Legs are extremely important to anyone trying to build muscle. Although many people try to skip leg day due to it being too difficult, after reading this you will definitely not be one of those people. The legs, made up of the quads and hamstrings, need to be hit hard just like any other muscles on your body. Building your legs gives you a complete physique also has other benefits that you may not have heard of before.
Lets start with the exercises. The main exercise for overall leg development has got to be the squats. Do not worry if you tried to squat before but didn’t like it. It is supposed to be hard. The problem is you probably used more weight than you can handle, along with not being flexible enough. Leg training can not begin until you have warmed up and stretched thoroughly. This is very important! Take some time to stretch out your quads, hamstrings, lower back and shoulders. Why shoulders? Because holding the bar on your back requires you to open your chest and have a neutral spine. This will make it easier to go up and down while performing the squats. As the bar rests on your back, be sure to push it into your traps, making everything very solid and rigid. You do not want to be lose anywhere on your body when squatting.
The chest should be high, even though you are bent over slightly. Keep a neutral spine at all times. No need to bend too much at your lower back. Let the legs do all the work while your back is tight and neutral. Feet position should be about shoulder width, or whatever feels the most comfortable. Always remember to use your leg muscles to go up, don’t just jerk up like you see so many other people at the gym trying to lift more than they can handle.
Other exercises that I would include are the leg press and leg extension machines. These are great for putting in those details in your quads and hamstrings, where as squats are more for mass. For these also squeeze your muscles at the top of the movement and lower the weight slowly. You may get the urge to rock back and forth and pump out the reps, but fight that urge and go slow and controlled. Your leg development will blow up from this type of training. Another great exercise that works the quads and hamstrings at the same time are lunges. You can do walking lunges or one leg at a time.
Building up your legs will make your physique look good, but did you know the more muscle mass a person has the more fat they burn naturally? Legs, being one of the biggest muscle groups on your body, will benefit your fat burning dramatically if they are built up. Along with working your core and back due to the stability factor (if using free weights), leg workouts are almost full body exercises. So please, do not skip leg day!
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