5 leg workouts to get you ready for Spring break
Are you looking to tone your legs for spring break? Then you came to the right place!
Strong legs help with everyday life, as you will have an easier time walking up and down stairs, lifting heavy loads (since you should be lifting with your legs), and just being mobile in general. Leg workouts such as squats, lunges and step-ups develop tone legs and give you the confidence to bare them in shorts!
In order to tone your legs, you will want to push your muscles to or almost to failure. You want to work them hard and then let them rest and grow.
It would be most appropriate for you to dedicate 1 or possibly 2 days, if you have good recovery ability, to your leg training. Your goal for each exercise will be to lift heavy enough weights so that you can successfully complete 10 to 12 repetitions per set, while performing 3-4 sets per exercise.
Your rest periods should last between 45 and 60 seconds. This length of rest gives your muscles enough time to recover so you can lift heavy again, but not enough time to allow them to rest too long as this will decrease the amount of anabolic hormones you release.
1. Barbell squats
A barbell squat is a push-type, compound exercise which works primarily your quadriceps, but also trains your glutes, hamstrings, and calves, as well as muscles in your lower back.
- Stand with feet shoulder width apart and toes facing in front of you. Place the barbell on your shoulders, below the trapezius muscles (NOT on your neck!).
- Keeping your back flat, slowly lower your body, bending at the knees and the hips. Stop when your legs form a 90 degree angle. Do not let your knees go forwards past your toes.
- Slowly push through your heels to return to the starting position, contracting the thigh muscles. You should aim to do 3-4 sets hitting around 10 or 12 reps.
2. Romanian deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is a very effective and great muscle building exercise which works both on your lower back muscles, but more significantly and primary used muscles when it comes to this exercise, are your hamstrings.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a barbell at thigh level. Your hands should be about shoulder-width apart.
- Keeping your back straight, bend at your waist and sit your hips back to lower the bar.
- Keep the bar close to your shins and lower as far as your flexibility allows.
- Forcefully contract your glutes to extend at your hips and stand up. You should aim to do 3-4 sets hitting around 10 or 12 reps.
3. Bulgarian split squat
Bulgarian split squats work the glute muscles as well as the upper leg muscles. The target muscle is the quadriceps with the gluteus maximus, soleus and adductor magnus working to assist.
- Position yourself into a staggered stance with the rear foot elevated and front foot forward
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand, letting them hang at the sides. This will be your starting position
- Begin by descending, flexing your knee and hip to lower your body down. Maintain good posture throughout the movement. Keep the front knee in line with the foot as you perform the exercise.
- At the bottom of the movement, drive through the heel to extend the knee and hip to return to the starting position. You should aim to do 3-4 sets hitting around 10 or 12 reps for each leg
4. Stationary lunges
The stationary lunge works several muscle groups at once. The targeted muscles include the glutes in your hips and butt along with the hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs. The calf muscles in your lower legs, your abdominal muscles and your back muscles act as stabilizers during this exercise. Lunges also help your body burn calories for weight loss.
- While holding dumbells to your sides, stand tall with your feet hip distance apart then take a large step backward with one foot. This is your start position.
- Lower the back knee to a 90 degree angle so both knees are bent then press up to start position and repeat. You should aim to do 3-4 sets hitting around 10 or 12 reps for each leg
5. Weighted step ups
Step-ups primarily work your quadriceps, the muscles in the front of your thighs, and involve both your knee and hip joints. However, other muscles involved include your glutes, calves and hamstrings, which assist in the movement.
- Grab a barbell and put it on your shoulders or a pair of dumbbells of the same weight and keep your palms facing inwards towards your legs. Don't go too heavy on the weight if it's your first time trying this exercise.
- Put your right foot up on a weight bench or platform. Then step up on it by extending your hip and right knee. Try and breathe out during this movement and remember to keep your back straight as you step up.
- Go ahead and step back down with your left leg and then return to the initial starting position. That is one set complete, for the next one simply repeat the exercise but start with your left leg instead.
- You should aim to do 3-4 sets hitting around 10 or 12 reps for each leg. Don't forget to take a little 45-60 second breather between each set as you'll probably need it.
Looking for more great leg exercises? Check out our full list of leg workouts.
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Topics: LivRite News