to the bench to get a greater workout for your quads. Your glutes are engaged and taking over if you have to take a longer step to get there.
#5 Stiff-Leg Deadlifts
By keeping your legs stiff, the stiff-leg deadlift will stretch and work your hamstrings like no other exercise. This is a great power movement and will also help your overall strength, so including it is a wise choice. Deads will also work your glutes and your stabilizer muscles.
#6 Bulgarian Split Squat
The Bulgarian split squat is comparable to a lunge in some ways, but it's much more difficult because the back leg is lifted and you're balancing on your toes. You've definitely seen people do this with a bench, but that's a bit too high; instead, use a shorter platform - no more than six inches. Your range of motion and balancing skills will be compromised if the elevation is too high. As you travel up and down, use your front leg's knee and foot as a guidance to keep your body straight.