Unlocking Leg Training Secrets: Maximizing Results with Pre-Workout and Exercise Bikes

Pre-Workout and Exercise Bikes
Pre-Workout and Exercise Bikes

Discover how to optimize your leg training routine with the power of pre workout supplements and exercise bikes. From understanding the different muscle groups involved in leg training to exploring the best and most effective exercises, this comprehensive guide provides valuable insights to help you construct a successful leg workout regimen. Unleash the potential of compound exercises like squats and deadlifts, learn the nuances of single-joint exercises, and find out how to increase leg size effectively. Don't miss out on this opportunity to enhance your energy, focus, and performance during workouts while achieving remarkable leg strength and development.

 1- Introduction

In the fitness and bodybuilding realm, leg training is considered the most demanding and sometimes the most neglected.

Let's start by clarifying that the anatomical region commonly referred to as "legs" actually consists of the thighs, which are the anatomical segment between the hips and knees.

It's important to note that there are no "better exercises" in the strict sense of the term, but rather exercises that may be more suitable for a specific purpose, individual, or system. In other words, exercises that are "more effective" in a particular context.

In the following paragraphs, we will try to shed light on "how to choose them" and "why," while also presenting various training principles, with the aim of clarifying as many doubts as possible in constructing a good leg training routine. Pre-workout refers to a supplement taken before exercising to enhance energy, focus, and performance during workouts.

exercise bike
exercise bike

2- Legs: What Do We Mean?

Muscles of the thigh developed through leg training

In common language, the term "legs" is used to refer to the entirety of the lower limbs.

An exercise bike is a stationary cardio machine that simulates cycling, offering a low-impact workout for improving cardiovascular fitness and leg strength.

Moreover, most gym-goers, when they talk about "legs," are actually referring to the thigh rather than the lower leg, which is the anatomical portion between the knee and ankle.

Without further ado, the muscles involved are:

Anterior compartment: sartorius muscle, tensor fasciae latae muscle, quadriceps femoris muscle, and iliopsoas muscle;

Medial compartment: gracilis muscle, external obturator muscle, short adductor muscle, long adductor muscle, and magnus adductor muscle;

Posterior compartment: biceps femoris muscle, semitendinosus muscle, and semimembranosus muscle.

3- Best and Most Effective Exercises

What are the best exercises for legs?

In the context of natural fitness and bodybuilding, when we talk about "training," we primarily refer to a parallel increase in strength and hypertrophy (increase in muscle cross-sectional area).

reformer pilates

As we will see below, in reality, there are no truly "better" or even fundamental exercises, but rather some that are more suitable than others. Therefore, if you know that you cannot perform certain movements, don't get discouraged; read this article until the end. Reformer Pilates is a form of exercise that utilizes a specialized machine called a reformer to perform a variety of controlled movements, focusing on core strength, flexibility, and overall body toning.

Here is a brief summary of the best exercises for leg (thigh) development.

Compound Exercises

Squats: back squat, free squat, regular squat, with a barbell

In simple terms, it involves squatting with a load on your back.

Squats are highly complex exercises that require ankle mobility, hip mobility, and a certain balance of strength between the thighs, glutes, back (entire), and abdomen.

The knees should be healthy and stable, and it is also important that the plantar support of the feet shows no significant defects.

Shoulder mobility is also crucial as it allows for proper management of the barbell on the back (between C7 and the posterior deltoid).

Lastly, but certainly not least, is the technical execution. Squats cannot be improvised, and the movement should be learned and refined without a load after being evaluated in terms of functionality. This includes diaphragmatic breathing and core stability.

The most common mistakes include feet too close or too wide apart, bouncing during descent, hyperextending the knees, leaning forward or backward (in the push, rising with the buttocks first and then the torso), pushing on the forefoot or heel, and looking down.

It is important to remember that squats do not necessarily harm the back; they can be harmful in the case of severe pathologies, but sometimes they can even be therapeutic when lumbago is not related to them.

For thigh development, squats can also be performed to parallel; it is not necessary to go beyond that, let alone have the "butt to the ground."

home gym
home gym

The good news is that even with limited ankle mobility, it is still possible to perform a good squat for the quadriceps (flexion between 70 and 100°). The bad news, however, is that incomplete squats can stress the knee more than deep squats. A home gym is a setup that allows you to exercise and perform various workouts from the comfort of your own home, typically consisting of fitness equipment such as weights, cardio machines, and resistance bands.

Deadlift: conventional deadlift, regular deadlift, with a barbell

It is the safest and most efficient movement for lifting a heavy load off the ground.

The deadlift is not a specific exercise for the thighs; it involves the glutes and the entire back in a very important way.

The more upright the starting position is, the greater the load on the front thighs. That's why, like the squat, sometimes the deadlift is performed with an incomplete range of motion - by placing platforms under the weight plates.

Also, by widening the legs and opening the feet (approximately 30° or slightly more) - Sumo style - the stimulus on the thighs increases, with emphasis on the adductors.

On the other hand, the straight-legged deadlift minimizes quad activation while effectively targeting the leg flexors (especially the hamstrings), glutes, and back.

The most common mistakes in the deadlift are: holding the barbell too far away or too close to the shins, losing back support, incorrect breathing, pushing off the forefoot or heel, and looking down.

Leg press: horizontal or at a 45° angle

The leg press is the most useful isotonic machine when squatting or deadlifting is not possible. It allows for medium to high repetitions and working with one leg at a time.

The exercise involves pushing, in a seated position, with the feet on a sliding platform with variable resistance. The position of the lower limbs in terms of width, height, and foot placement may vary depending on the goal.

Unlike the squat and deadlift, the leg press should never involve the maximum range of motion. Bringing the knees too close to the chest leads to an uncomfortable backward tilt of the pelvis. This is the most common mistake - and responsible for lower back pain - along with knee hyperextension and cheating (using arm support on the thighs to complete the last reps).

Compared to the other two exercises, the leg press requires less stabilization and appears to be generally safer. However, it doesn't guarantee safety in all cases.

Since the leg press gives a sense of security, it often encourages users to train without proper knowledge. Technical errors are probably more frequent in the leg press compared to the squat and deadlift.


There are many types of lunges: with dumbbells or a barbell, walking or stationary, alternating or not, backward or lateral.

The lunge movement should not be underestimated. This is because it involves a significant balance component, carries the risk of performing different reps on each side, induces high overall fatigue, and presents notable joint challenges - such as knee stress.


Every type of lunge stimulates the legs in different ways. The first major difference lies in the execution with dumbbells and barbells; dumbbells allow for bending the torso forward, benefiting the load on the glutes and the stability of the back. On the contrary, using a barbell requires a certain verticality, with greater emphasis on the quadriceps and, unfortunately, significant spinal instability - which, with heavy loads, is often compressed in a "wrong way."

Lateral lunges, comfortably performed with the use of kettlebells (goblet style), emphasize the use of abductors and adductors. P90X is a popular home workout program that combines intense strength training, cardio, and flexibility exercises through a series of structured workout routines, aiming to improve overall fitness levels.

Front lunges stress the knees more than reverse lunges, and even more so when performed in place.

However, the muscle emphasis can vary greatly based on the length of the stride and the depth of the descent.

The most common mistakes are: taking steps that are too short, with the knee extending too far beyond the foot, taking steps that are too long, with the knee remaining too far behind the foot, and incomplete descent.

Bulgarian Split Squat or Lunge

It is a movement that lies between a squat, with a similar joint flexion, and a lunge, with a similar single-leg and balance component.

It is probably the most useful bodyweight multi-joint exercise for training one limb at a time.

The non-working leg is placed behind the body on an elevation (bench, chair, steps).


It allows for a significant increase in training load with low external weights, usually using dumbbells.

The most common mistake is incorrect distance from the rear elevation. If it's insufficient, the knee excessively extends beyond the supporting foot. If it's excessive, the knee remains too far back. Rowing machine workouts involve using a rowing machine, also known as an ergometer, to engage multiple muscle groups simultaneously, providing a full-body workout while improving cardiovascular endurance.

Single-joint Exercises

Leg Extension

It involves extending the leg, secured on a stop connected to a resistance.

It serves to develop the quadriceps femoris with emphasis on the vastus medialis, vastus lateralis, and vastus intermedius.

The most common mistake is poor adjustment of the stop or backrest, and cheating by using other muscles to complete the last reps.

Contrary to popular belief, leg extensions are not harmless and can cause discomfort in certain knee pathologies.

Leg Curl

It involves flexing the leg at the thigh.

It can be performed lying prone or standing, with the foot resting against the "Achilles tendon" level on the stop, which is connected to a resistance.

It primarily develops the hamstring muscles, but stimulates all the hamstring muscles.

The most common mistakes are poor adjustment of the pad, bouncing in maximum knee hyperextension, and excessive use of the glutes and back in reps to failure.

Adductions: Cable or Machine

Cable or machine adductions are specific exercises for developing the adductor muscles - inner thigh.

They are widely practiced exercises, but unfortunately, not always executed correctly. They require careful movement and composure, even though they are not particularly fatiguing exercises.

The most common mistakes are insufficient joint range of motion and the tendency to use the entire body for momentum. An exercise machine is any equipment designed for physical exercise, such as treadmills, ellipticals, or weight machines, offering targeted workouts for specific muscle groups or overall fitness.

4- Frequently Asked Questions

How many times can legs be trained?

Legs can be trained multiple times within a microcycle, depending on the system we intend to use.

When training to failure, it is difficult to stimulate the legs more than twice within a microcycle. In fact, in these cases, usually a "main" workout and a "secondary" workout are planned - more than just a simple activation.

On the contrary, when training with a buffer, it may be possible to train the legs up to three times within a microcycle with a certain level of muscle stress uniformity.

Workout machines refer to a wide range of fitness equipment designed to facilitate different types of exercises and target specific muscle groups, aiding in strength training, cardiovascular conditioning, or overall fitness improvement.

The important thing is that, within the same microcycle, at least a dozen sets can be performed (we will explain how many sets are "needed" below).

But how long should a microcycle last? 99% of people believe that a microcycle must necessarily be 7 days long. This is quite a "useless" assumption.

In fact, the duration of a microcycle can be contracted or expanded, managed as any other parameter. If we find it ideal for our subjectivity to work on a 10-day unit, why not do it?

How many sets and repetitions for legs?

The repetitions should be determined in relation to intensity, time under tension, and rest periods.

Let's start with intensity. When focusing on strength, the intensity should be between 80% and 100%. The number of repetitions will naturally follow, ranging between 7-8 (subjective) and 1. Workout clothes are specialized garments designed to provide comfort, flexibility, and breathability during physical activities, including activities like sports, exercise, or gym workouts.

By increasing the time under tension, the repetitions will decrease further. Higher time under tension is more reasonable for single-joint exercises or, at most, leg presses. It also makes more sense to use them at intensities around 80%, not much higher (and it will already be quite a challenge).

Regarding rest periods, everyone has their own opinion. By reducing them, the number of repetitions obviously decreases as well. However, currently, the trend is to prioritize the number of repetitions, especially in high-intensity training.

Traditional bodybuilders, on the other hand, in certain periods of the year, still enjoy "gushing" lactic acid from every pore by reducing rest periods to 60-90 seconds - again, especially in single-joint exercises.

If the goal is to express strength, many argue that rest periods can be "free" (or at least 3 minutes).

Now let's talk about sets. When training to failure, about 12 sets within a microcycle could be sufficient.

If we work with a buffer and not excessively high intensity, we have the opportunity to focus more on volume, accumulating a high workload, comfortably reaching 15 or even 18 sets within a microcycle.

However, it is always advisable to start the "reasoning" from the repetitions. Orangetheory is a fitness studio franchise that offers high-intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts, combining cardiovascular and strength exercises to optimize calorie burn and increase fitness levels.

What should be done to increase leg size?

To increase leg size, all you have to do is "push."

pre workout
pre workout

Please forgive the simplification of the concept, but ultimately, the majority of resistance to thigh growth comes from the inability to tolerate sufficient training loads. The term "best pre workout" typically refers to highly regarded pre-workout supplements that are known for their effectiveness in boosting energy, focus, endurance, and overall performance during workouts

Especially when utilizing compound exercises, what often happens is that general fatigue plays a greater role than localized fatigue.

Squats and deadlifts, in particular, recruit the majority of large muscle groups in the body. This means that between sets, they may require much longer recovery times compared to a leg extension or leg curl.

By not respecting this need, it is often difficult to maintain high loads. As a result, intensity remains unchanged or even decreases. Strength does not improve, and neither does hypertrophy.

How long should legs be trained to see results?

If done correctly, leg training yields results very quickly.

Furthermore, unlike other muscle groups, the thighs show a much higher potential for improvement due to the greater number and average size of the muscles involved. Resistance bands are elastic bands of varying thickness and resistance levels, used to add resistance to exercises, increase muscle strength, improve flexibility, and assist with rehabilitation.

Some hypothesize that it takes at least "x" months. But the truth is that it depends on many factors, primarily subjectivity, and secondly, undoubtedly, the speed at which we reach a truly challenging stimulus.

The initial period is always dedicated to initial conditioning for safety. Skipping this phase would be imprudent. However, this does not mean "working less," as the less you work, the slower the preparatory conditioning for high intensities will be. Exercise refers to physical activity performed to improve or maintain overall health, fitness, and well-being, encompassing a wide range of activities such as cardio, strength training, flexibility exercises, and sports.

5- What Not to Do Absolutely

The most common mistake: training muscles instead of movement

It is normal for "aesthetic" training to aim to target certain areas with as much precision as possible over others.

However, it should not be forgotten that these areas are always composed of multiple muscles, which also usually perform more than one motor function.

Rather than the name, it is important to understand the relationship between strength capabilities, other functions, and aesthetic impact. 

This is because, even though they may seem insignificant in terms of strength expression in the so-called "fundamental" exercises or aesthetically insignificant, all the commonly ignored muscles are instead essential for stabilization, mobility, and contributing to the overall movement in a broad sense.

Let's take the iliopsoas as an example. Despite playing a highly important functional role (hip flexion, along with the rectus femoris and sartorius), it does not have a true aesthetic role and is not significantly targeted by isolation exercises such as leg curls and leg extensions. Abs workouts specifically target the abdominal muscles through various exercises such as crunches, planks, and leg raises, aiming to strengthen and tone the core for improved stability and aesthetics.

However, during the execution of squats and deadlifts, a painful, weak, short, or tight iliopsoas would dramatically limit performance, thus preventing effective stimulation of the target muscles - not to mention the associated health issues.

Therefore, the first rule to follow in leg training is to focus more on the movement of the muscle in order to strengthen the "invisible" areas, avoiding creating future limitations in training and, consequently, growth.

The second most common mistake: believing that certain exercises are irreplaceable, regardless of one's functional anatomy

There is no exercise that, no matter how useful and effective, can be considered "truly fundamental."

This definition, used mainly for squats, bench presses, and pull-ups, seeks to emphasize the utility of these exercises in strength and hypertrophy development. A workout is a physical training session or routine that involves performing exercises or activities to improve or maintain physical fitness, encompassing a combination of cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and flexibility work.

But what if we couldn't perform them due to anatomical defects, injuries, or functional limitations? Should we give up? Certainly not!

Our potential for improvement in hypertrophy and strength would remain virtually unchanged. Staying on the topic of "legs," the exclusion of squats - as emotionally painful as it may be - would leave room for exercises such as deadlifts, leg press machines, and lunges - in all their variations.

How many workouts per day?

The number of workouts per day depends on various factors, including your fitness level, goals, time availability, and overall recovery ability. Generally, most people find it sufficient to engage in one workout session per day. This allows for adequate rest and recovery between workouts, giving your body time to repair and rebuild muscles. However, some individuals, such as professional athletes or those following specific training programs, may incorporate multiple workouts per day with proper planning and supervision. It's important to listen to your body, prioritize quality over quantity, and consult with a fitness professional or trainer for personalized guidance.