The muscles in the legs have long been underdeveloped by many self-proclaimed “gym rats.” I see countless guys in my gym with impressive, developed upper bodies on top of a very average lower bodies. Leg exercises are just not the popular thing to do in the gym. However, development of the calves, hamstrings, glutes, and quads are vital for having a complete body. In addition, there are numerous other benefits to hitting legs hard in the gym. Some of these benefits include:
- Hormone release – Squats, dead-lifts, and other intense compound leg movements release testosterone into the body more so than any other workout.
- Stronger Core – Leg workouts develop the entire body, including the vital core muscle groups that are vital for functional health as one ages.
- Proportional Body – By training legs just as intensely as chest or shoulders; your body will be symmetrical and not look foolish.
- Burn more Fat – Compound leg movements burn more fat that many other of your favorite exercises (especially the glamour muscles).
Here are two videos I found showing two awesome leg movements. After doing them as part of my routine for several weeks now, I definitely felt soreness like never before.
Mike Rashid is one of my go-to guys for amazing workout videos. In the above video (the exercise is 1:05-4:30), the first workout these guys do is outstanding. Utilizing the hack squat machine, Mike emphasizes the bottom part of the squat movement. They begin with a 5x5x5 movement; 5 reps from the bottom to halfway, 5 from the top down to halway, and 5 complete squats. They then do a brutal 30 reps of the bottom to halfway part of the squat. This was the first time I saw this in a video After incorporating this workout into my leg routine (with much less weight), my legs were destroyed. From the waist down, my lower half was sore for a few days. The entire video is great, as are the rest of Mike’s videos.
Muscle(s) worked: The top of the hamstring and the glutes are the primary targets of this exercise.
Rob Riches is another guy who I watch a lot of. In this video, Riches does single-leg lunges (can also be done using the smith machine). While not a truly unique exercises; lunges are often neglected due to their complexity and sheer brutality. They are a difficult movement that people often avoid. Add them to your leg workout and reap the benefits in the future.
Muscle(s) worked: Quads are the primary, but the hamstrings get worked as well.
Finally, the Hodge Twins. If you haven’t checked out these dudes’ videos, you don’t know what you are missing, These twins are insanely funny and drop a ton of useful knowledge on all things fitness/nutrition/weightlifting. In this video, two movements to focus on are the leg press machine and the sumo squats with a dumbbell (right at the beginning of the video). Next time you are in the gym, try 8 sets of 15 reps for both of these exercises. This high volume, high rep method will quickly burn out your legs (in a good way). It is a great counter to the more traditional high volume, low rep approach many people take (and usually do incorrectly).
Muscle(s) worked: The leg press machine works the majority of the lower body muscles as does the sumo squat.
It’s been almost a month since my last post. I have been working on some other endevours in additon to my day job, but I’m back and hope to focus on more fitness & nutrition content moving forward. Hope you enjoy this post!