8 Best Exercises For Stronger Legs (You’re Not Doing)

8 Best Exercises For Stronger Legs (You’re Not Doing)

Looking for some amazing leg exercises to take your training to the next level? 

Then you’ll love these 8 lower body exercises I’ll share in this video!

These moves take those fundamental movements and add a little twist to the basics to help you progress through not just adding loads but also different types of tension, different loading placements, different bases of support and even different ranges of motion. 

There are so many ways to vary moves to match our specific needs and goals. With these tweaks you can even impact how much you are using specific muscles involved.

And it’s key we find different ways to progress, especially the longer we’ve been training! 

Hey guys, it’s Cori from Redefining Strength where we help you feel, look and move your best at any and every age.

While we are never above the basics, and should always return to them, we can make little tweaks to movements to keep our training fresh and interesting while creating progression in new and different ways. 

Especially the longer we’ve been training, the more we have to explore different options to create that progression and drive muscle growth.

These movement variations can also be fun as we get older to not just beat our bodies up by trying to force heavier loads or even to help us when we’ve hit a stickpoint with the weights we can move during a specific movement.

That’s why I wanted to share 8 amazing lower body exercises that create progression in different ways!

Move #1: Cable Step Up 

Step ups are a great unilateral leg exercise to help you strengthen each side independently to correct imbalances.

And while they work your entire leg, you can make them more glute intensive by changing how you load them down. 

By using a cable anchored down low to apply resistance to the movement, you can emphasize the resistance on the drive up, helping you to even better activate that glute on your working side. 

Hold a cable in one hand on the same side as the foot you’ve put on the bench. Focus on that push through that foot on the bench to drive up to standing as if a string was pulling you up by your head. 

That focus on the drive with the resistance of the cable will make you feel that glute working even more!

To modify this move, lower the bench or box. 

To make it even more glute intensive, use a higher box and even start on top only lowering down till your toe grazes the ground! 

Move #2: Staggered Stance Squat 

Squats are an important movement pattern to train. The more you learn to control that squatting movement, the more you can keep your knees and hips healthy and happy!

The Staggered Stance Squat variation puts an emphasis on each side independently without creating as much instability as a full single leg or pistol squat. 

Because your feet are staggered with your back foot back at the instep of your front foot and the heel raised, you are making one side work harder while also reducing the impact that your ankle mobility can have on your squat depth. 

Limited ankle dorsiflexion, or the ability to draw our toes up toward our shins, can lead to us not being able to squat as deep AND even putting more stress and strain on our knees as all of our weight shifts forward during a squat.

So this variation may be the tweak you need!

Just make sure you are lifting the heel of the foot staggered back and focusing your weight on that fully planted leg.

Do not stagger the foot too far back though and turn this into more of a lunge. 

You can progress this move by adding weights, even making it more core intensive by holding a dumbbell or kettlebell for a goblet squat, or you can modify this move by limiting the range of motion and sitting down to a bench or box.

Move #3: Double Banded Hip Thrusters

Hip Thrusters are a must-do move if you want to build strong glutes. 

But the barbell can be difficult to work with at times. 

And sometimes you want a variation more meant to be that accessory exercises after your lift to create that pump and burn while targeting your glute medius more.

That’s the beauty of the double banded hip thrusters. 

Not only will this move work your glute max, but the mini band around your legs will also really target your glute medius to improve your hip stability. 

The band over your hips, which is easiest to anchor off of j-hooks in a rig or squat rack, applies even more resistance as well at the top of the movement when your glutes are the strongest. 

Just make sure you really drive out against the mini band as you drive up against the resistance band. You want to fully extend your hips, while maintaining a posterior pelvic tilt to better engage your glutes and prevent yourself from arching your lower back and compensating.

Move #4: Deficit Split Squat 

Changing up the range of motion of a movement can impact the benefit we get from it. 

We can limit the range of motion to spend more time under tension or we can increase the range of motion to increase the challenge while also helping to improve our mobility and stability.

With the Deficit Split Squat, you are increasing the range of motion to help you strengthen your quads, hamstrings and glutes, but also improve your hip flexibility and mobility.

This is also a great way to vary up the Bulgarian Split Squat or Balance Lunge we often turn to, putting the emphasis on lifting up that front foot to increase the range of motion we move through. 

Just make sure you actually lower all the way down using that full range of motion. 

If you lift your front foot up but do not lunge any deeper, you aren’t getting the extra benefit of the range of motion. 

To advance this move, you can not only increase the height of what you’re standing on but also add loads.

And if you are just starting out, you can actually LIMIT the range of motion of the split squat as well to learn to control it by placing a block under your knee to help you learn to control the range of motion you have currently. 

Move #5: Landmine Band Deadlift

Deadlifts, or a hip hinge of some form, should be included in almost everyone’s workout routine at some point.

While deadlifts so often get demonized for causing lower back pain, learning to control the hip hinge properly can actually help you AVOID lower back issues as you get older. 

They are an amazing exercise to build that posterior chain and strengthen your glutes and hamstrings.

You can further target these muscles, and even force yourself to slow down the movement, while progressing it, by using two types of resistance – both bands and a barbell – like in the Landmine Band Deadlift. 

The fixed anchor of the barbell can also be helpful as it prevents the weights from drifting forward and away from your body like they can in a traditional deadlift which is also what can lead to lower back overload.

The band applies more tension at the top of the deadlift to work the glutes even more and forces you to slow down the eccentric portion of the movement, or the lowering down of the deadlift to really work those hamstrings. 

This is a great variation to improve your muscle hypertrophy without you trying to force a heavier load you aren’t yet ready to include.

And if you don’t have a landmine, you implement two types of resistances using dumbbells instead! 

Move #6: Bench Supported Single Leg Deadlift

While many of us don’t like the awkwardness of balance moves, like the single leg deadlift, especially because we can’t use as heavy a weight, they are key to include.

Working on that mind-body connection to improve our balance is key to help us avoid injury as we get older. And unilateral moves also help us correct imbalances and improve our core stability. 

However, if you are finding you’re not yet ready for the full balance challenge of the single leg deadlift, or you want to mix up your unilateral deadlift work while using heavier loads, you can do a bench supported variation.

This variation takes out some of the stability demands which may allow you to even better activate the hamstring of the standing leg. 

With this move, you will put your knee of your lifted leg back on a bench. You can then press down into this knee slightly as you hinge over, pushing your butt back. But you want to focus on really creating that tension through that standing leg. 

Press that standing foot down firmly into the ground and push the ground away as you drive back up to standing. If you add weights, lower the weights back toward your instep to protect your lower back and really help yourself sit your butt back as you hinge over. 

Move #7: Band Lean Backs

While this move may not be right for you if you have knee issues limiting your ability to knee or control knee flexion, this move is often demonized by those with knee pain when it can actually be a key component of rehab for some.

Because you’re also working your quads while in hip extension, this is also a great way to target the rectus femoris more than during a normal leg extension movement. 

And the band creates a great way to progress the basic bodyweight lean back and applies resistance in a different way than just holding a dumbbell up at your chest does. 

The band forces you to really control the eccentric portion of the move, or the lean back, and then applies more resistance on your quads as you drive back up to kneeling tall as the band stretches.

It makes your quads really work through the full range of motion!

The band can also be used to modify the movement if you face the anchor point as it will add assistance to help you control the lean back. 

Just really make sure you are moving at your knees to lean back and not just arching your lower back. 

Even focus on that glute engagement through the movement to keep your hips extended.

And if you really can’t kneel, you can still do quad flexes lying on a bench to get the benefits of a hip extended position to target that rectus femoris. 

Move #8: Airborne Lunge

Even without weights or equipment we can create workouts that challenge us.

One great way to do this is by creating less of a base of support and more instability in a movement. 

With the Airborne Lunge you are creating that instability by using only a single leg for support to balance and even making the basic lunge more challenging because of the range of motion you can perform with this movement.

This lunge can be a great way to build up toward that full pistol squat while targeting your glutes a bit more because it is more of a hip hinge movement.

When you do this exercise, you will hinge at the hips as you bend your knees to drop that back knee to touch the ground. You do not want to touch that back foot down. Just lightly touch your knee. Make sure your front heel stays down as you touch the ground. 

You can then make this move even more challenging by changing up the tempo and including a slower lower down or even a pause at the bottom.

To modify it, you can hold onto something in front of you or even place a block beneath your back knee to limit the range of motion you have to control to start! 

Every move we include should have a purpose and be based on our needs and goals. There is no one right exercise. No one best move.

There are so many ways to create variations that fit our needs and goals! 

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Hate Step Ups? Try this move instead!

Hate Step Ups? Try this move instead!

Not every variation of every move is going to be right for you.

Especially if you’ve had injuries in the past you’re rebuilding from.

If you’ve struggled with knee or hip pain, especially on one side, you may want to focus on unilateral moves.

Unilateral, or one sided moves, can help you correct imbalances while making sure that your stronger side isn’t taking over and compensating.

They can allow you to rebuild that weaker side while also avoiding overloading the weaker side by doing a move that your weaker side can’t keep up on.

But what if you’re including unilateral moves like the step up and they are still a struggle? What if you want to target your glutes more because you tend to be quad dominant?

Well then this variation is exactly what you need…


Sometimes it is small tweaks to moves that really add up. These adjustments can help us target specific muscles more and work better with our builds and current mind-body connection.

With the Step Down, this top down approach, can help you better focus on the hip hinge and only work through the range of motion you can truly control.

It is a great way to focus more on your glutes than your quads.

And you can really limit the range of motion to exactly what you can control without being able to cheat and push off your other foot.

It can also work well if you don’t have a range of box heights because you are so in control of how far you lower down.

So how do you do this great step up variation to improve your balance and target your glutes more?

How To Do The Step Down:

To do this move, start standing on top of a box to one side of the box. You want to place the opposite foot from the side you’re standing closest to close to the edge so the foot on that same side can actually hang off the box.

Press that foot on the edge into the box. This can help you better balance as you lower down, especially if you struggle.

Make sure you push the foot on top of the box solidly down into the box. Too often we don’t focus on that foundation to help us better activate muscles up our leg and even improve our stability.

Think of your foot as a tripod and push the two points in the ball of your foot and one in your heel down into the box.

Then begin to push your butt back. You want to start by hinging at the hips as you then bend your knee to lower your foot off the box to the ground. Do not be afraid to slightly lean forward as you lower.

You do not want to round your spine as you hinge.

Lower down only as far as you can control.

If you can lightly graze your toe on the ground, great. BUT you don’t want any weight to shift to the foot lowering down if it does touch the ground.

You will then drive back up to standing off the foot on top of the box. Stand tall at the top and squeeze that standing glute before repeating the move.

You can increase the height of the box as needed or even lower only half way down on the box if needed to start.

But you want to lower down only as far as you can control.

Because of the hip hinge with this movement over the traditional step up, you will be able to target your glutes more while still working your quads and hamstrings.

Make sure as you do this move, your knee stays in line with your hip and ankle. You do not want your knee caving in or bowing out.

Part of keeping everything in line relates back to you also focusing on that foot. Push through the entire foot and be conscious if you do feel yourself starting to rock in or out.


To modify this move, you may start with a smaller range of motion and increase as you build up. You can even start standing on a plate weight or only lower a few inches down on a taller box if that is what you have.

You can also create a balance assist by holding on to a pole or suspension trainer in front of you.

If you really struggle with your knee caving in, to help you better activate that glute medius to stabilize the hip and knee, you can also anchor a very light band to the opposite side of your standing leg and put it around your leg.

This gives you tension to push out against to activate the glute medius or that side butt muscle that stabilizes your hip and will improve that knee alignment. Just go light so you have that reminder but it doesn’t pull you into an incorrect position.

To advance the step down, you can hold a weight in close at your chest or even increase the height of the box to increase the range of motion.

Using This Move:

This is a great unilateral accessory exercise to include and most often will be done for 10-20 reps, although if you are adding loads you may find you do try to create a challenge at 8 reps.

Use it for higher reps if you are just starting out and doing more bodyweight based training!

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Lunge For Stronger Legs And Glutes – Functional Lunge Variations

Lunge For Stronger Legs And Glutes – Functional Lunge Variations

Squats and Deadlifts are often touted as the head honchos of lower body exercises because they are compound, functional exercises. Heck, the deadlift is even held in high esteem as a back exercise. And while both moves are a great way to strengthen your lower body, you can’t forget about lunges.

Lunges very often take a back seat in our programming. They aren’t the main lift and, often when they are used, they are aren’t used in every direction like they could be.

But the Lunge is an extremely functional exercise that we need to include in our workouts.

Lunges work your entire leg and can target your legs from a variety of angles as you move in different directions. While most Squat and Deadlift variations are sagittal plane movements.

Lunges are also a very “reactive” movement as well. Think about when you move or react to change directions or go after a ball or even chase a child around a playground…You’ll be surprised by how often it is a lunge like movement to react and change directions and chase.

So if you’re moving like that and constantly moving and lunging in every direction, why wouldn’t you want to strengthen those same movements in your workouts? Why would you ONLY focus on sagittal plane lifts like the deadlift and squat?


Start strengthening your legs and glutes with these wonderfully functional Lunge Variations.


15 Leg Isometric Exercises To Improve Your Mobility, Stability and Strength

15 Leg Isometric Exercises To Improve Your Mobility, Stability and Strength

Isometric Exercises are a great way to build mobility, stability and strength in your lower body.

While most people include dynamic and static stretches in their workout routine, they often forget about the importance of Isometric Moves to developing mobility and even flexibility.

And Isometric Exercises are key.

Dynamic and static stretches do improve your flexibility and mobility; however, they don’t at the same time strengthen and build stability through that new range of motion.

Then when we go lift, even after doing the stretching, we often don’t work through the increased range of motion, which simply means we tighten everything back up only to have to stretch out and loosen up again.

By including Isometrics, you not only improve your flexibility and mobility, but you also work and strengthen through the new range of motion to help you keep the increased range of motion.

And, by doing Isometrics, you can learn to activate and feel the correct muscles working during the movements so that, when you go to lift weights, the correct muscles are being recruited through a full range of motion!

Below are 15 Leg Isometric Exercises you should include in your workout routine to not only improve your hip mobility and the flexibility of your legs, but also strengthen and build stability.


Functional Training – 10 Functional Training Leg Exercises

Functional Training – 10 Functional Training Leg Exercises

Functional Training is all the rage right now, but do you even know what “functional training” means?

While Functional Training is now being used to describe way too many different crazy fads, including doing ridiculous balance moves on yoga balls and Bosus, what it should mean is training that makes our bodies and minds stronger so we can function better in every day life.

What Functional Training should be is training that replicates movements we do in everyday life to help us develop balance and improve our stability and mobility so that we can move better and more efficiently without injury.

Functional Training is training that uses compound exercises and moves your body in every plane of motion.

Below are 10 Functional Training Leg Exercises to help you move better in every day life by correcting your imbalance and improving your mobility and stability in every plane of motion.