5 killer leg exercises
Time to recruit some power into those legs!
Not training your legs is the biggest training mistake you can make! Here are 3 reasons you shouldn't forget to train your legs:
- Building Muscle – various studies showed that training large muscle groups, such as the legs, produces a natural release of growth hormone and testosterone in the body - these are natural muscle building hormones.
- Bigger Upper Body – intensive lower body training will also lead to release of hormones responsible for muscle growth, so guess how that will translate to your upper body.
- Symmetry – you know it, big upper body and tiny, toothpick legs look ridiculous. Nobody wants to have chicken legs ;)
These 5 exercises will give power to your legs:
Most people consider squats to be a leg exercise, but a few know that they can actually help grow muscle strength in your entire body. Primarily, they work your hamstrings, quads and glutes, but when done properly, they can also boost production of testosterone and human growth hormone which are responsible for increasing muscle mass. In addition to this, squats are a great way to strengthen your knees, stabilizer muscles, ligaments and connective tissues, and increase ankle and hip mobility, all of which decreases the chance of injury
How often should you train legs? A 10 day workout plan is a part of the 8-item Platinum Pack. Get yours and see progress faster!
Lunges work your quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, increase hip flexor flexibility, and deload your spine, so they're a good alternative to exercises that put a lot of stress on your back.
Proper form is essential. You have to make sure that you do not lean too far forward and that you see your toes in front of your knee as you step out and bend your leg. Your knee should never extend over your toes because it could lead to knee injuries if done over a period of time.
The Side Lunge works hamstrings, quadriceps, hips, inner and outer thighs, glutes, and calves (to some extent). They primarily strengthen the gluteus muscles of your leading leg, so it's recommended that you do an equal number of reps on each leg to avoid uneven muscle development.
To keep proper form, you should not step out too far and both of your heels need to keep contact with the floor throughout the movement.
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
The bulgarian split squat is a single leg variation of the regular squat exercise. All you need to do is elevate your back foot onto a box or a bench, varying the position of the front leg and length of the split according to whatever feels most comfortable. Larger splits allow you to work your rear hip flexors and the posterior muscle chain, while shorter splits focus on the quads. Besides obvious muscle growth, the bulgarian split squats can lead to greater hip mobility, strengthen the glutes, and improve hip stability.
In addition to all of the mentioned benefits of this exercise, doing the Bulgarian split squat is a great way to improve your balance and prepare for doing pistol squats!
It might be true that the growth of your calf muscles is influenced, to a large extent, by genetics, but there's also a lot that can be done with proper exercise and nutrition. Calves help stabilize your ankles and feet and are used in many day-to-day activities so you definitely don't want to neglect them.
The simplest way to do this exercise is to stand on a step with the front part of your foot and lift and lower your heels over the edge through repetitive movements. You can work your calf muscles from different angles by pointing your toe inwards, or intensify the workout by working one leg at a time. By doing this, you will not only strengthen the muscles, but also increase lower leg definition.