penny barnshaw garage fitness girl

Leg Muscle Anatomy, and How to Strengthen your Legs


You know the old saying, “Never skip leg day”? Well, there’s good reason for it. The legs have many different muscles that can be worked through various exercises to give you strength and tone, and help balance out your overall fitness.

I personally never skip leg day because having more muscle means I’m stronger and burn more fat during the course of the day, particularly when the legs have muscles that are among the largest in the body. Also, I like to get that balance with a strong upper and lower body.

We all have the same main leg muscles: quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves.


Your quadriceps are on the front of your leg above the knee. They actually consist of four muscles: The Rectus Femoris, the Vastus Lateralis, the Vastus Medialias and the Vastus Intermedius.

Strengthening the quads can really improve the overall look of your legs. Training quads will also help give you greater independence as you age, and improve the stability of your kneecap and protect your knee joint from injury.

The Best Quad Exercises for Building Muscle

In no particular order, some of the best quad exercises you can do include:

✔️Front squats

✔️Pistol squats

✔️Heel elevated goblet squats

✔️Heel elevated back squats

✔️Rear foot elevated split squats


The hamstrings are at the back of the leg, you can think of them as below the butt and above the knee, however each hamstring crosses two joints – the hip and the knee. Hamstrings consist of four smaller muscles: The long head of the Biceps Femoris, the short head of the Biceps Femoris, the Semitendinosus, and the Semimebranosus.

The Best Hamstring Exercises for Building Muscle

In no particular order, some of the best hamstring exercises you can do include:

✔️Romanian Deadlifts.

✔️Bulgarian Split Squats.

✔️Lying Leg Curls.

✔️Kettlebell Swings.

✔️Back Squat.


The glutes, otherwise known as your butt muscles, are super important for proper pelvic alignment, proper propulsion when walking and running, and they even support the lower back during lifting. Stong glutes also look good!

The glute muscles consist of 3 smaller muscle groups: the Gluteus Maximus, the Gluteus Medius, and the Gluteus Minimus.

The Best Glute Exercises for Building Muscle

Once again not in any order, some of the best glute exercises include:

✔️Back Squat

✔️Glute Bridge

✔️Sumo Deadlifts

✔️Lateral Lunge

✔️Goblet Squats


Thank goodness we aren’t skipping the calves! Strong calves help build a strong, healthy and balanced body; do not be afraid to train them! For the calf to have the appearance of tapering, there has to be a bit of muscle size to the calves. Having strong calves will also help you to run faster, if that’s your thing!

Your calves are comprised of two muscles: The Gastrocnemius and the Soleus.

The Best Calf Exercises for Building Muscle

Some great calf exercises you can do to build muscle include:

✔️Box Jumps

✔️Calf Raises

✔️Box Step-Ups

✔️Jumping Rope

✔️Jumping Jacks

Super Effective Leg Workouts to Try

One good thing about legs is that you can really work them hard in a short amount of time. My Killer Legs Workout is only 30 minutes and will work your hamstrings, quads, glutes and calves, with no repeat exercises!

Got a bit more time and feel brave? Try my 60 minute Lean Legs and Glutes Workout to help you build a round booty and gain leg strength in the comfort of your own home.

That’s it for my post all about the legs! I hope you got something from it.

Don’t forget to follow me on YouTube so you never miss one of my follow-along workouts, I upload new workouts each week! You can also sign up to my newsletter to stay up-to-date and receive my free monthly workout calendars. 

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