The moral of Don't Skip Legs Day is one largely ignored. It's tiring, often painful, and always challenging for novices, so many shirk it in favour of building arms. But your legs are the biggest muscle group on your body, and if you're working out for improvements to both strength and your physique, then they cannot be ignored.
To get your legs on the right track, here are five essential moves you need to know.
Legs day involves plenty of squatting, and there's no getting past it. Barbell squats are an essential, straightforward move that does wonders for your glutes. Have a barbell supported across your traps, and keep your chest up. Have your legs shoulder-width apart, with your feet slightly turned out. Begin to squat, keeping your hips steady. Your knees should be the one driving the movement. All the weight should be located on the front of your heels. As you ascend, drive the weight upwards and repeat.
Leg presses are an effective way to build your quad muscles, which are the most visible muscles on your legs. Head to a leg press machine, and load up your desired weight. Place your feet shoulder-width apart on the platform, and unlock the machine. Extend your legs fully forward, exhale, and bring your knees to your chest. You should feel the movement in your quads and drive with your hips. Repeat for as many times needed.
WEIGHTED REAR LUNGES
Hamstrings are perhaps the most neglected muscle, and these rear lunges will help you build them, alongside your quads and glutes. With two dumbbells in your hands, use one of your legs to step backwards, lowering your body down. Your torso should be kept upright, and your body stable. As you're going down, make sure your knees aren't going beyond your toes. To go back to the starting point, push your body back up with the balls of your feet. Repeat the move on the alternate leg.
Head over to the thigh abductor machine to work your hip area, which does constitute the leg muscles, as they train both your inner and outer thigh areas. Select a weight, and sit down with your hands on the handles. Your upper body should be straight. Press against the machine with your thighs, spreading them open as you exhale. Hold for a second at your limit, before slowly returning to start. Repeat as necessary.
The final muscle you can't shirk are your calves. This is an easy move that will help you bulk the muscles there. Whether done with a machine, seated, or standing, calf raises are the definitive moves to build your calves. Place a barbell over your traps, or have two dumbbells on hand. Stand upright, but don't lock your knees. Begin getting on tiptoe, and returning to the starting position. Do as many times as needed.
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- March 11, 2017
- Beatrice Bowers