Great Legs Workout

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Friends don’t let friends skip leg day, and for good reason. Legs are just as important to workout as any other muscle group in the body. Legs are one of the largest muscle groups in the body with the quadriceps and hamstrings taking most of the credit. Doing a full leg day workout has more benefits than just developing your lower body. In fact, studies have shown that squats and deadlifts increase the release of growth hormone and testosterone, our natural muscle building hormones, more than any other exercise (Mehdi, 2009)[1]. Working your legs can also count as a full-body workout depending on what exercises you do.

This great legs workout is an example of a lower body circuit. Complete three sets of 15 repetitions. Be mindful to use a weight that will challenge you but not cause injury.

Hamstring Lean

Place your feet under a secure structure or do this exercise with a buddy who will hold your feet sturdy for you. Keeping your hands crossed over your chest, use your core strength to keep your body straight as you lean forward. Lean far enough forward to feel your hamstrings tighten, hold the position and come back to the starting position.

What It Works: hamstrings and glutes, as well as calf muscles.

Split Squat

Place the toes of one foot on a bench positioned behind you. While holding weight, lift the heel of your front foot that is on the ground, so that you are now on your toes. Drive the rear knee down towards the ground while remaining on your toes. Push off the ball of your front foot to go back into starting position. This exercise can also be done without weight, keeping your hands on your hips.

What It Works: quadriceps, glutes, and calves.

One-Leg Deadlift

This exercise can be done with weight or with no weight to increase balance. Standing with one foot flat on the ground, bend your other leg while trying to keep your knees side by side. Use your core muscles to keep your upper body straight as you slowly lower the weight towards the ground. This exercise can be done standing on a block to allow weight to lower further than leg length, increasing flexibility.

What It Works: hamstrings, lower back, glutes, calves and upper back.

Three Point Calf Raise

In this exercise, you will complete three separate movements one after the other until finished.

First: start in neutral (feet side by side, keep your legs straight) raise onto your toes to then lower your heals. This works the calf muscle evenly on both sides. Exercise is suggested to be completed standing on an object that your heals can fully lower allowing for full range of motion of the muscles.

Second: point your toes inward and repeat the stages in step one. This works the outer half of the calf muscle.

Third: point your toes out, repeating the same movements as before, now developing the inner half of your calf muscle.

What It Works: this exercise develops the full potential shape of the gastrocnemius.

[1] Mehdi. (Oct 9th, 2009). STRONG LIFTS: 5 reasons why you should train your legs. Retrieved June 30th, 2013, from http://stronglifts.com/5-reasons-why-train-legs-squats/.

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