Most people ignore the benefits of exercising for healthy legs. I mean, think about it, when was the last time you prioritized leg exercises? I doubt you’d remember.
The legs are unbelievably important to the body, which makes it more intriguing that we never try to keep them fit. Your legs support everything, from your posture to balance. So, why the apathy?
Anyway, enough of that. In this article, I’ll be helping to select the appropriate workout type and best leg exercises for you. Lest I forget, we are focusing on bodyweight exercises here, so you do not require any equipment.
Selecting The Appropriate Workout Type
There are several types of bodyweight exercises, and the choice you’re making usually depends on your goals. Your focus can be on strength, power, hypertrophy (muscle growth), or conditioning. Whatever your objective is, we’ll walk through how you can achieve it.
Strength and Progression
A strength and progression workout for the legs typically consists of 4 – 8 reps, is slower, and demands longer resting periods in-between sets than other exercises do. The aim here is to strengthen muscle fibers and develop stronger legs generally. For this to be successful, you have to make the workout harder set after set, basically by engaging more physical variations of the exercises.
This is often termed “progressive overload,” which requires you to increase the toughness of a workout as you get used to it. For example, you may start with squats, but as soon as you can comfortably do 7 – 8 reps, you have to make it more difficult, which can be by adding extra weight like dumbbells and barbells.
Whereas a strength workout aims to strengthen the muscle fibers you have already, hypertrophy seeks to grow more muscles. A hypertrophy workout consists of 8 – 12 reps, and contrary to what you may think, consistent practice does not give you a frightening bulk of leg muscles — except you’re specifically asking for it.
Building your muscles can be done by working out the lower body, particularly the legs. There are some movements you can try out to this effect. Keep in mind that the laws of progressive overload apply here as well.
If your goal is more leg power, be ready for fast, explosive flurry of movements, such as box jumps and jump squats. A power workout has some effects on your conditioning also because it gets your heart rate higher than usual. Exercises in this plan can be useful in shedding weight when brought in during a strength workout.
Conditioning focuses on building your cardiovascular endurance through pulsating movements that keep your heart racing. Each of these movements can be included in a workout or be a workout itself. They include swimming, cycling, biking, running, sled pushing, and climbing.
You can substitute these movements with lighter ones like jogging or walking on non-strength days.
Best Movements In Exercising For Healthy Legs
Bodyweight leg exercises generally fall in 4 categories, each of which has either progression, regressions, or variations. These four exercises make up an effective workout for legs, and with constant practice, you’re reaching your goals faster than you think.
Squats are the fundamental movements of most leg exercises. They have to go along with a good form to avoid muscle imbalances or injury.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Start to lower yourself with your shoulders forward-pointing as much as you can. Continue until the quads or hamstring, which is your thigh, becomes parallel to the floor. Return to starting position.
A common pitfall with people engaging in bodyweight squats is that they hardly lower themselves enough and, likewise, fail to keep their bodies upright as they should when squatting.
Experts put this down to weak leg strength and therefore suggest that you use a chair when you’re just starting.
Lunges work the legs more and therefore hit the points you may have missed with squats.
With a shoulder-width distance between your feet, lift and move the left leg forward such that your balance is in the middle while your knee is in alignment with your foot.
Proceed to lower your body until the back of your knee is a few inches above the floor and raise yourself back, ensuring that your back is straight throughout. Assume initial posture and repeat the movement with the right leg to complete a rep.
You can increase the difficulty of this with jumping or rear lunges.
Side steps are crucial to leg development because they move in a plane of motion that’s unusual to the body, thereby helping to strengthen areas of the body that may be neglected or underworked. Sidestepping hits muscle groups that are hardly worked on the medial (inner) and lateral (outer) sides of the body.
Assuming a shoulder-length width between your feet, move your right leg to the side. With your weight and balance on the planted left, start to lower your body according to how the other leg moves out.
Return your right leg to its original position, still keeping your balance on the left. Repeat the same movement, this time with the right leg staying still while the left is extended.
What do you make of yoga poses? I mean, you are just in a fixed position for such a long while. Well, here’s what it is. When you assume a static position, the muscles of the parts involved are engaged and worked. This is sometimes called an isometric exercise.
Statics are excellent to improve balance and endurance and are as well helpful in fortifying connective tissue, such as tendons and ligaments. Exercises you can do include yoga holds, wall sits, and bridges.
Conclusion on Exercising For Healthy Legs
Regularly exercising for healthy legs is essential for excellent overall health. With fit, sturdy legs, you have a better posture, enhanced stamina for daily activities, and a beautiful body. There isn’t anything stopping you, except your tired legs.