5 Exercises for Shredded Legs

5 Exercises for Shredded Legs

Get Shredded Legs with these 5 Exercises

Shredded legs are what separate the men from the boys. You should always aim to have strong and muscular wheels, as your legs are the foundation of your body, they are quite literally the base. While legs are one of the most important muscles to train, many people around the world skip training them.

You need a combination of compound and isolation exercises in your workouts to take your wheels to the next level. Time under tension, volume and intensity play a major role in developing your legs.

What About Squats?

RitFit Power Cage is a heavy-duty and stable rack with 12 variable positions to allow for many big lifts.

I know what you’re thinking, “just squat.” While the squat is an absolutely fantastic exercise, there are many things that can prohibit you from throwing these into your training plan. For example, complications from injuries can make squatting difficult. You also may not be comfortable squatting, and that is more than okay. There are more exercises that can be done to build your legs.

Let’s dive in.

Hack Squats – 3 Sets 15 Reps

Hack squats are one of the most underutilized exercises when it comes to leg training. The hack squat machine helps you to tweak your movement to target your quads from different angles. It is a staple movement in many pro bodybuilder training regimens.

Arnold Schwarzenegger in his book ‘Encyclopedia of Bodybuilding’ said that you are supposed to maintain a full range of motion while performing the hack squats. Place your feet under your body and push your knees forward on the negative motion. Pause at the bottom of the movement and explode back to the starting position.

The “Quadfather”, Tom Platz who had some of the best legs on the planet, also loved to do his hack squats on his leg day. He had a more unique form on this movement however, taking somewhat of a “sissy” stance. Platz would keep his heels together to put all of the stress on his quads. Let’s be honest, if a guy with legs like that swears by a certain movement, chances are it works fairly well.

Leg Extensions – 3 Sets 15, 12, 10 Reps

Believe it or not, most people perform the leg extensions incorrectly. They load the extension machine with more weights than they can handle. This results in them performing cheat reps, meaning they use momentum and even jerking movements to lift the weights, recruiting more muscles than just the quads to complete the exercise. The most effective way of doing the leg extensions is to pause for a couple of seconds at the top of the movement.

The positive movement should take one second, hold the weights on the contraction for two seconds, take four seconds on the negative movement and take no rest by racking the weights at the starting point. This exercise is an isolation movement, meaning you should get a nice mind-muscle connection going, and all of the pressure should be on your quads and you get a nice squeeze at the end of the movement.

Good Mornings – 4 Sets 8 Reps

Since your hamstrings are at the back of your legs, it is typically harder to train and develop them as compared to your quads. It also becomes harder to establish a mind-muscle connection with your hams since they are not in front of you, and you can’t see them in the mirror. You can see many people have beautiful quads, but then lackluster hamstrings, it just doesn’t look right.

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Good mornings are a hard exercise to execute and you need to keep the movement slow and controlled to get the best results. If you perform the good morning in a squat rack, set-up safety bars at your belly button level and bend until the barbell touches the safety bars.

When you do good mornings, do not overdo it on the weight. Too much weight will put a lot of pressure on your lower back. Remember, we are building shredded legs here, so keep the focus on those tree trunks in the making.

Nordic Hamstring Curls – 3 Sets 15 Reps

There is a pretty good chance that you might not have ever seen anybody perform the Nordic hamstring curls exercise in your gym. Nordic hamstring curls can set your hamstrings on fire and you will need a spotter if you have weak hams. Every muscle fiber in your hamstrings will be screaming by the end of this, if you perform them correctly.

The lat pulldown machine is the best place to perform this exercise. Put your ankles between the knee pads and the seat and place your knees on the seats. Bend your back so it is parallel to the floor. This will be your starting position. Lower yourself using your hamstrings without moving your back, so your face is 8-10 inches away from the floor.

Cannonball Squats – 3 Sets 15, 12, 10 Reps

Perform the squats at the end of your workouts when your legs are completely exhausted. This way you won’t have to lift super heavy weights and your legs will be warmed up so you will have a better range of motion.

While performing the cannonball squats, you need to stand with the balls of your feet placed together and your toes facing outwards. The cannonball squats is a compound exercise which helps in developing the inner sweep of your quads.

Ivan performing squats with a cannonball stance on a Smith Machine

You can do these on a Smith Machine, bodyweight, or even with a barbell.

Big Legs at Home?

If you are looking to build some big legs but do not want to step foot in the gym just yet, or it works better for you to lift at home, you will need some good home gym equipment, or even just a solid rack to do so. While it would take hours for us to dive into each piece of equipment we would recommend you to put in your house, we can mention a nice squat rack for you.

RitFit Power Cage

Our top recommendation for good rack would be the RitFit Power Cage. While you may not be able to do each of the exact exercises we recommended, you certainly can get some good leg workouts in with this piece of equipment.

RitFit Power Cage holds up to 1,000 lbs. with two steel and durable uprights. Heavy duty and stable, this rack allows for 12 variable positions so you can lift freely and enjoy those big lifts. The option for a lat pull down system is also great for those added exercises and you will handle all your lifting needs with this power cage.

RitFit Power Cage is a heavy-duty and stable rack with 12 variable positions to allow for many big lifts.


  • Durable and sturdy power rack
  • 12 positions allows for many exercises
  • Plate holders work well and are high-quality


  • Some quality control needs were reported with certain pieces of the product

Price: $639.99

Shredded Legs Wrap Up

Overall, there are a lot of exercises to build big, shredded legs. While squats certainly are a great leg builder, many times people will look for alternatives. These were our favorite exercises for big legs.

Which is your favorite leg exercise? Let us know in the comments below. Also, be sure to follow Generation Iron on Facebook and Twitter.

Dylan Wolf
I work mainly in content writing, focusing my free time on bodybuilding and strength sports. I was introduced to fitness in high school and after watching Generation Iron movies. I love to train. I have competed multiple times, even winning a junior title in classic physique. I have a bachelor's in criminal justice and business obtained through Alvernia University. When I am not focused on work or training, I enjoy watching films or reading about anything and everything.