Why Perform Leg Strengthening Exercises?
I bet we all know someone (or have seen someone in the gym) who looks like they don’t work out their legs at all. Chicken leg disorder is common among those that do not perform leg strengthening exercises. This is an unfortunate sight to see, especially at the gym – a place where we go to build muscle everywhere, not just our upper halves.
So on a quest to find the best leg strengthening exercises, I decided to head to my local 24 hour fitness to see what others were doing and what worked for them. I found quite a few guys that never trained their legs. It was an awkward time.
I did however find a few guys who were doing basic exercises to strengthen their legs. I happened to see Terry Crews there and his legs are massive. He is one of the few guys that knows the steps to building lean muscle. He was doing squats.
Now, up until recently I wasn’t a big fan of telling people to do squats with added weight. Why? Because most people don’t do them correctly. Posture is key with squats. If you don’t have your posture down even the slightest bit, you can hurt your lower back pretty badly. Although, squats are a great way to build leg muscle. So, I recommend starting off doing body weight squats (no weight). Make sure that when you lower your body down, your knees do not pass your toes. Keeping your knees vertically parallel with your toes will prevent any extra strain on your knees. Focus on which muscles you’re trying to train during this exercise and you’ll get better results.
If you have a hard time going down to a 90° angle, try doing wall squats. Wall squats are great for skiers and snowboarders because it allows you to strengthen your legs while getting support from a wall. Here’s a picture to demonstrate wall squats using an exercise ball:
Try holding your 90° angle for 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Lunges Aren’t Used Enough
Lunges get you tired, fast. Lunges replace that lame leg extension machine that only targets 1 muscle group at a time. This is a full body workout.
Do lunges for 1 minute, then rest for 20 seconds. Repeat. Do this for 5 sets. If you can’t do this full time, start slow. You will eventually work up enough strength to perform this exercise.
Do Yoga for Leg Strengthening
Yoga. Yeah, I said it. Yoga is a great way to strengthen your legs. You’re performing a lot of body weight movements that require you to stand for many seconds in one place, and balancing can work out all parts of your legs. There are a few poses in particular that really work your legs like twisting chair pose (below), runners pose, and warrior 2.
Perform 5 sets of 30 seconds of holding. Rest for 20 seconds in between each set. If you are unable to hold for 30 seconds, try less time. Slowly you’ll be able to strengthen your legs enough to hold this position.
Hopefully these 3 leg strengthening exercises have motivated you to start working your legs out in different ways. Don’t just follow the crowd to the leg extension machine. This machine targets 1 muscle at a time. You will get better results doing bodyweight exercises that require balance, posture, and strength.