Upper Leg:In the Upper Leg there are 3 major muscles: The Quadriceps: These are the large muscles on the front of your upper leg. They are responsible for extending your leg from being bent to straight. The Hamstrings: The hamstrings are on the back of your upper leg. Their job is to contract your leg back into a bent state. The Glutes: The Glute is essentially your butt. It provides a soft cushion to sit on but also shouldn’t be left out!
Lower Leg:In your lower leg there is essentially one main muscle, the calves. These help with your balance and general walking and running. DID YOU KNOW? Doing squats and legs at the start of your training week increases the release of Growth Hormone and Testosterone throughout the week more than any other exercise. This means that not only do your legs grow but also the rest of your body will benefit!
Exercises for Legs
Legs #1 - Good Mornings[caption id="attachment_3619" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Good Morning[/caption] To start off is Good Mornings. You might think it doesn’t really work your legs but is a very good movement. There aren’t many exercises better for your posterior chain than Good Mornings and they come with the added benefit of engaging your core, your back, as well as hitting your hamstrings and your glutes. To perform the exercise, place a bar on the back of your shoulders, similar to a squat. Then, lower your body by bending at the hips until your body is parallel to the floor. Slowly stand back up straight.
Legs #2 - Squats[caption id="attachment_3620" align="aligncenter" width="620"] Squats[/caption] The second exercise is Squats. They were always going to come up, so let’s get them done and over with. Squats are the King of all leg exercises. They target your Quadriceps, Calves, Glutes, Hamstrings and Lower Back, all super effectively. A good quote I always use is “Doing a leg work out without squats is like making chocolate without cocoa.” To perform the squat, place a barbell on the back of your shoulders. Squat down so your upper leg is parallel to the ground, but keep your head up high. Slowly stand back up.
Legs #3 - Stiff Legged Deadlifts[caption id="attachment_3621" align="aligncenter" width="294"] Stiff Legged Deadlifts are great for legs[/caption] Stiff Legged Deadlifts are the next exercise. This is a variation of the standard deadlift, but changed up so your legs get targeted more. Mainly hitting your hamstrings, it also works the lower back and the glutes. To perform the stiff legged deadlift, grab a barbell on the floor with an overhand grip, so your palms are down facing towards you. Raise the barbell while keeping your knees locked and your legs straight, you should feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Keep your back straight and your head up. Lower the bar in the same manner, keeping tension on your hamstrings.
Legs #4 - Split Squat[caption id="attachment_3622" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Split squats require a bench[/caption] A split squat is a single-leg squat and focusses on each leg separately. It mainly works the Quads but also has great effect on the Calves, Glutes and Hamstrings. To perform this, start in the same position as the normal squat. Place one foot on a bench behind you in such a manner that the leg you are standing on has the knee in line with the ankle i.e. is perfectly straight. Then proceed to squat down so the knee of your standing leg touches the floor. Beginning this exercise with dumbbells is a very good idea so you can check and practise your form.
Legs #5 - Calf Raises[caption id="attachment_3623" align="aligncenter" width="216"] Don't forget your calf muscles with calf raises[/caption] Calves are often neglected in a leg workout but are important for that even leg shape. Calf raises hit the calves very well and in isolation, which means it only uses that one muscle. To perform a calf raise, place a barbell on your back and raise your feet onto your tiptoes. This will isolate the calves and for even greater tension, pause for a second or two at the top.
ConclusionIn conclusion, these are 5 great exercises that will impact your whole leg from top to bottom Putting these into your next leg workout will give you DOMs like never before and make sure your legs are pumped. To make sure you get the best out of your workout, treat your wheels to some protein after your workout with a great tasting cheap protein that will ensure your legs get huge quick!