Are you someone who absolutely hates leg days at the gym? You will find funny images all over social media as to how leg exercises make you absolutely unfit for walking the next day, making you hobble and your legs feel like jelly. So are you planning to skip leg exercises? Not the wisest thing to do, because to get a proportionate body you need to have strong, toned legs, which aren’t too fat nor too thin either. So if a question is hovering in your mind about how to strengthen your leg muscles, this is the right article for you.
Never underestimate the power of squats. Yes, they are not easy to do, especially when you combine them with other leg strengthening exercises like the lunges or the mighty deadlifts, but they torch lean muscles. Now did we remind you of the sweaty sessions at the gym? Apart from reshaping your legs, there are other reasons why leg exercises are an absolute must in your fitness regime. Read below to find out why you need to exercise those legs of yours.
The Importance Of Strong Legs
The importance of strong legs goes much deeper than your legs looking shapely in a pair of shorts or short skirts. Leg workouts or knee strengthening exercises work the muscles of the calves, buttocks, hip abductors, hamstrings, quadriceps. It is also necessary to increase your bone density and the production of growth hormone. The following points will cover why you need to work out the legs.
You are not interested in bodybuilding perhaps, but you still need to have growth hormones in your body. The reason being that growth hormones perform a number of duties for the body.
These hormones activate muscle growth, so besides helping the legs grow, you are helping the entire body to grow. Imagine someone working hard at the gym, building a strong upper body, but the lower body stands neglected. The end result looks very unappealing and disproportionate.
- Providing a strong base- If you play contact sports, you need to have strong legs. Your legs provide you the basic support and you need them to be strong and stable, especially when an opponent is trying to knock you down. Strong legs help for all practical purposes too. Your everyday movement, like standing, sitting, walking the stairs, trying to lift something off the ground, needs the support of your leg muscles. So you need to strengthen your leg movements for your regular chores. And for that, you need the best leg workouts.
- Reduce your risk of injury- Performing functional exercises like squats and lunges reduces your risk of injury to a great extent. It promotes stability of your knees and helps prevent wear and tear to your hard-working knees. You can also avoid muscle imbalances by strengthening the area.
You will burn more calories
How to lose weight? If that’s what is bothering you, then squats is your answer. Now who does not want to burn more calories, especially when you are sweating hard at the gym trying to do just that? When you do a squat or lunge or deadlift, you employ the maximum number of muscles of your body, so besides that round booty and those strong calves, you also burn a whole lot of calories. These multi-functional moves get your heart rate up and up your metabolism besides your
These multi-functional moves get your heart rate up and up your metabolism besides your cardio workouts. So try and incorporate more of these moves into your fitness regime and at home workouts.
You will reduce your lower back pain
Thanks to our lifestyle; we are always, complaining of niggling back pains, which stop us from working at out at the optimum level. Stretching the hip flexors and strengthening the hamstrings, glutes or abdominal muscles is one way of dealing with lower back pain.
Deadlifts and squats are demanding, you have to be physically and mentally tough. Doing these exercises build your mental and physical strength considerably. So the next time you shy away from doing squats, remember the multitude of ways it benefits your body.
Weight training is great for managing debilitating conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis. If you want to stall the progression of such bone loss, you need to incorporate calf raises, deadlifts, front squats and leg presses into your fitness regime. But it is best if you take the help of a qualified trainer and your doctor.
Leg Exercises to do at home
A large upper body and thin legs is hardly an ideal combination, right? So focus on your legs, and gradually build their strength. Even if you are not a runner or an athlete, you need to build functional strength. Your lower body is the easiest and quickest place to build fat-burning lean muscle.
You have over 200 muscles in the lower part of your torso, including the largest muscle in your body, your gluteus maximus. So get off your glutes and work out those legs of yours. Try these exercises within the confines of your home, they’re also easy ways to lose weight. Put on some music and blast it off!
This is a perfect exercise for beginners, and we know that you are sitting on the sole equipment you will be requiring for the exercise. That’s right, a chair! All you need is a chair and your glutes. This is a part of the calf muscle exercises regime.
Do it right:
- Begin standing with your back to a chair, feet hip-width apart.
- While keeping your weight centered on your heels, draw in your abs, sucking in your belly button and hinge forward at the hips slowly lowering your butt toward the chair.
- Pause right before you would sit down and return to standing while keeping the core engaged.
Do it Right:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart before stepping your right foot back and lowering into a lunge position with the left knee over the ankle.
- Bring your arms over your head and hinge forward from the waist.
- Lower the chest forward toward the thighs as your arms reach forward.
- Lift the right leg while straightening the left. Hold for 3 breaths before returning to the starting lunge position.
- Do 3 reps; switch legs and repeat
Do it right:
- Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and the arms at your sides.
- Take a large step backward with your left leg and cross it diagonally behind the right leg.
- Meanwhile, extend your right arm out to the side and swing the left arm across the hips.
- Jump about 2 feet to the left and come back to the starting position.
- Repeat with the other leg, that’s one set you need to do 3 sets of 20 reps.
- Begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart, arms at the sides.
- Lower the body into a squat, going two-thirds of the way down.
- Immediately jump straight up with your arms pointed up toward the ceiling.
- When you land, go right back into the next rep.
- Do 3 sets of 20 reps each.
Do It Right:
- Lie on your back with knees bent and facing up.
- Place your heels on the floor and lift the toes toward the shins.
- Raise your booty off the ground until your back forms a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.
- Hold for 1 second before lowering down.
- Repeat for 15 reps.
Do it Right:
- With a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand at your sides, stand with the left foot forward and right foot back in a wide stance.
- Bend both knees keeping the left knee over your ankle, while lowering the right knee nearly to the floor.
- Return to standing position. Include this into your fitness regime as it is one of the best exercises to lose weight.
- Do 8-10 reps on each side.
Walking Single-Leg Straight-Leg Deadlift Reach
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms hanging to the side of your thighs.
- Lift your right leg behind you.
- Keeping your lower back naturally arched, bend forward at your hips and lower your torso until it’s nearly parallel to the floor while you reach your opposite hand to the floor.
- Return to the starting position, take two steps forward, then repeat the movement with the opposite leg.
Leg Exercises with Weights and Machines
If you are someone who likes to work out in the company of other fitness enthusiasts, go ahead and grab your dumbbells and sweat it out at the gym. Remember it is going to get tough, so make sure you motivate yourself to get through these tough exercises.
When we speak of leg exercises we cannot think beyond squats. They may be tough, but give your legs a mean workout!
Do it right:
- Set a barbell on a power rack at about shoulder height.
- Grab the power with an overhand grip at shoulder width and raise your elbows until your upper arms are parallel to the floor.
- Take the bar out of the rack and let it rest on your fingertips.
- Your elbows should be all the way up throughout the movement.
- Step back and set your feet at shoulder width with toes turned out slightly.
- Squat as low as you can without losing the arch in your lower back.
Bulgarian Split Squats
This is another variation of the squat move. It works most of your leg muscles, so do not miss this exercise on your leg day.
Do it right:
- Stand lunge-length in front of a bench.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and rest the top of your left foot on the bench behind you.
- Lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor and your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Keep your stance right; otherwise, you might get injured.
- Hold a barbell with a shoulder-width grip and stand with feet hip width.
- Bend your hips back as far as you can.
- Allow your knees to bend as needed while you lower the bar along your shins until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings.
- Keep your lower back in its natural arched position throughout.
You can never have enough of squats, can you? This is one such move which is challenging and can bring your heart rate up like no other. This is one of the best exercises for calves.
Do it right:
- In a squat rack or cage, grasp the bar as far apart as is comfortable and step under it.
- Place it on your lower traps, squeeze your shoulder blades together, push your elbows up and nudge the bar out of the rack.
- Take a step or two back and stand with your feet shoulder width and your toes turned slightly outward.
- Take a deep breath and bend your hips back, and then bend your knees to lower your body as far as you can maintain the arch in the lower back.
- Push your knees outward as you go down. Move vertically with your hips to come back up, continuing to push your knees outward.
Do it right:
- Adjust the seat of the machine so that you can sit comfortably with your hips beneath your knees and your knees in line with your feet.
- Remove the safeties and lower your knees toward your chest until they’re bent 90 degrees and then slowly press back up.
- You need to be careful so as not to go too low or you might injure your lower back coming off the seat.
As the name suggests, this is a great exercise for your calves. It looks simple but is actually fairly difficult to do.
Do it right:
- Stand with your toes on the block and hold onto something sturdy for support.
- Raise your heels to come up on the balls of your feet, and then lower your heels until you feel a stretch in your calves.
Squats and lunges are the two most important exercises for your glutes. Make your legs shapely with this one.Do it right:
- Stand with your feet hip width, holding a dumbbell in each hand.
- Step forward with one leg and lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor.
- You have to go really low to make it effective and until your front thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Step forward with your rear leg to perform the next rep.
Kettle ball Swing:
Add more power to your leg workouts with a kettle ball. Swing it to get powerful legs.
Do it right:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and the weights on the floor.
- Hold the kettle ball with both hands (palms facing you) and keeping your lower back flat, extend your hips to raise it off the floor.
- From there, take a deep breath and bend your hips back, allowing the weight to swing back between your legs.
- Swiftly extend your hips and exhale—allowing the momentum to swing the weight up to shoulder level.
- Control the downward movement, but use the movement for the next set.
If you are on a quest to make your legs mini-skirt worthy if you are a woman and thicken your quads and make them more powerful if you are a man, you need to survive these exercises. If you endure the pain and have the stamina to hold the fort, these leg strengthening exercises will help you to get the legs you always wanted. Don’t forget to compliment these exercises with the right nutrition. Give it a shot, we promise you won’t regret it, and don’t hesitate to ask me and clear whatever queries that cross your mind. I’ll be only too happy to help you out. Here’s to happy leg days!