Your legs can do amazing things, including run, jump, kick, dodge, step, pivot, accelerate, leap, balance and turn, just to name a few. Plus, the lower body needs to move in every possible direction at slow, medium and explosive speeds. That’s why you need to make sure your clients are training their legs in a variety of ways. While there are hundreds of great lower-body strength-training options, these five movements are particularly effective for developing optimal leg strength for any sport or life activities your clients may pursue.
Best Workout for You
How much time will you be able to do a leg work out on a consistent basis each week? Your available workout time will help you narrow down which leg exercises will be the most effective for you. A solid, 15-minute leg workout done on a consistent basis can yield results possibly as good as a 30-minute or 1-hour leg workout.
Before you start creating a leg workout plan, think about whether or not you will have access to a treadmill and other gym machines, or if you will be focusing on a simple home workout set up. Equipment like free weights and an exercise mat, if you don't already own them, are relatively cheap alternatives to a gym membership. And there are several leg exercises that do not require access to gym equipment.
If you are an athlete trying to build muscle strength, your workout may be more intense and high impact. If you're looking to tone and shape your legs through basic strength exercises, your workout may be less intense. As well, if you're looking to target a specific muscle (say, your butt, or your thighs), make sure you include exercises that focus on those specific muscles.
Keep in mind the physique of men and women are biologically different, so each gender will naturally build muscle differently. A big misconception is that women can end up with bulky, ripped legs if they do too many leg exercises. In fact, women don't tend to build big muscles because of their lack of testosterone. So, take your physical build and gender into account and set reasonable, healthy goals in terms of your custom workout plan.
If possible, always start your workout with a five to 10-minute cardio and/or stretching warm up. A warmup of some kind, whether it is on a treadmill or going for a jog or quick run outside, is beneficial to help you mentally and physically prepare for your leg workout. Running or jogging twice a week can also improve fat burning and sculpting of your legs. As well, warming up will help to heat up your leg muscles and allow for deeper flexibility and range of motion. Remember, never work out or stretch cold muscles, as this can lead to injury.
Basic exercises like squats, lunges, deadlifts, and calf raises work leg muscles the most effectively. However, there are a lot of great variations of these basic exercises that you can do, using just your body weight or barbells and/or free weights many exercises will target specific muscles so to get the best results, create a well-rounded workout that focuses on several leg muscles.
It may seem obvious, but the best way to build strong muscles is a consistent workout. Does each exercise in sets, starting with lower sets of each exercise and building yourself up to higher sets. Try to commit to a leg work out several nonconsecutive days of the week, as you should give your muscles time to rest. Always be careful not to overstrain or overwork your body.
Quality, not quantity, will lead to better results. Focus on keeping your back straight, and do not hyper extend your leg muscles as this can lead to injury. Use a mirror to check your posture and your form as you do your workout.
Keep track of your progress in a workout notebook or on your phone or computer with one of the many fitness tracking Apps available. Consider adjusting and adding to your existing workout plan. Maybe you have stuck to the same exercises, are starting to see results, and think you can increase the number of sets for a particular exercise, or you may want to add in more intense exercises with a barbell or dumbbell.
Stretching will prevent injury, increase blood circulation, and help with muscle fatigue. It's a vital step in your workout plan that should not be skipped.
Beyond committing to a consistent workout, eating well will ensure you are getting a good dose of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients every day. A balanced diet also means you'll have more energy to complete your workout plan, giving you the right fuel to tone and strengthen your body.