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Squat And Leg Press... But Is There More Out There?

Here are some basic alternatives to squats and leg press that will set your legs on fire.

When you are putting together a leg workout that will make your legs scream and grow to their maximum potential, there is really no exercise better then the squat, with the leg press a close second. However, there are times when it's good to mix things up a bit and toss your legs a curve ball.

Look around your gym and see what types of machines are available. Seen here is a combination of a squat machine and a hack squat. It is still plate loaded with the back suport of a hack squat.


You still want to makesure that your knees never pass ahead of your toes and keep your knees from buckling inward. They should align with your big toe during the squatting portion then return back to the starting position, making sure that you squeeze your quads the whole way up.

With the leg press there are a few different types of machines that your gym may have. The typical ones are the incline and the straight leg press. You may even have the cable leg press machine, in which the seat is what moves backwards when you push.

Leg Press
Leg Press 2

The leg press shown above can work your quads from a different angle than what you are accustomed to. The platform is set high and as you lower it travels downward almost like it is coming over top of you.This is excellent for the glutes and hams when you lower all the way down. Or you can focus more on the quads if you lower to just before your glutes lift from the seat; then using only your quads to do the work, return to the start position, squeezing at the top but not locking out!!

Dumbbells Can Build Legs Too...

Using dumbbells can really light that fire under your ass when it comes to pushing yourself to the limit. At first glance, it may seem like an exercise out of Oxygen magazine but trust me, once you try a Bulgarian split squat (shown here) Split Squat 2or a
Split Squat or dumbbell squat (below), you will have a new respect for these small chunks of metal. When performing the bulgarian split squat, you place the foot that you want to use as the back foot on a bench or sturdy stool. Donít place your front foot too far out that you lose your balance, but far enough that your knee doesnít travel past your toes. Lower your body like you are doing a squat, pause at the bottom and then return to the start position.

Doing the dumbbell squat is very close to doing a barbell squat. All the key points are the same. Keep your spine in alignment, head held up and eyes fixed on a point in front of you. As you lower, keep your weight on your heels, push your butt back to allow for a full range of motion, and squeeze your quads through the whole upward movement of the squat, as your return to the start position. The only thing different in this exercise is that you are holding the weight at your sides.

Squat 1
squat 2
Squat 3