Get a Leg Up with This Total Leg Workout
Leg day is typically the one most men dread. Both because of the degree of suffering that can be expected the next day, but also because there are so many muscles in the legs. It’s true— leg workouts can get overly complicated, quick. Especially if you’re striving for a routine you can stick with and that will get you proven results.
Rest assured that this leg workout will target all essential muscles. It’s so effective because it includes both compound exercises that build strength and isolation exercises that will add definition.
So breathe easy—for a few more minutes maybe…
Leg Muscle Tutorial and the Movements to Target Each
There are four major muscle groups involved in any quality leg workout. These groups include:
- commonly referred to as your upper thigh
- made up of four main muscle groups (quad=4)
- aids in running, walking and kicking
- this compound movement works your entire lower body, but your quads most of all
- correct form is key here—grab a spotter until you know you’ve mastered it
- standing with feet hip width apart, bend as if sitting down on a chair
- Isolation exercise that targets just the quads
- go easy on the weight if you have knee problems
- using a machine, with legs relaxed, raise and lower bar across ankles while squeezing quads
- less stress on your back than with a squat
- using a machine and seated in a slight recline, begin with feet on platform at chest height and knees parallel to ankle and simply push until legs are straight without locking knees
- Located on the back side of your thigh
- important for hip mobility and knee flexibility
- Hamstring Raise
- a compound exercise that will gluten as well as hamstrings, as well as calves and lower back
- using a machine, beginning face down with lower body resting on support and resistance bar behind ankle, raise and lower body while squeezing hamstrings
- located on the back of your shins
- critical for any jumping and running action
- play a major role in ankle stability
- Calf Raises
- this movement can be performed on any surface higher than the floor
- simply balance on the edge on your toes and raise and lower your body using your calves
- Toe Press
- using the same machine as for a leg press, lower the weight, using your toes to control its movement back and forth, feeling the action in your calves rather than gluten
- Rear end muscle group
- important for posture (especially for those with desk jobs) and preventing low back injury
- Hip Thrust
- another exercise that can be done anywhere, simply begin by laying flat on your back with knees bent and feet close. raise and lower hips by squeezing glutes to control the speed
- can increase resistance with a barbell or medicine ball
- begin on the floor on your hands and knees in a “table top” position
- one at a time, raise and lower legs, targeting glutes to control movement and speed
Preventing Legs Injury
Aside from including a proper warm up, cool down and dynamic stretching, there are some important considerations to take when targeting leg muscles. Not only are injuries painful and annoying, but more serious ones can set you back weeks to months from your workout goals.
Prevention is everything.
The injuries specific to leg movements including back strain, ligament injuries to the knee, achilles tendonitis, and torn hamstrings. For all of the above the same precautions exist—go slow with weight increases and listen to your body.
And probably the most important—always maintain correct form, technique and proper use of equipment. Doing a movement correctly a few times will serve you much more than completing multiple reps and sets incorrectly.