We have so many body parts that we can strengthen and build; our back, arms, glutes, abs and legs just to name a few. Our abs usually play center stage and get most of the attention but as for me, I think to myself who wouldn’t want strong shapely legs? Shapely legs are much to easier to achieve than trying to get six pack abs any day.
Our abs are important but our legs work hard too. They carry our bodies wherever we choose to go; perhaps this is the reason that the legs house the biggest muscles in the body. Since we rely so much on our legs, it’s important to maintain their strength.
It’s not so much about having a ‘thigh gap’ anymore – who ever really had one of those, anyway? It’s about keeping the legs and glutes strong and functioning properly, which will result in less aches and pains – especially for the lower back and knees.
Want strong shapely legs? Here’s what you can do.
There are many exercises that can create and maintain leg strength, so there is always a variety for you to choose from to make sure you don’t get bored with your routine. Lunges and squats, for example, work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, adductors and calves – as long as they’re performed correctly.
I know what you’re saying – that’s only two exercises! But there are many different kinds of lunges. There are stationary, forward, reverse and side lunges. Whichever ones you’re performing, make sure your knee isn’t extending over the toe of the forward leg, as this will cause too much pressure on your knee. When done correctly, the weight is focused on the back leg as you descend and when you rise, the concentration should be on the heel of the forward leg.
There are also numerous types of squats. You can choose from sumo, shoulder width, narrow stance and Bulgarian split squats. You can add difficulty and resistance with weights or bands, or you can simply change the speed – slow them down, or do jump squats.
Deadlifts are another great exercise that effectively works the lower back and hamstrings. Single leg deadlifts work on balance and stability through the entire leg, including your feet!
If you have a stability ball, you can master the hamstring curl-up. This exercise effectively fills out the back of your leg, making your squats so much easier to perform.
Working your calves will keep them strong and shapely. Calf raises are a great exercise for this, along with power exercises that incorporate jumps – long jumps, side jumps and jumping jacks are a few examples.
If your upper leg muscles are weak or imbalanced, you may need to start by doing exercises that don’t bend the knee in order to stabilize and strengthen the knee first. Perform straight leg lifts and side leg lifts; isometrics are also helpful because they strengthen without putting strain on the joint caused by performance repetitions.
Need help? Have questions? I’m here to make it easier. If you have questions, then let’s connect. Book yourself a pressure-free, 20 minute Fitness Breakthrough session. I will help figure out what you need in order to become stronger and healthier version of yourself.
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