Here's a tale as old as time: no one likes chicken legs. We're not just talking about the aesthetic imbalance between being top heavy, and skinny past your waist. It's also how you're neglecting the largest muscle group in your body, and preventing yourself from gaining your full potential, both in terms of performance and gains.
It's time to embrace legs day instead of pushing it aside. If you're starting from ground zero, here are five moves you can do to totally transform your legs.
Leg extensions one of the most straightforward exercises you can do. It targets your quads, and can be done at a machine so you don't have to struggle with weights, especially if you're a beginner. Start off by heading to the leg extensions machine, and adjusting the weights to suit your strength levels. Make sure your legs form a 90-degree angle at this starting position to avoid stressing your joints. Secure your ankles at the foot pad, breathe out and push against the pads and extend your legs as high as you can, while keeping your upper body straight. Inhale, and lower your legs back to the start, all the while feeling the tension in your quads.
LYING LEG CURLS
The hamstrings are another muscle often slighted, even for those who religiously do legs day. Go to the leg curls machine, and position the pad just right below your calves. Keeping your upper body flat on the bench, hold the sides of the machine, exhale and push against the bar, bringing your ankles as close to your butt cheeks as possible. Your thighs and upper body should never move. Breathe in, and slowly release your legs back to the starting position. Never swing or jerk your legs during this move as it's improper form that'll make you more prone to injury.
FRONT BARBELL SQUAT
Here's another all-rounder that's especially useful for beefing up your quads. For safety, do perform this inside a squat rack. Set the bar to match your height and load it up. Bring your arms under the bar, keeping your elbows up, so that its rests on your deltoids. Once the bar touches your delts, cross your arms over your chest and grab the bar to keep things secure. Lift the bar off the rack with your legs and keep your upper body straight. Step away from the rack, and with your feet shoulder's-width apart, begin to slowly bend your knees to lower the body as you breathe in. Your head and upper body should still be facing forth. Continue going down until your calves are slightly less than 90 degrees. Don't let your knees pass your toes. Exhale, and raise the bar by straightening your legs, pushing yourself up through your quads. Repeat.
STANDING CALF RAISES
Getting bulk and definition in your calf muscles is also another essential to legs training. Hold two dumbbells or a barbell of a suitable weight in your hands, and while keeping your knees slightly bent, begin to tip toe, clenching your calves as you're up. Clench and exhale, then hold for one second in the tip toe position before inhaling and returning to the start.
BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUAT
Last up, the glutes. Single-legged and split squats are the best to build up your rear, and the Bulgarian split squat is arguably one of the most effective. Stand in front of a bench, and as if you were performing a lunge, bring your left foot up and rest in on the bench with your toes pointing away from the body. Hold a dumbbell in each hand. Lower your body until your knee almost touches the ground and your right thigh is parallel to the ground. Breathe in, returning to the starting position and repeating for as many reps necessary before changing over to your left leg.
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- September 02, 2017
- Beatrice Bowers