In our progression through the alphabet we are up to the 12th letter, L.
And, no spoilers, but L is a good one!
Exercises that start with L work most areas of the body, including the lats, side delts, quads, and abs. That means that you can get a full-body workout with just the exercises on this page.
So without any further ado, here it is:
An (almost) complete list of exercises that start with L.
Some of the absolute best exercises that start with the letter L are:
- Lat Pulldown
- Lateral Raise
- Lying Leg Raise
- Leg Levelers
- Lateral Extension Reverse Lunge
- Layout Push-Up
- Lateral Lunge with Squat
- Leg Extension
- Leg Curl
- Leg Kick Back
- Lying Triceps Extension
- Lying Bench Seal Row
Let’s analyze each of them and why they deserve a place on this list — plus how to do all of these L exercises.
1. Lat Pulldown
The lat pulldown is a pulling exercise that brings that latissimus dorsi muscles from full extension above your head to a position on contraction as you bring the bar down to your chest.
To do this exercise you will need a cable machine.
- Sit at a lat pull-down machine, facing it, and select the pin weight that you desire. Place your thighs under the support pads and reach up to grab the lat pull-down bar slightly wider than shoulder width.
- Lean back slightly but maintain a natural arch in your back.
- Without moving your torso, pull your elbows down and back to bring the bar to your upper chest. Squeeze the lats and bring the shoulder blades together in the contracted position.
- Reverse under control and repeat.
2. Lateral Raise
The lateral raise is the best exercise you can do to target the lateral or medial delts. The exercise can be done with dumbbells and with a cable machine.
The machine version is often preferable because it allows the resistance to come in a direction that is in line with the direction of the muscle fibers. When you use dumbbells the resistance comes from gravity and is straight up and down.
Cables also allow for constant resistance all the way through the movement.
- Set the pulley on a cable machine at hip level and stand side on to it. Grab the cable with our outside hand and hold it by your side so that teh hand is touching your outside thigh.
- Pivot from the shoulder joint to bring the outside arm directly out and up to shoulder level. Do not bend the elbow.
- Lower under control and repeat.
- Medial (side) Detoid
3. Lying Leg Raise
The lying leg raise is a lower ab-focused exercise. Although you cannot totally isolate different parts of your abdominal wall, you will definitely feel this exercise more in the lower portion of the abdominal wall.
- Lie on your floor on your back with your feet together and your hands at your sides on the floor, palms down. Bend your knees slightly.
- Hinge at the hips to bring your lower body off the floor about 12 inches. Keep your shoulder blades down and your head up. Do not straighten your legs.
- Lower until your legs are about six inches from the floor.
- Continue moving your legs between six and twelve inches from the floor to complete your rep count.
- Rectus abdominus
- Erector spinae
The lunge is a quad-focused move that involves leg extension and flexion. It can be done with body weight, dumbbells or a barbell.
By doing the reverse lunge version of this exercise you will shift the emphasis from the quads to the hamstrings and glutes.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and hands clasped together at chest level. Take a large step forward with your right foot and drop the rear knee toward the floor until it is just off the ground.
- Push through the front thigh to return to the start position.
- Do all of your reps on your right side and then repeat with the left side.
5. Leg Levelers (or Levers)
The leg leveler is a core-centric exercise that actually works every muscle from your deltoids to your quads.
- Lie on your back with your legs straight and your head raised off the floor. Put both hands under your butt to straighten the lumbar spine, and then lift both kegs so that your feet are about six inches off the ground. Your knees should be slightly bent.
- Keeping your legs together, raise them until they form a 45-degree angle with the ground. Hold the recommended time.
- Lower your legs back to six inches and hold for the recommended time. Repeat this up-and-hold and then down-and-hold sequence for the recommended repetitions.
- Hip flexors
6. Lateral Extension Reverse Lunge
The lateral extension reverse lunge is a backward version of the lunge. Doing backward lunges can be easier than forward ones because the knees take less strain.
In addition, keeping your weight on your forward leg stabilizes the movement. This is an effective exercise to target the glutes, quads and hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet slightly closer than shoulder-width apart and your arms at your sides.
- Step your right leg backward. Keep a slight bend in your right knee and rest the ball of your foot on the floor.
- Bend both knees as you move into a lunge position. Lower your body, flexing your left knee and hip until your right leg is almost in contact with the floor. Raise your arms to the sides until they are levels with your shoulders.
- Return to the starting position by straightening out your left leg and bringing your right leg forward to meet your left leg.
- Switch legs and repeat on the opposite side. Alternate sides to complete your rep count.
7. Layout Push-Up
The layout push-up is an advanced movement that requires intense effort from your back and core muscles.
Don’t let the push-up name fool you; this is not your average gym class exercise.
Rather than your pectorals, it mainly focuses on the triceps and lats.
- Lie facedown with your feet together. Stretch your arms upward beside your ears on the floor. Engage your pelvic floor, and draw your navel into your spine.
- While keeping your core engaged, lift your body up and away from the floor.
- Lower yourself back to the starting position, and repeat for the recommended rep count.
- Latissimus dorsi
8. Lateral Lunge with Squat
The lateral lunge with squat combines the benefits of two popular exercises; sideways lunges and squats.
This isolation exercise targets the inner and outer thighs, which can help build strength and stability in the hip and lateral knee.
- Stand with your feet together and your hands on your hips.
- Contract your abs and glutes, and step out your right foot. Keeping your weight on your heels, bend your left knee and lower your hips as far as you can.
- Push off the ground with your right foot, and return to the starting position.
- Repeat on the opposite side, alternating sides for the recommended rep count.
9. Leg Extension
The leg extension is the purest quad activation exercise you will ever do. That is because it’s only movement is quad extension.
Pro tip: Don’t come all the way up, avoiding knee lockout. This will avoid any possibility of knee shearing.
- Adjust the settings on a leg extension machine to suit your body size. Set the seat as far back as possible. Load the appropriate weight and then sit on the machine with your shins under the leg pads. Grab onto the side handles.
- Push your legs against the shin pads to bring the shin’s pad up to just short of knee lockout.
- Lower slowly to the start positions and repeat.
10. Leg Curl
The leg curl is a very effective exercise to target the hamstrings at the back of the upper leg.
Doing the exercise on a seated rather than a lying curl machine is ideal. That’s because it is a stricter version of the movement, keeping your hips out of the movement.
- Adjust the settings on a leg extension machine to suit your body size. Load the appropriate weight and then sit on the machine with your calves over the leg pads. Grab onto the side handles.
- Push down with your calves on the leg pads to bring your legs down to a fully contracted position.
- Hold the bottom position for a 2-second count and then slowly return to the start position.
- Repeat for the required rep count.
11. Leg Kick Back
The leg kickback is one of the best exercises you can do to target your glute muscle. When done on a cable machine it allows you to extend your glute back to full extension under constant cable resistance tension.
You can also do this exercise with a resistance band attached to a secure upright. This is not as good as a cable as there is no resistance on the negative part of the rep. It is, however, a great alternative if you do not have access to a cable machine.
- Set the pulley on a cable pulley machine to its lowest setting. Attach an ankle cuff to the end of the cable. Secure the ankle cuff around your left ankle. Stand facing the machine and place your hands on the uprights for support.
- Without bending the knee, extend the left leg directly back as far as it will comfortably go.
- Reverse the motion under control to return to the start position.
- Hip Flexors
12. Lying Triceps Extension
The lying triceps extension is a very good exercise for putting mass onto your tricep muscles.
There are a number of different ways to do the triceps extension. The lying version is among the strictest as it eliminates momentum through the lower body.
- Lie on a flat bench with a pair of dumbbells in your hands, held at arm’s length directly above your upper chest. Your palms should be facing each other. Keep your elbows in at the sides of your body.
- Bend your elbows to lower the dumbbells to the sides of your head, coming down to full elbow contraction.
- Push through the triceps to return to the start position.
- Front deltoids
13. Lying Bench Seal Row
The lying bench seal row is an adaptation of the bent-over row with a barbell. This version allows you to get a stricter rowing movement.
That is because it takes your legs out of the exercise. This reduces momentum. The seal row also eliminates pressure on the lower back.
- Extend the height of a standard bench by placing 45-pound plates under the base of it. Grab a pair of dumbbells and put them under the bench.
- Lie on the bench face down and reach down to grab the dumbbells with a pronated grip, so that your palms are facing away from you.
- Push your navel into the bench and lift your chest as you pull the dumbbells up to the bench.
- Squeeze your lats together in the top position.
- Lower under control and repeat.
- Latissimus dorsi
You now have a toolbox of thirteen exercises starting with the letter L that you can combine into a full-body workout.
Do all twelve exercises in a row without any rest between them. Rather than counting reps, do each exercise for 30 seconds. When you’ve finished the circuit, rest for a couple of minutes and then do it again. Work up to doing three rounds of this circuit.
Alternatively, you can pull from these exercises when you’re doing an alphabet workout — one exercises from each letter!
For more, see:
- Exercises that start with K
- Exercises that start with H
- Exercises that start with G
- Exercises that start with I
Hope this helps!