Leg exercises

Advanced Leg Press Technique

The leg press technique demonstrated here by head trainer Ingrid Barclay is slightly different to how we normall prescribe leg press for beginning clients.

By taking out the top third of the movement where lockout occurs, we prevent the load being removed from the quadriceps - tension is always on - thus, greater "time under tension" results from the movement.

Watch out, it burns!!

Advanced Technique For Barbell Lunges

Head Trainer Ingrid Barclay demonstrates an advanced (and very different) way of performing barbell lunges.

This technique shifts the emphasis from utilising the glutes to greater pressure on the quadriceps.

Advanced Technique for Leg Extensions

Head Body Conquest Trainer Ingrid Barclay demonstrates another of her advanced lifting techniques - a leg extension that doesn't utilise the top third of the range of movement. This does 2 things, firstly, it prevents a bone on bone shear force enacting upon your knee joint (one of the major issues that is argued about utilising knee extensions) and secondly, it keeps the continual tension on the quadriceps muscles.

Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian Split Suat is a variant of the uni-lateral split squat, utilising a raised platform to increase the angle of the rear leg, placing increased pressure on the performing front leg, and moving the engagement pattern to emphasise the quadriceps muscles instead of the gluteals.

Trust a nut case group of people like the Bulgarians, who's favourite past time is weightlifting to come up with an exercise like this. If you like predictions of the Clubber Lang variety (pain...), then give this exercise a try. You will definitely look hardcore in the squat rack while doing this!

Front Squats

The front squat is a fantastic alternative form of squat to the back squat. The bar is placed on the anterior head of the deltoid, moving the load from posterior to anterior.

This change has good sporting adaptations, as most sports have an emphasis on forward motion, forward tackling or forward or vertical jumping, leaping and bounding.

Many olympic weightlifters would rather compare front squat weights as opposed to back squat weights in conversation - well, this just adds a more hard core element to the movement!

With the weight pushed to the front of the body, greater emphasis is placed on the quadriceps, with less stress on the glutes compared to a back squat.

This is a favourite movement for BC Trainer Ji Cottrill.. let's get crack-a-lacking people!!

Glute Bridges

Sure, they might get people looking at you thinking "You're doing it wrong!". But what would they know?

Glute bridges are a great exercise for strengthening the hamstrings and gluteal muscles. Not to mention that one day when in need, people can use you as a bridge over a large gap becuase you will be strong enough to BE THE BRIDGE!!

Glute Ham Raises

Glute Ham raises are pure torture. You don't think so? I bet you haven't tried them then.. The most irritatingly crampy hurty deep feeling hamstring exercise I think I have ever tried.

You can either use one of those fancy glute/ham raise machines like Body Conquest has, or you can attempt to do them with your feet anchored in to a lat pull down machine, or have a friend (a trusted one!) pin your feet down on a bench or floor!

This will develop some nice posterior chain, something that many people forget about, because we don't check our posterior out in the mirror (unless you're in those cool change rooms in David Jones! I could lose hours in there!)

Good Mornings

A Good Morning is a weight training exercise that resembles bowing to greet someone "good morning". The erector spinae muscles of the lower back work isometrically to keep the spine in an extended position, while the hamstrings and gluteus maximus work isotonically to perform the hip extension.

The Good Morning exercise is an often used exercise at Geelong based Body Conquest in training programmes, especially involving more experienced lifters. The Good Morning is one of the most important assistant exercises for developing strength for squats and deadlifts.

The Good Morning exercise has drawn criticism from many trainers and trainees claiming it can lead to injuries. However, if performed correctly, this exercise can strengthen the posterior chain and prevent injuries.

Leg Curls

Leg curls are a relatively easy to perform hamstring isolation exercise performed on a machine.

Just because the exercsie is relatively easy to perform does not mean that many people get it right. Follow the cues given by the Body Conquest Trainers in their Geelong Studio and you should be building lovely shaped hamstrings that you can proudly show off in shorts once summer is lending it's lovely warmth!

Leg Press Set Up

How to correctly set yourself up for a leg press.

Pina Lunges

Some 13 years ago, Ingrid Barclay had the opportunity to speak to arguably Australia's best Figure competitor - Pina Theodoridis. She asked one day to be put through her leg workout. Needless to say, it was a killer!

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but Pina was never defeated. At around 45 kilograms, she could bench press 3 times her own bodyweight. Ingrid claims she has never seen a better pair of glutes!

This was her quad/glute finishing exercise. Ever since then, we at Body Conquest have affectionately referred to them as Pina Lunges.

Romanian Deadlifts

The Romanian deadlift is one of the most important exercises for the hip extensors (glutes and hamstrings) and knee flexors.

From a functional standpoint it is a more relevant exercise than a leg curl, and from an intensity standpoint, you can lift far more weight than you can during a leg curl.

Similar to a stiff legged deadlift, the major difference is that the knees are slightly soft, whereas the stiff legged version the knees are locked in a straight legged position. This changes the emphasis from hamstrings to glutes, making it an important assisting exercise for hip lockout in conventional deadlifts and glute and hamstring strength at the bottom position of a squat. It also is a really good exercise for making your butt look perky!

Sissy Squats

The sissy squat is an old school exercise coming from the halcyon days of weight training in the 50's and 60's, with big proponents of the exercise including Vince Gironda, Bill Pearl, and Larry Scott.

It is by no means sissy, unless you include the high piercing shrieks that accompany the pain induced on your quads during the leg session that includes this movement.

Sissy Squats on a Hack Squat Machine

Who loves to go old school? Ji loves going on about old school, so here's an exercise that hearkens back to the halcyon days of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Co.

The sissy squat is a leg exercise that is definitely not sissy, girly, or even unmanly. It's hard, it will make you hurt, and scream and sweat. But most importantly - grow!

In this instructional video the Body Conquest Trainers have shown you a hack squat variant of the sissy squat. Shamelessly following some exercises Ji observed Masyter Trainer Charles Glass taking some of his elite level trainees through one day. Give them a go and then give comment on whether they are sissy!

Split Squats

The split squat is a great unilateral leg exercise that places strain on the gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings, while also stimulating assistance from balancing muscles along the trunk and ankles.

The split squat is an important exercise for bodybuilders and athletes alike, as it is a great movement for improving symmetry between left and right legs, and also represents a similar stance as a full stride during running and bounding, and can improve single limb efficiency and strength.


In strength training, the squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips and buttocks, the quariceps, hamstrings, as well as strengthening the bones, ligaments and tendons throughout the lower body.

Squats are considered a vital exercise for increasing the musculature of the lower body as well as improving core strength. Isometrically, the muscles of the trunk, lower back, shoulders, arms, and costal muscles are all essential for the movement, and thus are trained during squatting.

Squats are one of the 3 exercises used in powerlifting competitions.

Stiff Legged Deadlift

The stiff legged deadlift is one of the most effective exercises for the hamstring muscle group.

Starting with an eccentric phase and incorporating a stretch reflex, it elimiates the quadricep activation and maximises hamstring and gluteal contraction.

Swiss Ball Roll Ins

Ahhh.. swiss ball roll ins. Everytime I hear someone chortle about wussy swiss ball exercises, far to easy, not advanced, no challenge, I think of these exercises, and how much my hamstrings throb just thinking about them!

This video shows a multitude of progressions that you can give a try as you get stronger. But be warned - the single leg ones - at Body Conquest Training Studio in Geelong, we once gave these to a male competitor we were training for a bodybuilding competition. He was a big strong lad who had no problems squatting 180kg. But do you think he could perform even 1 rep of a single leg roll in? Not on your nelly. In fact he even chucked a little "tanty" after not being able to.

So, no, I won't be suprised when you get your gym membership revoked after a similar performance in the swiss ball area of your local gym!

Swiss Ball Squats

The swiss ball squat is an Ingrid Barclay favourite at the Body Conquest Training Studio for application in Needs Analysis sessions with clients, as well as for use in Travel/Home programmes.

It is a full leg exercise, with emphasis on gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings, but utilising a swiss ball and either bodyweight or dumbells as the resistance.

The use of a swiss ball against a wall allows for people who have never squatted before to be able to get used to the positioning and movement in preparation for barbell based squat, and also allows for people to travel with a "gym" that only requires a swiss ball safely packed away in your suitcase!