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Depending on your mentality, leg day can be very motivating or the worst day of the week at the gym.
A lot of the problem is the lack of motivation and missing the big picture of working your legs to exhaustion to grow bigger.
The leg muscles are the largest muscle group in the human body and, for us guys, it increases testosterone levels just by simply working them.
For a lot of men and women, there is a desire to have larger legs. What better way to do that than using your own bodyweight?
Sidenote: If you’re a woman looking to get a thigh gap, these are the best thigh gap exercises to do it.
There are many variations you can do, but the best finishing exercises you should do are isometric exercises for legs.
What are isometric exercises for legs you ask?
According to MayoClinic, “Isometric exercises are contractions of a particular muscle or group of muscles. During isometric exercises, the muscle doesn’t noticeably change length and the affected joint doesn’t move”.
So you will be doing very minimal moving, but working twice as hard. The isometric contractions in isometric exercises incorporate all of your muscle motor units, I can’t say the same for eccentric or concentric contractions.
The best time to use isometric exercises for legs is at the end of your workout, it’s like the icing on the cake that promotes massive gains.
Now that you know what isometrics are, let’s take a look at five leg variations of isometric exercises you can use for bigger legs.
5 Isometric Leg Exercises for Mass
Air Isometric Squat
Now any stance, without weight, can burn if you hold it long enough.
To start us off is the air squat isometric hold.
Before we get started, this is a submax isometric hold. What that means is you are not resisting or applying your max possible effort, that would be considered a max isometric hold.
Now if you did a max effort squat you’d need a barbell on your back, but it’s much heavier than you can lift and you are going to stand up as hard as you can.
That’s your max effort, now these 5 leg isometric variations are submax so we will not be using our max effort.
Back to the fun stuff, to get into position, stand with your feet in a neutral position or shoulder-width apart.
This is where you will get down into a squat position, but instead of your glutes and hamstrings being parallel to the floor, you should stop about three-quarters of the way.
By the time you’re in your stance, you should have enough of an angle to place an object on your thigh and have it able to slide off. It is crucial that you hold this stance with good form and for 30 seconds, up to two minutes.
It may not burn right away, but let me tell you, after doing a few sets with weight and then doing this at the end for as long as you can, you will appreciate the breaks in between.
Wide Stance/Sumo Isometric Squats
This is a great isometric exercise to perform after you just get done doing weighted squats to jump-start muscle growth.
With this exercise, you don’t want narrow feet, they should be wide, wider than your shoulders.
You know how sumo wrestlers get into their stance?
That’s what we’re shooting for. Once you get into your wide/sumo stance, slowly squat down until your knees are at a 90-degree angle, or your upper legs are parallel to the floor. Again, we will perform another submaximal hold for 30 seconds minimum.
If you don’t start feeling the burn until you get to the 30-second mark, push yourself to go longer.
The great thing about this isometric exercise is you will start feeling the burn in different parts of the legs that you didn’t even know you had.
This is a great way to unleash your competitive spirit and set new personal best in time.
Close Stance Isometric Squats
Now that we have gone wide, it is time to experience the same burn in a close stance.
Isometric squats are one of my favorite exercises and this is a nice variation of those.
As the name suggests, you should bring your feet together, bringing them close to almost touching.
Now, go down into a mid-squat with your legs together, about 45 degrees, so you will stop before your thighs are parallel to the floor.
Sidenote: If you like skiing, this would be a great isometric exercise for building your ski legs up for those slopes!
Now that you’re in position, hold for 30 seconds and try not to place your hands on your legs.
Again, the 30 seconds is just a mark to target, starting out, you’ve got to bring it if you want your legs to grow.
With that said, if I were you, I’d be pushing for the two-minute mark every time. That is where you will truly hit muscle failure and feel a huge burn.
Single Leg Isometric Squats
This is where it gets a little harder. With single-leg isometric squats, now you can work on both your balance and your muscle growth.
It will be important to balance your weight on one leg and let your non-working leg fall behind you and stick your arms out to the sides to help find your balance.
When you find your balance, start the exercise by ensuring your non-working leg is not touching the floor, then begin to squat as far as you physically can without falling and hold for the standard 30 seconds.
The great thing about this variation, or any of the others, is you can mess with the angle of the knee joint to whatever feels right or produces the most burn.
On this one, you can go into a really deep squat at 90 degrees, 60, 30, or you can even hold it right below full extension, so your knee just barely has to be bent.
Whatever it is, always be pushing to exceed further than you did the first time you try.
Isometric Wall Squat
Working legs, I’m sure you are familiar with wall squats and just how they hurt so good!
I, personally, like this isometric exercise because not only can you perform it with bodyweight, but to really push your limits, you can place weight on top of your lap to increase the intensity.
Without further ado, find yourself a wall and be sure you have traction on the floor.
With this exercise, you can go wide, neutral or close grip with your feet, you can even try it single-legged to really feel the burn your after.
Now with your back against the wall, slide down into a 90 degree squat and perform a submax hold for 30 seconds to two minutes.
I challenge you to go two minutes, I promise you, that feeling of satisfaction when your done is priceless, knowing that every effort you make, brings you one step closer to bigger legs.
Final Thoughts on Isometric Leg Exercises
There you have it, five leg variations using isometric exercises at the end of your leg workouts to put the icing on the cake and get bigger legs.
With these submax holds, you must always shoot for 30 seconds each set you perform or, personally, as long as you can before your muscles give out.
On top of those reps you hold out, it is most effective to perform three to five sets of the isometric exercise you use for your legs. If you don’t incorporate isometric exercises for legs in your routine, you are missing a vital piece to your workouts.
Creativity and exercise variations are the key to pushing yourself and still enjoying or getting through leg day and getting the muscle growth you’re working for.
Finally, check out this article on my Top 3 Isometric Leg Exercises.