10 Best Compound Leg Exercises (with Pictures)
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A well-known lifting adage states that the word “legendary” cannot be spelled without the term “leg day.”

Whether you are a novice, intermediate, or advanced lifter, your leg training sessions will always be important in deciding how your body will appear and perform.

If you don’t want to fall victim to the chicken leg syndrome, you’ll have to rely on compound leg lifts.

Lifting those weights not only builds lower body musculature but also keeps your body anabolic. These exercises are an essential component of your leg workout sessions.

In this post, we will show you some of the most efficient compound lifts for legs that will drastically improve your lower body growth. Without further ado,

10 Leg Compound Exercises10 Best Compound Leg Exercises (with Pictures)

Compound workouts, without a doubt, provide the best bang for your money in terms of increasing strength and growth. Compound exercises, on the other hand, tend to stimulate larger muscular groups like the quadriceps the most.

Let’s have a look at some of the best compound leg workouts you can do to develop your legs to their full potential.


Squats are frequently regarded as the apex of all complex leg workouts. This is due to the fact that they are functional and target various muscle groups. Squats are unquestionably unpleasant, but they are also quite effective.

Why is it significant?

Squats, in addition to working your lower body, have a significant impact on your upper body’s musculature.

This is due to the fact that squats promote the release of HGH and testosterone, which keeps your body in an anabolic state for muscular growth.

Squats are one of the best exercises for increasing strength and size. That is why squats are included in the workout routines of some of the world’s strongest and best-built men.

If you want to create tree trunk legs, squats should be an essential part of your leg workout routine.


  • Begin with your back to the barbell and your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Step beneath the barbell and lay it on your traps and shoulders, your hands on either side of the barbell.
  • Return to your starting position by pointing your toes outward.
  • Inhale deeply, flex your core, squeeze your glutes, and squat down until your quadriceps are parallel to the floor or less. Make sure your back is straight.
  • Return to the beginning position by pushing the ground with your heels.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.
  • When you’re finished, proceed to the squat rack and secure the barbell to the safety pins.

Squat Sumo

Sumo squats are a type of squat variant. They are, however, more effective in targeting muscle regions that aren’t always adequately addressed when executing standard squats.

Why is it significant?

Sumo squats not only work your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, but they also help to develop the adductor muscles in your thighs.

So, if your inner quads lack the musculature you desire, sumo squats are one of the best leg complex workouts for you.

You must keep your upper body erect when performing the sumo squat. This, in turn, engages your core muscles and gives your abdominal a nice workout.


  • Begin by standing under the barbell with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  • Now, raise the barbell and take a step back.
  • Place the barbell on your shoulders and traps. Use a wide grip on the barbell.
  • Then, place your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and point your toes outwards.
  • Inhale and squat down, keeping your spine neutral, until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • When completing the squat, do not lean forward. Squat with your buttocks out.
  • Finally, push through your heels to raise your body back up. Make sure your knees are not locked out in this position.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.



If squats are the indisputable monarch of all compound leg exercises, then deadlifts are the undisputed prince.

Whether you intend to follow a strength-building training regimen or a mass-gaining fitness program, deadlifts will undoubtedly be included in both.

Deadlifts are also quite functional because raising a hefty weight off the floor is something we frequently have to accomplish.

Why is it significant?

Deadlifts work on training your posterior chain as well as your lower body muscles. Deadlifting also helps to improve your overall strength levels.

The presence of leg propulsion makes the deadlift one of the most popular compound leg exercises. A great deadlift works your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.


  • Put a barbell with weights on the ground.
  • Stand with your mid-foot beneath the barbell and your feet hip-width apart.
  • Inhale and bend forward, maintaining your back straight and your knees bent, while keeping your chest out and lats active.
  • Maintain a shoulder-width grip on the barbell. You have the option of using a pronated or mixed grip (one hand pronated and one hand supinated).
  • Exhale as you push the barbell off the ground with your leg drive until your upper body is erect.
  • Maintain this stance by flexing your glutes and lower back.
  • Return to the starting position slowly, maintaining your eyes forward at all times.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.


Deadlift in Romania

The performance of a Romanian deadlift resembles that of a standard deadlift. However, they are rather different. Romanian deadlifts focus mostly on the hamstrings.

So, if you’re seeking for complex activities for legs that excite the hamstrings more, Romanian deadlifts are the most bang for your dollars.

Why is it significant?

Romanian deadlifts also aid in the development and strengthening of the gluteus maximus, erector spinae, and adductors.

RDLs effectively train your posterior chain and improve hip mobility and flexibility. This, in turn, protects you against a variety of potential injuries caused by stiffness in your posterior chain.


  • Place your mid-foot beneath the barbell, maintaining your feet hip-width apart.
  • Now take a pronated hold on the barbell. Maintain a hand breadth that is slightly wider than your hip width.
  • Raise the barbell until your body is straight.
  • Push your hips back and bend down until the barbell is just below your knee height. Maintain a straight spine at all times.
  • At this time, you should feel a powerful stretch in your hamstrings.
  • Return to the starting position by using leg drive.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.

Squat Hack

Hack squats were regarded as one of the most rewarding compound leg exercises by bodybuilders like as Tom Platz and Jay Cutler.

Hack squats are still an important exercise in the workout routines of many top bodybuilders because they produce enormous quads when performed with strict form.

Why is it significant?

Hack squats focus more on your quadriceps. If you want to build sweeping quads, hack squats can help you get there.

Among all the leg complex exercises, hack squats are a movement that allows you to raise a significant amount of weight without injuring your body.


  • Fill the hack squat machine with the weight you want to use.
  • Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the hack squat machine and press your shoulders and back into the pads.
  • Squat down until your thighs make a 90-degree angle with your calves, then release the safety handles. You can even squat lower if your bodily mobility allows.
  • Return to the starting position by pressing the platform with your heels using leg propulsion. Maintain a small bend in your knees.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.

Leg Extensions

Leg press takes first place on the list of the finest compound movements for legs. By varying the width of your foot location on the leg press, you can exercise different parts of your quads.

Why is it significant?

Leg presses, unlike squats, do not require you to balance the weight. So, when you do a leg press, you can focus more on training your quads and developing a stronger mind-muscle connection with them.


  • Begin by putting your chosen weight on the leg press machine.
  • Then lie on it with your feet on the platform in front of you. Maintain a hip-width distance between your feet.
  • Deeply inhale, then lower the platform until your upper legs are perpendicular to your lower legs. You can go lower than that if your physical mobility allows.
  • Exhale as you press the platform up. Make sure your knees are not locked out.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.

Squat Smith Machine

A smith machine squat is a less dangerous alternative to a traditional barbell squat. If you are a beginner and are unsure of your squatting form, you can integrate this exercise into your compound leg routines.

Why is it significant?

A smith machine squat, like a regular squat, primarily works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes. It also helps you improve your squatting form.


  • Begin by placing the barbell slightly below your shoulder level. The safety stops should be set just above your knee height.
  • Place the barbell on your upper back and shoulders and go under it. Hold it firmly with your hands on either side.
  • Remove the safety hooks from the barbell by spinning it with your hands.
  • Inhale deeply and squat, keeping your back straight and your hips pushed back until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Return to the starting position by pushing with your heels. At this point, exhale. Make sure to flex your quads for maximum pleasure.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.

Squat with a Goblet

If you are a complete beginner and wish to acquire proper squatting form and technique, goblet squats might be of great assistance.

Because the goblet squat demands you to hold a weight in front of your chest, you will not be pinned down by the weight.

Why is it significant?

A goblet squat allows you to exercise your quads in their full range of motion. It also puts very minimal tension on your back. Goblet squats can help to enhance hip and ankle mobility.


  • Hold a dumbbell at chest level with both hands on either side of the dumbbell.
  • Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed outwards.
  • Inhale deeply and squat down until your thighs are parallel or slightly below parallel to the floor, maintaining your back straight and core firm.
  • Return to the starting position by using leg drive and pushing with your heels. At this point, exhale.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.

Why is it significant?

The barbell glute bridge not only works your glutes, but it also works your quads and hamstrings. Its use also helps to improve your lower back strength and core stability.


  • Lie down on your back with your face up.
  • Place a barbell right where your hips bend. Wrap a pad around the barbell to cushion the weight.
  • Bend your knees to 90 degrees and aim them to the ceiling.
  • Place your hands on either side of the barbell and your feet flat on the floor.
  • Push your hips upwards with your heels while keeping your head and shoulders in the same position. Continue to press until your body is in a straight line from your shoulders to your hips.
  • Squeeze your glutes and hold this position for 1-2 seconds.
  • Return to the starting position by lowering yourself carefully.
  • Rep until you’ve completed the required amount of sets and reps.


Lunges are a unilateral compound leg workout. Their execution necessitates autonomous leg training. So, if one quad is slightly more developed than the other, lunges can assist you get rid of that issue.

Why is it significant?

Lunges must be a key component of your compound leg routines.

Lunges train your gluteus maximus in addition to your quads and hams. Overall, they provide your lower body muscles a tremendous workout.


  • Place your feet hip-width apart.
  • Put your hands on each side of your waist. Dumbbells can also be held in each hand.
  • Now take a step forward that is longer than your normal walking stride. Your front leg would be in front of you, and your back leg would be behind you.
  • Bend your front foot until it makes a 90-degree angle with your calves, while keeping your front foot flat on the floor.
  • At this point, keep your back straight and your core taut. Your gaze must be directed ahead.
  • Then, using your front foot’s leg drive, return to the starting position.
  • Repeat the process with the opposite leg.
  • Complete the required number of sets and reps.

Last Words

Leg workouts’ effectiveness is directly proportionate to their intensity. However, you must exercise caution to avoid overtraining your body. Before committing your body to a high-intensity workout plan, consider your fitness goals and training experience.

The complex leg exercises discussed in this post can help you get the lower body gains you’ve always desired. Simply incorporating a handful of them into your leg routines will reap the rewards.