By Maurice Bright for Men and Underwear

Ever since I thoroughly injured my knees 2 months ago, I haven’t been in a squat rack since, but I still wanted to maintain my leg size. I’ve adjusted a few exercises in my weekly leg routine and recently found that these 3 exercises in particular have helped me maintain fullness and density below the waist. I’m more than happy to share such moves with you all as well as include my typical approaches 🙂 ~

Fit Corner: 3 go to exercises for leg thickness

  1. Quad curls (aka leg extensions) – I’ve been a fan of quad curls for eons now but didn’t really get deep into programming with them until they replaced barbell squats as my lead off to leg day. Now, quad curls of course hits the quadriceps, but I feel there’s a way you can get more bang for your buck here. When performing quad curls, focus intently on feeling out the movement as the weight ascends and descends with the help of your legs. Rushing through reps with this exercise will amount to less stimulation in my opinion and that’s the exact opposite of the desired. I keep my repetitions high (20-15) and my sets at 4, also be sure to choose a weight that you can manage but challenges you reasonably.
  2. Single leg hamstring curls – These are to be performed on the quad curl (aka leg extension) machine, except you’ll be facing the area that you would usually sit on and curl back with each leg respectively into the pad provided. I feel this move is phenomenal for hitting the hamstrings because of the constant tension and the shortened distance which provides more emphasis to the hamstring itself. With this exercise, I keep my repetitions the highest (30-25) and my sets are tapered at just 3 given such high thresholds. The weight used in this exercise will be very similar to the weight used in quad curls. As you move among each single leg hamstring curl, keep your back as straight as possible and really curl that weight. This is how I get the most out of this particular exercise each Thursday.
  3. Dumbbell squats – I may not be ready to get back into a squat rack but darn it I still want to squat, thus I’ve been living vicariously through dumbbell squats. Dumbbell squats are honestly not as bad as I thought they would be and they even give me more of a “personal” feel when I’m working my legs. This is yet another exercise that I’ve been taking it slow in regards to movement – the repetitions here are not too high (15-12) and run a set of 4 which usually pyramids down to about 10 reps to finish. I perform these with a moderate amount of weight on the dumbbells, nothing too heavy though. Not only does this activity work your legs but it also helps with overall balance, so shoutout to all my clumsy folk out there! Haha.

Maurice Bright is a certified personal trainer, published fitness writer and professional muscle model.