Strong shoulders, carved chest and abs, chicken legs. You’ll see more men in the gym with this lopsided trio of features than not. That’s because we so often we neglect the muscles a pair of gym shorts or swim trunks cover: the hips, glutes, hamstrings and quads (puny calves, though, remain in full view). This isn’t merely a problem of vanity. Fail to target these muscle groups, and you create major imbalances in the body that can lead to pain and injury (legs that aren’t as developed as your lats, for example, can cause chronic low-back pain; underdeveloped hips and glutes can bring on knee problems). What’s more, when you skip leg day, you pass up a guaranteed boost to your metabolism. Working these lower-body muscle groups — some of the largest in your body — burns more calories than isolation work like biceps curls and crunches, and will give you a far bigger afterburn. In a nutshell? Hitting the legs is your ticket to getting and staying lean. The most effective way to work them is with functional, compound movements that incorporate several muscle groups at once. Here, you’ll find the six best moves.
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