Training Your Legs: Your Body's Greatest Untapped Resource
Since they comprise roughly 40 percent of your total weight, your legs are one of your body's greatest untapped resources. The leg itself is composed of several muscle groups. Working them efficiently releases powerful hormones to promote strong muscle growth. You can also amp up calorie burn by performing multi-joint exercises such as Lunges, Squats, Leg Presses and Jumps.
However, many of these exercises are improperly executed. With all leg exercises, it's important to avoid spinal flexion, because this can cause disk herniation. To prevent this, let me first drop a few hints on proper form.
- Squats: Make sure to keep your chest out and your butt back. Press from your heels and go down to at least 90 degrees.
- Lunges: Keep your neck neutral, contract your rhomboids and traps and never allow your knees to go past your toes.
- Leg Presses: Keep your toes pointed slightly out (10-15 degrees) and don't let your lower back come off the mat.
As previously mentioned, your legs are a huge untapped resource. To reach your potential, start working them out three times a week. On non-consecutive days, perform the following leg workouts. Make sure to do a dynamic stretching routine beforehand. And modify the sets and reps if you have knee and/or low back problems.
- Back Squats: 5x5 - 8 reps
- Front Squats & Back Squats: 3x10 reps (compound set)
- Stiff Legged Deadlifts and Calf Raises: 3x10
- Single Leg Bosu Ball Squat: 5x3 (see video)
- Vertical Jumps: 5x5
- Sumo Squats and Leg Presses: 3x10 (compound set)