A Quick Guide to Leg Workouts
The legs are the strongest part of your body, so leg workouts often yield better results than other muscle groups. The best leg workouts are the ones which target certain muscles for four to five weeks and then change the routine so that new exercises are added and others removed. That way your muscles are worked in new ways and you never get bored with doing the exact same leg workouts week after week throughout the year.
Before you do any sort of workouts using weights, you need to warm up your muscles first with some aerobic exercise. With leg workouts, you should run, cycle or even walk briskly for fifteen minutes before starting your weight circuit. Depending on whether you are just trying to tone your muscles, grow and strengthen muscles, or stay overall aerobically fit, you will have different goals for your leg workouts and will want to do varying amounts of weights and repetitions.
If you have never used weights before, it is best to go to a gym, at least in the beginning. That’s because you can injure yourself lifting weights without any instruction whatsoever. Form and technique are incredibly important in weight training so that you do not injure your back or any other parts of your body. It is also not always absolutely clear to beginners how machines work and instructions for home equipment are not the easiest to understand. Even if you plan on eventually buying equipment and weight training at home, starting out in a gym will give you the know-how to do the exercises right.
Let’s take a look at several types of leg workouts, what they accomplish, and tips for doing them.
Squats are one of the best leg workouts and they should be at the top of your list when it comes to increasing leg strength. You need a squat rack to do them properly. Always have a spotter if you are using heavy weights. If you have never done squats before, practice using the barbell without weights until you have the form down almost perfectly.
Approach the squat rack and bend down underneath the barbell. Raise your back up underneath the barbell until it is touching your shoulders. Grab the barbell and hold it with both hands. Your back is now under the barbell. Straighten your back, lifting the barbell off the rack and take a step or two backwards until you are entirely clear of the rack. Keep your feet placed shoulder-width apart and then spread out each leg a couple more inches. Keep your back arched and squat down toward the floor. Stop when your quads and the floor are parallel. Return to the starting position and do this exercise for between six and ten reps.
The leg press requires a leg press machine. It is one of the best leg exercises for people with bad backs because the machine has a nice back itself to lean against for support while you do your exercises. Sit in the machine with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Release the bars as you push with your legs until your legs are totally straight. Bring your legs back to the position where you started and do the exact same thing again. Repeat for as many reps as you need, usually in the 6-10 range.
The Leg Extension also requires a leg extension machine. This exercise can really build up your quads. The gym attendant can show you how to adjust the machine if this is your first time. The roller pads should be positioned where you can reach them. Tuck your feet under the roller pads and hold onto the machine handles for support. Lift the weights upwards until your legs are in a straight position. Then, return to the beginning position and repeat for 6-10 reps or however many you have in your workout plan.