Hey guys, I was asked what my favorite leg workout routine was. And since I went light on the legs work out last time, I decided to describe a typical leg routine I do all at once.
First, be sure to stretch well. Hold each stretch for 30 sec-1 min. It’s important to take your time.
Front box jump ups
- Begin with a box of an appropriate height (I usually use a knee-high box) 1-2 feet in front of you. Stand with your feet should width apart. This will be your starting position.
- Perform a short squat in preparation for jumping, swinging your arms behind you.
- Rebound out of this position, extending through the hips, knees, and ankles to jump as high as possible. Swing your arms forward and up.
- Land on the box with the knees bent, absorbing the impact through the legs. You can jump from the box back to the ground, or preferably step down one leg at a time.
- Repeat 3×10.
Step ups with dumbbells
- Stand up straight while holding a dumbbell on each hand (palms facing the side of your legs).
- Place the right foot on the elevated platform. Step on the platform by extending the hip and the knee of your right leg. Use the heel mainly to lift the rest of your body up and place the foot of the left leg on the platform as well. Breathe out as you execute the force required to come up.
- Step down with the left leg by flexing the hip and knee of the right leg as you inhale. Return to the original standing position by placing the right foot of to next to the left foot on the initial position.
- Repeat with the right leg for the recommended amount of repetitions and then perform with the left leg.
- Complete 3×10 with each leg.
Note: This is a great exercise for people with lower back problems that are unable to do stiff legged deadlifts.
Variations: Just like lunges, this exercise can also be performed by alternating between the right and the left leg every time until all repetitions have been performed for both legs. Also, a barbell can be used for resistance. Beginners can start with only the bodyweight, especially if they have balance issues.
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Rear foot elevated split squat, with dumbbells or a barbell (Bulgarian split quat)
Place the bar either on the front of your shoulders like a front squat or behind your neck. Place one foot well out in front of the other in a staggered position with your rear foot placed firmly on top of a bench or box no higher than 18 inches. Set your core and maintain an erect torso as you descend as deep as possible with your front heel firmly on the floor. You should feel a stretch in your rear leg’s hip flexor region as you descend. Drive upward and exhale as you pass the halfway point during the ascent. Complete all the repetitions with one leg, then switch to the other to complete the same number of reps. This is 1 set. I complete 3 sets of 8 with each leg.
Unlike the regular split squat where you attempt to push close to 50 percent of the load with the rear leg, the Bulgarian split squat uses the rear leg only for balance as the forward leg does the bulk of the work.
This is the exercise from hell. Back flat against a wall, assume a sitting position, thighs parallel to the ground, knees 90 degrees bent. Your arms should be beside your body, not on your thighs.
Hold this position for 30 seconds to a minute. repeat 3 times. When you start feeling a terrible burn…endure it.
- Assume a lunge stance position with one foot forward with the knee bent, and the rear knee nearly touching the ground.
- Ensure that the front knee is over the midline of the foot. Extending through both legs, jump as high as possible, swinging your arms to gain lift.
- As you jump as high as you can, switch the position of your legs, moving your front leg to the back and the rear leg to the front.
- As you land, absorb the impact through the legs by adopting the lunge position, and repeat.
- Do 3 sets of 10.
- Straddle kettlebell with feet slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Squat down with arm extended downward between legs and grasp kettlebell handle with overhand grip. Position shoulder over kettlebell with taut low back and trunk close to vertical.
- Pull kettlebell up off floor, slightly forward, just above height of ankles. Immediately dip down slightly and swing kettlebell back under hips. Quickly swing kettlebell up by raising upper body upright and extending legs. Continue to swing kettlebell back down between legs and up higher on each swing until height just above head can be mantained.
- Swing kettlebell back down between legs. Allow kettlebell to swing forward but do not extend hips and knees (as would be required to continue the swing). Slow kettlebell’s swing and place on floor between feet in original deadlift posture.
- I do these with a 25-30lbs kettlebell, 3X12. I hold the kettlebell with both hands.
- To begin, first set the bar on the height that best matches your height. Once the correct height is chosen and the bar is loaded, step under the bar and place the back of your shoulders (slightly below the neck) across it.
- Hold on to the bar using both arms at each side (palms facing forward), unlock it and lift it off the rack by first pushing with your legs and at the same time straightening your torso.
- Position your legs using a shoulder width medium stance with the toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head up at all times and also maintain a straight back. This will be your starting position. (Note: For the purposes of this discussion we will use the medium stance which targets overall development; however you can choose any of the three stances discussed in the foot stances section).
- Begin to slowly lower the bar by bending the knees as you maintain a straight posture with the head up. Continue down until the angle between the upper leg and the calves becomes slightly less than 90-degrees (which is the point in which the upper legs are below parallel to the floor). Inhale as you perform this portion of the movement. Tip: If you performed the exercise correctly, the front of the knees should make an imaginary straight line with the toes that is perpendicular to the front. If your knees are past that imaginary line (if they are past your toes) then you are placing undue stress on the knee and the exercise has been performed incorrectly.
- Begin to raise the bar as you exhale by pushing the floor with the heel of your foot as you straighten the legs again and go back to the starting position.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions.
Caution: This is not an exercise to be taken lightly. If you have back issues, substitute it with leg presses instead. If you have a healthy back, ensure perfect form and never slouch the back forward as this can cause back injury. Be cautious as well with the weight used; in case of doubt, use less weight rather than more. The squat is a very safe exercise but only if performed properly.
Variations: As previously mentioned, there are various stances that can be used depending on what you want to emphasize.
You can also place a small block under the heels to improve balance.
I do 3×12 of these with 130 pounds. Note that this weight is much more easily squatted when assisted than when using a free barbell. I would NOT be able to squat this weight without assistance.
Single leg squats
Stand with your arms extended out in front of your body. This helps counterbalance your weight as you squat. Lift your left foot off the floor. Squat as far as you can, holding your left leg extended in front of you, not allowing your foot to touch the floor. Press back up into a standing position. Although holding weights typically makes an exercise more challenging, holding light dumbbells with your arms extended provides counterbalance, making the movement easier for those who struggle to balance themselves.
- Using a leg press machine, sit down on the machine and place your legs on the platform directly in front of you at a medium (shoulder width) foot stance. (Note: For the purposes of this discussion we will use the medium stance described above which targets overall development; however you can choose any of the three stances described in the foot positioning section).
- Lower the safety bars holding the weighted platform in place and press the platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. Tip: Make sure that you do not lock your knees. Your torso and the legs should make a perfect 90-degree angle. This will be your starting position.
- As you inhale, slowly lower the platform until your upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle.
- Pushing mainly with the heels of your feet and using the quadriceps go back to the starting position as you exhale.
- Repeat for the recommended amount of repetitions and ensure to lock the safety pins properly once you are done. You do not want that platform falling on you fully loaded.
Caution: Always check to make sure that when you re-rack the weight the platform is securely locked.
I do 3×10 with 40 pounds added weight.
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Sprint a little and STRETCH!