Great legs cannot be bought nor built overnight. You have to work hard for it. Before you think about skipping those squats, know that it is very important for you to have a very strong lower body. Your legs support your entire body’s weight whenever you walk, stand and when you do many activities on a daily basis. Having strong legs not only look good in shorts. It also helps you produce more power whenever you perform your upper-body exercises. You need strong legs more so if you are sprinting, jumping or running in sports competitions. The good news is that building leg muscles do not have to be a very complicated process. To start, here are some effective leg exercises that will definitely make your leg day much more interesting.
Lunges allow you to perform a movement pattern similar to what you do when you go for a walk. With lunges, you let your body shift weight from one foot to another. This exercise is one great way to tone your thighs. It also works well in strengthening your leg muscles. Start this exercise while you are positioning much like a squat. Keep doing this until you are able to build your confidence in your current form and ready to take it up a notch.
Start in a standing position with your feet together. Step your left foot back by about two feet or depending on your height. Lower your body down so that your knees are bent up to 90 degrees. Then slowly press back up into a standing position. Do this in 10 repetitions for each leg. If you can do it in 3 rounds, do it.
To rev up this exercise, you may add weight to the routine. Hold a kettlebell or dumbbell at your chest, one weight for each side. You may also put your back foot on a bench that is behind you so you can make this exercise into a Bulgarian split squat. This greatly improves your body’s stability.
Single Side Moves
In addition to lunges, which are also considered as single side moves. Other single side exercises that you can perform include staggered deadlifts, split squats and pistol squats. These are the kinds of leg exercises that will help you determine which side of your leg is stronger or is more dominant. Note that your legs work as sisters, which means the other side may be stronger than the other one. One of the aims of doing single side exercises is to help your weaker leg become as strong as your dominant leg. To do this, pay attention to which side of your leg is stronger. Notice how each leg is performing and how you feel while you are doing the single side exercise. If for example, your left leg is weaker, do not try to push it far beyond its limits. Otherwise, you become at risk of getting injured. Just take things slow. Allow your legs to improve gradually and not drastically.
Squats have been proven effective for strengthening quads, calves, hamstrings, and glutes. You can do squats using many variations without the need to use weights. But, you can also do single-leg squats while also adding weight with the use of a medicine ball, dumbbells, a barbell or a kettlebell. To do this, you can stand with your feet apart, in hip-distance. Now, start bending your hips and knees while you send your butt back and then down just like how you are positioned when you are about to sit into a chair. See to it that you are keeping your torso erect. Make sure you are slightly transferring your weight back into your heels. Keep coming down until your thighs become parallel with the floor. If you can do it further or slightly lower. Do not forget to exhale when you start to move your feet so you can push yourself back up and into a standing position.
If you want to opt for barbell squats, you will begin using the barbell that you can see in a squat rack. You have to position the bar squarely right across your shoulders. Try to grasp it wider than your own shoulders. Then, stand up and then start stepping out of the squat rack. If you plan to use dumbbells, think about having them in a resting position against the front part of your shoulders. Check your elbows and see to it that they are bent.
Performing deadlifts is one of the most effective ways of building leg strength. If you are new to this routine, you may practice first doing the basic moves at home before you start doing it with an addition of weight. However, it is important that you master the good techniques of doing deadlifts first before adding weights. This will help spare you from hurting your back.
To do this, stand with your feet apart, in the hip distance. See to it that your kettlebell or dumbbell is placed in front of your shins. This way, it will be easier for you to reach down for it. Now slightly bend your knees. Hinge at your hips while you also lower your torso at the same time. Your back must remain flat. Once you notice your back becoming almost parallel to the ground, you may reach for your weights. Then, start contracting the muscles of your glute as you are also extending your hips at the top of the motion.
These are just a few of the many leg exercises that you can do at home or in the gym. Do not hesitate to do some modifications to your leg routine exercises to make your exercise time more exciting and less monotonous. As a bonus, note that the more you exercise your legs the more that your entire body will also benefit from its metabolic effect. This is because intense leg workouts can do wonders in stimulating the release of growth hormones. In turn, you are more likely to increase its mass and size. However, for every exercise modification that you want to add to your routine, do not forget to consult a fitness expert. This is to ensure you do not injure yourself in the process.