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How to Build Incredible Leg Muscle and Strength WITHOUT SQUATS!

Try something new.

This great video from John Meadows (Mountain Dog) will teach you how to build incredible leg muscle and strength without squats.

Squats are an excellent exercise, however there are other ways to build muscle and strength for the lower body.

emma cary does front squat leg exercise 10 Most Common Squat Mistakes You Must Avoid Leg Muscle and Strength Without SquatsSource: Photo courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

Whether you want to avoid squatting for any specific reason, or just wish to try something new and keep your training varied and interesting, follow John Meadows’ excellent leg workout and destroy your legs and maximise your gains.

How to Build Incredible Leg Muscle and Strength WITHOUT SQUATS

1) Warm up with leg extensions: sets of 6 reps, ramp up weight by one plate after every 6 reps till you can’t get 6 anymore

2) Leg extensions: pick up from where you left off in (1), shoot for 25 reps, rest pause, style, get out of the machine during breaks

3) Back supported leg press movement: pick a weight that you can do 10-12 reps with and shoot for 25 reps, rest pause style, don’t get out of the machine during breaks, lockout and rest

4) 3 sets of lunges for about 25 yards

5) Leg curls : 2*10

Third set: 10 reps, 10 partials from bottom, 15-20 second iso hold.

Watch the video for full details and training tips.

Video – Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats

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Muscles of the legs

The leg muscles are responsible for the movement of the lower limb. The muscles of the legs can be divided into two groups: extensors and flexors. Extensor muscles straighten the knee, while flexor muscles bend it.

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Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Gastrocnemius

The gastrocnemius is the most well-known and largest muscle of the calf. It originates on both heads of the femur (thigh bones) and inserts on the calcaneus (heel bone). The gastrocnemius muscle is used to flex (bend) the knee, plantarflex (bend up towards your toes) your foot and invert (turn inward) your sole of your foot.

This muscle is a biarticulate, meaning it crosses two joints.

Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Soleus

The soleus is located in the lower leg and is a slow-twitch muscle. It’s used for walking and standing, but not jumping or running. The soleus helps to flex your ankle when you walk, as well as support your weight when you’re standing upright.

The soleus can be targeted with standing calf raises (where you stand on a step) or seated calf raises (where you sit on an exercise ball).

If you’re looking to improve foot strength and balance, try this simple workout: Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent; hold one dumbbell in each hand; raise arms straight out at shoulder height while keeping chest up and back flat; slowly lower arms back down so they are by sides again; repeat 12 times per set.

Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Tibialis anterior

The tibialis anterior, or TA, is a muscle located on the top of your shin, just below your knee. It flexes (bends) your foot and inverts it, which means that it turns the sole of your foot inward.

The TA is important for walking and balance because it helps you lift up on your toes to walk. This muscle also comes in handy when you’re running or climbing stairs or when you’re jumping—all things that help to make sure our balance is kept while we move around.

Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Extensor digitorum longus

The extensor digitorum longus is a muscle of the posterior compartment of the thigh. It can be found on the back of the leg, extending from an area just below your hip to about two-thirds of the way down your shinbone.

This muscle is involved in extending (straightening) your toes when you walk or run, as well as helping you balance while moving around on flat surfaces.

The extensor digitorum longus works together with several other muscles to keep you steady while standing still or walking across uneven terrain; these include:

  • Extensor hallucis longus—located along your outer leg (about halfway between knee and ankle), this muscle extends and flexes (bends) your big toe
  • Flexor hallucis longus—situated about halfway up on your inner leg, it flexes (bends) all five toes

Peroneus brevis and longus muscles

You have two muscles in your lower leg called the peroneus muscles. The peroneus brevis muscle is located on the outside of your ankle, and the peroneus longus muscle is on the inside of your ankle. They help you bend and straighten your foot or toes when you walk, run, or jump.

Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Hamstrings

The hamstrings are located on the back of your thigh. They’re involved in knee flexion and hip extension, which means they’re used when you bend your knees and when you straighten them out again.

This makes them critical to activities like running, deadlifting, kicking and jumping.

Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Quadriceps

The quadriceps are a large muscle group in the thigh, made up of four individual muscles: the rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis and vastus intermedius. These four muscles attach to the femur at different points from each other and from the patella (knee cap).

The quadriceps are responsible for extending the knee joint by straightening it as well as stabilizing it during activities such as walking or running.

Leg Muscle and Strength Without Squats – Sartorius muscle

The sartorius muscle is a long muscle that runs from the anterior superior iliac spine to the medial condyle of the tibia. It acts to flex and rotate the hip joint.

It is innervated by the femoral nerve, which passes through it along with branches of other nerves including those from L2-L3 (iliohypogastric/ilioinguinal), L2-L4 (obturator), S1-S3 (saphenous) and T12-L1 (great saphenous).

The sartorius is involved in one particular test called “cross leg test” where one leg is crossed over another while sitting on an examination table.

The examiner then applies pressure down on top of both knees gently pushing them together while trying to push them apart at same time using both hands; this causes pain if there is tightness in this muscle due to injury or tightness from overuse.

The largest muscle in the body is the gluteus maximus.

The gluteus maximus is a major contributor to the shape of the buttocks and a powerful extensor of the hip joint. It also helps to stabilize the pelvis.


The gluteus minimus muscles are located in the buttocks and are primarily responsible for stabilizing the hip joint. They have also been shown to be involved with hip abduction and internal rotation (movements in which the leg moves away from or inside its own body).

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