When it comes to building muscle, everyone wants strong legs and glutes. Not only do they make you look great, but strong legs also provide a good foundation for the rest of your body. However, it’s easy to get stuck in an exercise rut and do endless squats and lunges in an effort to build a good base. This can get pretty boring and cause you to lose motivation. It can also lead to injury if you’re doing too many squats all the time. Here are four exercises to build your leg muscles that aren’t squats or lunges.
Stability Ball Hamstring Curls
This is a tough exercise that works your legs, hips, glutes, and core. Lying down with your shoulders firmly on the floor, place a stability ball underneath your feet. Your body should be in a straight line with your hips off the floor and in line with your feet. Bend your knees and bring the ball closer to your body until your feet are flat on the ball. Press the ball away from you to the starting position. While you’re doing this exercise, keep your hips high and don’t allow your body to sag. Do three sets of ten reps.
Step ups strengthen your lower body, improve your balance, and get your heart rate up. Place a chair, box, or bench in front of you. There are a few ways you can do this exercise. First, place your right leg on the elevated surface. Pressing into your right heel, lift your whole body onto the chair. Lower the left leg back onto the floor. Repeat ten times and switch legs. You can also step up with your right leg, then bring your left leg up to a 90-degree angle in front of you and put it back down on the floor without even putting on the chair or box. Bring your right leg back onto the floor and repeat 20 times, alternating sides. You can hold weights in your hands to make them a little harder.
Single Leg Deadlift
Deadlifts are a great exercise for working your entire body. Doing it with one leg increases the muscle burn while helping you build your balance. Stand upright with weights or a bar in your hand. Keeping your right leg slightly bent, hinge forward at the hips and lift your left leg so that your body and leg are parallel to the floor and the weights lower toward the floor. Use your glutes, hamstrings, and core to rise back to standing. Repeat ten times on each leg. Make sure you keep your back straight and your standing knee slightly bent.
Donkey Calf Raises
Donkey calf raises are similar to a regular calf raise, but amped up a little. Stand on a box, bench, or platform with your heels hanging off the edge. Bend forward so your torso is parallel to the ground and hold on to another surface for stability. Flex your calves and raise yourself up as high as you can onto the balls of your feet. Slowly lower back down so your heels are hanging off the edge of the platform. Repeat twenty times.