We’ve all seen pictures of those guys who skip legs day. They’re these huge hulking fellas with massive pecs and bulging arms… but then they have tiny little legs holding that all up. It looks ridiculous, it’s terrible for their posture and their health and it actually prevents them from developing as much muscle as they should in every other area. Our legs contain the largest muscles in our bodies and by training these we can put our entire bodies into a much more anabolic state where we enjoy more muscle growth and fat burning throughout the entire day. Forget to train your legs and you severely limit your ability to grow, thereby greatly wasting a lot of hard work.
The question is then, how do you get your legs to respond quickly and effectively to training? Read on and we’ll look at some of the very best exercises out there for the legs that can help build them up to awesome proportions without taking up too much of the time you’d rather was spent training the upper body.
Squats: The squats are the single most important exercise you will do in the gym. Here you take the weight on a barbell across your shoulders then simply squat down and then push yourself back up. This requires strength in your hamstrings, glutes, quadriceps and even calves to an extent and triggers a massive anabolic response that leads to great increases in overall strength. Put simple, if you aren’t squatting, you aren’t growing as much as you could be.
Deadlift: The deadlift is an exercise that involves lifting a barbell straight off of the ground. Alongside the squat it is one of the most efficient exercises for triggering growth across a large proportion of your musculature. It’s also perfect for building the ‘posterior chain’ which will give you more power in pretty much every other movement.
Kettlebell Swing: The problem with the squat and deadlift is that you need a squatting rack, a barbell and lots of very heavy weight. This makes it rather tricky to use at home but fortunately there is a viable alternative: the kettlebell swing. Kettlebells are weights with handles attached to them that you can throw and swing around and the swing involves repeatedly swinging it back between your legs then up and forward with straight arms. It’s a great way to build power in the legs as well as endurance in your posterior chain and it also happens to burn a lot of fat.
Calf Raises: Calf raises involve pushing yourself up onto tip toes from the edge of a raised platform in order to train the calves. Don’t neglect these as skinny calves are something that plague far too many people with otherwise good physiques.
Calf Jumps: Calf raises are one of the only good exercises people use for training their calves which tends to make this part of the workout a little dull. A great alternative one to use then is the ‘calf jump’. Here you stand flat on your feet then launch yourself into the air by going onto tip-toe – keeping your knees entirely straight. This way you can train the explosive fast-twitch fibers in your calves with no weights necessary.
Try a few of these and you should start to see huge gains not only in your legs, but also in the entire of your body!