Increase Your Lean Muscle Mass, Burn More Fat & Improve Your Sports Performance
Yeah, I know. You want bigger pecs and bulging biceps. But if you're focusing too much on your upper body, not only will you look disproportionate, but you will also miss out on the enormous fitness benefits inherent in training your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calf muscles, including increasing your overall lean muscle mass, which, in turn, improves your calorie and fat burning capabilities, and improving your performance in all sports. So, stop your moaning and start squatting.
All bodyparts should be trained from a variety of angles to maximize muscle fiber recruitment. This advice becomes even more important with legs since your quads are composed of four different muscles, the hamstrings are made up of three and a slew of fibers “come in from the north, south, east and west” to form your glutes.
Below are a few workout suggestions to help sculpt your lower half.
"Get Fit or Die Trying"
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding dumbells at your sides. Take one giant step forward with your right foot, and upon your foot's landing, bend your right knee at a 90° angle, making sure your knee stays behind your toes, while simultaneously bending your left leg toward the floor.
Muscles worked: glutes, quads, calves
Standing with your heels hanging off the edge of a step, holding dumbbells by your sides, push yourself up onto your toes, and slowly come down. Again, aim for 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, increasing the weight if you feel that it is not challenging enough.
Muscles worked: calves
Sit on the leg extension machine, with your knees bent and the foot pad on your shins. Straighten your legs, until they are parallel to the floor. Then bring them back down.
Muscles worked: quads
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, making sure not to lock your knees. Hold a barbell loaded with weights, palms facing down, hands shoulder-width apart, making sure not to lock your elbows. Keeping your back straight, bend forward at the waist, bringing the barbell down near your ankles. Using your hamstrings and your buttocks (not your back), come back up to your starting position, with a slight thrusting motion. You know the drill.
Muscles worked: hamstrings, glutes
Prone Leg curls
Climb onto the leg curl machine, gripping the handlebars and placing the foot pad just above your heels. Bend your legs, bringing your heels toward your buttocks, but not touching it; slowly bring them back down. Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps, making sure you are using enough weight.
Muscles worked: calves
Stay in "the cage," but with your feet shoulder-width apart, and toes straight ahead or slightly outward. Place the barbell across the back of your shoulders and traps (again, not your neck). Grip the bar with your hands slightly wider than your shoulders. Keeping your back straight, slowly sit back, bending your knees, until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Return to your starting position by pushing from your heels. Do 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps.
Muscles worked: quads, glutes, calves
Climb into the leg press machine, place your feet hip-width apart on the platform, with your toes facing slightly outward. Lower the platform until your knees are at a 90° angle. Press the platform back up until your legs are nearly straight; do not lock your knees.
For a more intense workout, try doing one leg at a time.
Muscles worked: quads, glutes, calves, hamstrings