It’s LEG DAY! Some love it, some loathe it. Whichever camp you fall into, it cannot be denied that exercises to strengthen legs are very important.
When it comes to resistance training, sometimes keeping it simple is the best option. All you need is your body weight, some clear space and the sky is the limit for lower body strengthening.
There are several types of simple leg strengthening exercises. Bodyweight, kettlebell, dumbbell, suspension training and machine exercises to name a few. All of your major leg strengthening exercises are based on three movements: squat, lunge and hip hinge. The intensity of your lower body exercises can be challenged by altering the number of sets, repetitions, rep tempo, rest period and resistance.
The hip hinges a very important movement, for simple leg strengthening, core and posture exercises.
The hip hinge is the movement we execute when we deadlift. This movement becomes important because it teaches a fitness enthusiast to flex and extend at the hips not with low back. Some simple leg strengthening exercises for men regarding the hip hinge is the single-arm deadlift, single leg deadlift and a dual (both hands) Kettlebell deadlift.
Here are some basic tips for hip hinge pattern:
1. Feet hip-width apart
2. Knees slightly flexed
3. Abdomen tight or flexed
4. Flex at your hips moving your upper torso from a vertical position to a near horizontal positon (comfortable range of motion).
5. Breathing out; squeeze your abs and glutes to return your upper torso to vertical position.
6. Low back should be flat the whole time during the movement
The lunge is a necessary movement for simple lower body exercise. This is a functional exercise that is performed in day to day life. It challenges asymmetry, coordination and balance which is common in running, athletic movement; agility and climbing stairs.
Here are some basic tips to maintain or improve form with the lunge:
1. The foot that is forward, keep the majority of the pressure on the heel.
2. The foot that is back, keep the majority of the pressure on the toes.
3. Before starting the exercise, make sure hips are facing forward.
4. Keep the core flexed throughout the exercise.
5. When lunging down, stop back knee 3-4 inches above the floor.
6. Push off front heel to stand up.
7. Breathe in going down, breathe up standing up.
The last simple leg strengthening exercise is the squat
When it comes to exercises to strengthen legs, the squat is arguably the most common and possibly most important exercise in your routine. This exercise helps improve strength, balance, coordination, and function.
The squat should be performed within a comfortable range of motion. Here are some cues:
1. Feet between hip and shoulder-width
2. Toes angled slightly out
3. Hips extended
4. Chest up and out
5. Squatting down; flexing hips and knees while keeping pressure on your heels
6. Stop within a comfortable range of motion
Keep it simple can still provide a highly effective strengthening workout for the lower body. Exercises incorporating the hip hinge (deadlift), the squat and lunge pattern will not help you move better but become stronger as well. I have written two articles that go into depth of simple leg strengthening for men are two great articles, “Superb bodyweight leg workout that will lengthen and tone your legs” and “Why you need to do your squat workouts.”
Here is a sample workout:
Single leg Hip Bridges: 3 x 12
Single leg jumps; 3 x 10 (each leg)
DB Squats: 3 x 12
DB Walking lunges (Goblet hold): 3 x 12
DB Deadlifts: 3 x 6
Split Squats: 3 x 12 (12 reps each leg)
Connect here with WatchFit Expert John Monteleone