Exercises are imperative if you want to maintain excellent physical health. For maximum results, you must incorporate different exercises targeting different muscle groups. Considering we all have different body types and fitness goals, it’s advisable to do your due diligence and find specific exercises that will work for you. The main focus of this article is exercises aimed at strengthening the leg muscles. Hopefully, you will find a few to include in your routine.
Squats are arguably one of the best resistance exercises considering they help strengthen almost all the muscles in your lower body. Also, they are both beginner- and advanced-training friendly. To do this workout, follow the steps below:
- If you are a beginner, plop a four-legged chair behind you and place your feet a few centimeters wider than shoulder length.
- Act as if you are about to sit on the chair but stand back up before you sit.
If you are advanced, the procedure is the same. The only thing that changes is you don’t have to use the chair as you have mastered the correct form. Also, you can use resistance bands on your lower legs to increase difficulty.
2. Leg Press
If you have access to a leg press, consider using it to strengthen your thighs and gain some impressive muscle definition. The best part about this machine is it forces your spine and torso into a relaxed state, meaning your legs get to do the most work.
Here is how to go about this exercise:
- Start by selecting a weight that aligns with your fitness level and goals.
- Sit on the leg press machine and place your legs on the platform.
- Push the platform until it reaches its limit and slowly revert to the initial position.
Also, please try not to lock out your legs completely to protect your knees from injury. One sign that you are doing too much is when your hips lift off the seat as you revert the platform to the starting position.
3. Dumbell Lunges
If you have some workout experience, consider trying dumbbell lunges. If done well, you are guaranteed to feel a burn in your hamstrings, glutes, hips and quadriceps in about 15 reps. Here is how to go about it:
- Grab two dumbbells with enough weight for your liking and hold them on both sides.
- Place your feet at the hip’s width distance and ensure your torso is upright.
- Place one foot a step forward, then bend it at a 90-degree angle. Also, ensure both feet lay flat on the ground.
- Stand back up, distributing your weight to both legs.
- Repeat the above steps for the other leg, then keep alternating till your reps are over.
4. Romanian Deadlift
Romanian deadlifts are a great place to start if you are trying to strengthen your hamstrings and increase their mobility. Also, you can use barbells or dumbbells to increase the difficulty level.
- Stand upright while holding your dumbbells/barbells on either side.
- Slowly stoop over as you bend your hips and lower your torso.
- Stop bending when you feel a strain at the back of your thigh, as it will mean your hamstring is at capacity.
- Stand back up by putting your hips forward.
5. Box Jumps
Box jumps significantly improve one’s agility and power. If you’re just starting, try going with a few boxes and gradually increase the height as your leg muscles gain more strength. Here is how to go about this exercise:
- Stack the box jump cushions to your preferred height, then stand in front of it with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Swing your arms back and master as much energy as possible to jump on the box.
- For safety purposes, try to land in the middle of the box with both feet touching the surface simultaneously.
- Get back down one foot at a time and repeat the steps above for the rest of your reps.
6. Step-Up Lunges
Nothing better than step-up lunges to get your heart pumping and strengthen your leg muscles. To perform this exercise, follow the steps below:
- Get the stool or bench on which you will perform the lunges and place one foot on top of it and the other on the floor. It is imperative to ensure that the height of the box allows you to stand upright with a level pelvis.
- The leg on top of the box should be bent at 90 degrees and then dropped into a lunge.
- Return to the starting potion and keep alternating the legs for the rest of the reps.
7. Stability Ball Knee Tucks
A stability ball is an excellent accessory for mobility and strengthening your leg muscles. There are several ways to use a stability ball, depending on which leg muscles you want to target the most. Keeping that in mind, below is a beginner-friendly guide.
- Kneel on the floor and place the stability ball in front of you.
- Place both hands on the ball and ensure your knees are perfectly aligned in a straight line with your hips, chest and chin.
- Tighten your core muscles, then slowly roll the stability ball forward until you feel a pinch in your upper leg muscles. Please make sure you maintain an aligned posture for maximum results.
- Get back into the starting position and repeat.
8. Calf Raises
Calf raises are simple but quite effective in strengthening your calf muscles. Here is how to go about it:
- Stand upright with feet shoulder-width apart. If you are a beginner, you might want to use a chair or a wall for balance.
- Proceed to lift your toes off the ground as high as possible and maintain that position for a few seconds. For maximum results, keep your poster aligned and your core engaged.
- Lower yourself back down and repeat the above steps.
A workout routine will be at par with the recommended standards if it contains some leg muscle exercises. If done well, you will not only have strong and agile leg muscles but also reduce the risk of ever injuring your legs. Skim through the above article to find exercises worth adding to your leg day routine.