Leg strength can be developed by both walking, running and of course using a leg press in the gym, however, as time passes, your legs grow acclimated to the action and may eventually reach a plateau. Your performance can be affected by this as well, which may inhibit muscle growth and just be an overall downer on your leg training progress!
Leg workouts are an important part of strength training and as the age old gym saying goes, you shouldn’t skip leg day!
As you get older, it’s crucial to maintain strong legs. You can enhance your balance to prevent falls and trips by having strong legs. The following four leg exercises can be helpful when incorporated into your leg workout, so let’s get started! Follow along with me by watching the video on our YouTube channel!
4 of the best leg exercises to build leg strength
Slow tempo squats
Tempo squats are an advanced training method where you slow down the lowering phase of the exercise. With tempo squats, you could spend 3-10 seconds just doing the lowering portion of each rep!
These slow lowering phases increase the eccentric stress on your muscles, which creates a powerful stimulus for size and strength gains.
How to do it:
- Prepare for your squat by setting up any necessary equipment and taking your desired stance ideally with feet shoulder width apart.
- Pushing your hips back and simultaneously bending at the knees, squat down while bracing your core and keeping your torso upright. Push your knees out when you stoop to keep them from buckling inward.
- When you start to descend, count to three seconds and travel at a speed that enables your thighs to be parallel to the ground at that time.
- In order to get up again, take a little pause before pushing through both of your feet. Make a point of pushing through the entirety of each foot as you powerfully push the floor away.
- In order to avoid straining your lower back when you stand back up, lightly clench your glutes as you do so. Finish with your legs straight.
Bulgarian Split Squat
The lifted back foot is the only distinction from a split squat. By putting extra weight on the front leg and testing your balance, which further utilises your core, this tiny adjustment significantly increases the movement’s complexity.
How to do it:
- Put the top of your foot on the bench, plates, or other elevated surface you’re utilising as a step by first stepping your back foot back onto it.
- Place your front foot in front of you, so that the heel is in front of your hip.
- When beginning the Bulgarian Split Squat, the bench height should be low—around 6-10″ is fine—and can be raised as your hip flexibility, strength, and balance develop. An average height is usually around 18”.
- Keep your torso in line with your back leg, leaning slightly forward, while controlling your descent until your back knee contacts or almost touches the ground. Around 80% of the weight should be distributed across the front foot, with the remaining 20% falling on the back foot.
- Make sure your front knee doesn’t slide too far in front of your toes or cave into the sides. Additionally, make sure the descent is controlled; ideally, it should only take you a few seconds to reach the exercise’s bottom.
- Drive through the heel of your front foot to return to a standing position. Throughout the entire workout, you should lean slightly forward so that your sine is in line with the back leg.
Squat With Reverse Lunge
This movement is two exercises in one, so requires coordination and balance.
How to do it:
- Standing up, place both feet shoulder-width apart on the ground. Draw your hips forward toward your belly button gently (engage pelvic floor). Your starting point is here.
- Breathe in and tighten your abdominal muscles. Squat down by bending at the hips and knees at the same time. Make sure to maintain a proud chest and keep your knees from falling in (don’t let them fall in). Maintain this posture.
- Once your thighs are parallel to the ground in the squat position, take a big step backward with your right foot into a reverse lunge. Your front knee should be in line with your ankle while doing the move correctly, and your rear knee should be just off the ground.
- Take a breath out, shift your body weight to your left foot and step forward again with the right foot to get back to where you were.
- Repeat the squat movement, then step back with the left leg. For the set number of repetitions or amount of time, alternate between the sides.
- Throughout this exercise, your quads, glutes and core should all feel tense.
The wall sit exercise works the muscles on the front of your thighs, which is a great quad burner. This exercise is typically done to strengthen the quadriceps muscle group, the glutes, and the calves isometrically.
Although the wall sit is a simple exercise, many individuals perform it incorrectly. If your hips and knees are at a straight angle (90 degrees), your back is flat against the wall, and your heels are on the floor, you are doing the wall sit correctly. The quad region should begin to feel slightly tense, but not so much that it feels injured. This exercise can be incorporated into any lower body workout.
How to do it:
- Beginning with your back against a wall, your feet should be about two feet away from the wall and at shoulder width.
- Squeeze your abs and slowly glide your back down the wall until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
- Your feet should be adjusted such that your knees are squarely over your ankles (rather than over your toes).
- Maintain a flat back against the wall.
- Hold the stance for 20–60 seconds.
- Make your way back up the wall until you are standing.
- After 60 seconds of rest, perform the exercise three more times. As your strength improves, extend your hold time by five seconds at a time.
Remember to warm up!
When working out with weights, you should always warm up before your workout and cool down after. This can help to avoid injuries, especially to the leg muscles. Warm-ups can include things like jogging, stretching, and body-weight exercises. Cooldowns should include plenty of stretching.
Wear shoes with a good grip to keep you in position during your exercises. Make sure to keep your back straight during exercises, especially ones where you are bending over like the deadlift.
Your best chance of perfecting these exercises is by working with a personal trainer who can ensure you are maintaining the right technique and make sure you’re achieving your goals!
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