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Best Science-Based Lower Body Workout to Grow Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes and Calves

You won’t want to skip leg day with this workout.

Jeremy Ethier, a NASM and FMS certified trainer and Kinesiology graduate, reveals his best science-based lower body workout to grow your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

This routine should be part of your lower body workout in your upper/lower split program and focuses on the major leg muscles.

Many upper/lower split programs run for four days, with three days of rest, and train the lower body on two of those. The following science-based lower body workout follows this training pattern.

Add mass to your legs by training them in a balanced way with the right exercises.

Read more: What Makes Muscles Grow?

Best Science-Based Lower Body Workout by Trainer Jeremy Ethier

Exercise SetsReps
Barbell Back/Front Squat3-56-8
Romanian Deadlift2-48-10
Bulgarian Split Squat2-46-10
Glute Ham Raise2-48-12
Standing Single Leg Calf Raise2-46-10

Exercise 1: Barbell Squat

“When it comes to quadriceps development, squats are going to be your best bet,” says Ethier. They elicit very high quads activation compared to other lower body exercises and can easily be overloaded with weight.

Perform both front squats and back squats for balance and variation.

Exercise 2: Romanian Deadlift

This variation of the traditional deadlift places a bigger emphasis on the hamstrings and glutes. In fact, a 2014 study found that Romanian Deadlifts and Glute-Ham Raises elicit the most hamstring activity compared to other hamstring exercises.

deadlift variationsSource: Anastase Maragos

Read more: Try the Romanian Deadlift for Stronger and Bigger Glutes

Exercise 3: Bulgarian Split Squat

“This exercise is something I think everyone should incorporate somewhere in their routine,” says Ethier. It does a great job at targeting all major leg muscles while placing a great emphasis on the posterior chain.

As a unilateral exercise it can prevent muscle imbalances from developing if your training mostly features bilateral exercises.

Read more: Bulgarian Split Squat: How to Do It, Muscles Worked, Benefits and Workouts

Exercise 4: Glute Ham Raise

The glute ham raise is a great exercise to target the hamstring muscles.

Glute ham raises compliment the Romanian deadlift very well in terms of hamstring development, a 2014 study found.

Exercise 5: Calf Raises

Calf raises are a straightforward and effective way to train your calves. They can build strength, endurance and explosiveness while also developing ankle stability and overall balance.

Upper/Lower Split Program

Now that you have the routine for the lower body, why not try this science-based upper body workout.

Read more: 12 Unique Exercises You Are Not Doing (But Should)

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