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Lower Body Exercises (besides Lunges and Squats)?

by (1377)
Updated about 12 hours ago
Created August 25, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Right now I'm sticking to compound exercises as part of a full-body workout. I'm not looking for crazy gains, just natural movements to improve my overall health and fitness. I have a sandbag and a set of rings, so I have a huge variety of upper-body exercises available. Vaguely following the principle of muscle confusion, I try not to do the same exercise twice over the course of a month - with a schedule of 1 on/3 off (and 20+ upper body exercises available), it's very easy for me to do that for the upper body.

However, compound lower-body exercises seem to be limited to two basic movements - Squatting (which I'd say includes Deadlifts and Leg Presses) and Lunging. I feel like I might be running up against the physiology of the human body, but I thought I'd ask here before I throw in the towel.

  • (1) Are there any compound lower-body exercises besides those main two movements?

  • (2) Are deadlifts and leg presses different enough from squats to cause muscle confusion?

As I said, I have a set of rings and a sandbag, so I can translate any TRX exercises (and in most cases, barbell exercises) for that equipment. I don't go to the gym but if machines are the only way I might consider it.

Update:

Thanks to your input, I've made a quick list of compound lower-body exercises.

  • Deadlifts
  • Squats
  • Pistols
  • Lunges
  • Step-Ups
  • Farmer's Walks
  • Car Pulls
  • Car Pushes
  • Burpees
  • Mountain Climbers
  • Bear Crawls
  • Sprints - Running
  • Sprints - Biking
  • Plyometrics - Box Jumps
  • Plyometrics - Squat Jumps

Again, thanks for all your input, I'll be putting it to good use.

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20353 · September 06, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Very Correct!!!

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5 · September 06, 2011 at 2:03 PM

By 'great' you mean evil. right?

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3717 · August 26, 2011 at 3:07 PM

I'm a little late to the game here, but anything that opens the hip is a lower body exercise (cleans, snatches, etc), and I don't believe a person can squat too much. You might think about adding tire/sled drags to your list. Find a good heavy tire and a rope and pull that thing up and down the street.

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1072 · August 26, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Just taken up biking again after years off. Dear Grok you know what muscles you're hitting after a sprint or hill.

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1377 · August 25, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Thanks, plyometrics is something I've wanted to try for some time now. I don't have an SUV but now I can't wait to drive my 325 into a Wal-Mart lot and see how far I can push it. Probably get some looks though.

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1377 · August 25, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Step-ups and side lunges - awesome, just added those to my list.

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18635 · August 25, 2011 at 9:10 PM

Try mixing in some plyometric and burst exercises, sprints, single legged or one sided movements (pistols), then the old Devany push and pull your SUV in the driveway followed by some rock scrambles.

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3756 · August 25, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Yeah! Zercher squats FTW!

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11 Answers

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90 · August 25, 2011 at 3:03 PM

Squats (knee hinge) and Deadlifts (hip hinge) are two different types of lower body exercises. Plus, depending on how you squat, you may or may not hit the posterior chain, whereas it's hard to deadlift without using the posterior chain.

There are a boatload of squat, lunge, and deadlift variations to choose from.

But, there are also things like glute bridge variations that can also hit the posterior chain.

Swings will hit the posterior chain.

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3756 · August 25, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Yeah! Zercher squats FTW!

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20411 · August 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM

Sprints release GH. I always feel like I gain more from sprints than deadlifts/squats. (And I love squats). Some actual biking is probably good too. I had fantasic quads as a kid and all I did was bike everywhere and play tennis. I don't know any cyclists that have lousy legs!

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1072 · August 26, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Just taken up biking again after years off. Dear Grok you know what muscles you're hitting after a sprint or hill.

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15226 · August 25, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Deadlifts are quite different from squats and should not be considered the same. The squat is largely an eccentric muscle contraction (the way down) while the deadlift is concentric. The deadlift also hits a good deal of different muscles.

You can add variety further by doing bulgarian split squats and single leg deadlifts, as well as step ups (holding weights)and side lunges.

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1377 · August 25, 2011 at 9:19 PM

Step-ups and side lunges - awesome, just added those to my list.

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16131 · August 25, 2011 at 3:19 PM

I dont go to the gym but I make due with a small home gym.

For legs I like step ups - step up onto a bench or a high step alternating legs. I also like to do plyometrics - squat jumps, jump lunges and box jumps.

Also, Famer's Walks are simple looking but killer if you have weights.

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20353 · August 25, 2011 at 2:34 PM

Burpees are a great exercise.

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20353 · September 06, 2011 at 2:12 PM

Very Correct!!!

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5 · September 06, 2011 at 2:03 PM

By 'great' you mean evil. right?

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0 · August 05, 2013 at 1:23 PM

check www.twitter.com/lawdeck

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3432 · January 04, 2013 at 6:14 AM

Get some kettlebells, Dan. They're fun.

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1005 · January 04, 2013 at 5:18 AM

stepups, squats with kickouts, prisoner lunges, rocker lunge crawls (you get down on all fours, rock back on your supporting leg, and with the other leg, have it out to the side with the knee bent and try to touch your elbow with you knee. Repeat on other side. It works both the glutes and obliques)

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5 · September 06, 2011 at 2:03 PM

I row for my university and the ergometer (rowing machine) is a great leg workout. We do mostly leg weights, running, and core workouts. But when you row, it's acutally 80% legs and the rest is arms and back. Contrary to popular belief, we don't use our arms very much.

I recommend hoping on your nearest Concept 2 Rowing Machine and cranking out some high-intensity minutes after your leg weights. You'll feel the burn. Promise.

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1774 · August 26, 2011 at 1:56 AM

endurance running? ::runs::

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10 · August 25, 2011 at 3:56 PM

There's also mountain climbers.

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