There is more to our legs than its purpose for walking, running or standing.
Basically, the leg is described as a locomotive structure that is known in simple terms as the entire lower limb or lower extremities. The leg is involved in many of our daily activities in life. Supporting and keeping our balance alone is one big task that our legs do. Thus, having strong leg muscles is an utmost importance.
Leg Muscles 101
Our leg muscles work even while we are just sitting. And for people with an active lifestyle, keeping those muscles in tip-top shape is a definite goal. From the simplest activities such as walking or biking around your neighborhood to the more extreme ones like trekking or climbing, we have to maximize the use of our leg muscles.
The major groups of leg muscles include the Hamstrings, Adductors, Quadriceps, Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Tibialis anterior. The hamstrings are the muscles that form the back of your thigh and also extend the hip and flex the knee. Your inner thigh involve the adductors while the muscles in front of your thigh are called quadriceps.
Meanwhile, the calf has two muscle groups: the uppermost part is called gastrocnemius and the muscle underneath it is the soleus. On the other hand, the tibialis anterior is the muscle of your shin which allows you to flex your ankle and move your foot.
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3 Important Reasons for Building Leg Muscles
Many of our daily activities rely on the muscle strength of our legs, thus having strong and well-built muscles on the leg is important. Here are some of the important points of building leg muscles.
1. Aids in metabolism
When you’re working your big muscles groups, this also requires a lot of energy. This results to more calories being burned that will subsequently transform into energy. You can perform exercises like squats, deadlifts or lunges that target big muscle groups and require more work and energy to do.
2. Reduces risk for injuries
Working on your leg muscles improves and helps it to be stronger and maintains it in good condition. This will help reduce the risk of lower limb injuries that may recur in the future. Functional exercises such as squats and lunges can also help in your knee stability thus preventing injuries like ACL.
3. Improves your balance
The lower extremities support and keep our balance. Strengthening and building leg muscles will not only help you be at ease with daily activities but will also improve your balance. Having a strong and well-built leg muscles will give you a stable support for the whole body which is important for maintaining your overall body control.
4 Simple Exercises That Will Help Build Leg Muscles
We have come up with a streamlined list of exercises that will surely help and build your leg muscles. Here are some of them:
This is the most common exercise that is best for building muscles for your quadriceps. The secondary muscle targets include hamstrings, glutes, lower back and your abs. Squats can be done with or without weights. Squats with weights are done by holding the barbell on your shoulders behind your neck. Without the weights, it can be done by standing with your back against a wall.
Start by bending your hips and knees and lower yourself down until your hips and knees are of the same level. Keep your back straight as you go down and then come back up slowly. You can repeat this exercise around 8-12 times.
As for lunges, this exercise targets your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Meanwhile, you have know and learn the proper form of this regimen before attempting it. This should ward you off from any strain on your joints.
Start with keeping your upper body straight with your shoulders back. With your hands on your sides, step one foot forward and lower your hips until your knees are bent at a 90-degree angle. You can also do this with or without weights.
With your foot forward and your knee bent to the perfect angle, make sure that your knee is also aligned with your ankle. As for the other knee, it should not touch the floor. Lastly, return to your original position and repeat the routine using the other leg. Repeat this exercise around 8 to 12 times.
Deadlifts may sound extreme but it is an exercise that works multiple muscles groups all at the same time. The trick, like with any other exercise, is to master the proper form. It targets the hamstrings, hips, and lower back among others. This exercise is also good for improving your core and keeps your spine neutral.
Start by standing upright with your feet apart and slightly bend your knees. Keep your core tight and your chest up while you lean forward from your hips. Your torso should be parallel to the floor. This will stretch those hamstring muscles. Once you have reached the bar, pull the weight upwards to your mid-thigh level with one thrust and lock your hips and knees.
Afterwards, return the weight to the floor and rest for a few seconds before repeating. You can perform five reps for this.
4. Leg Press
This weight training exercise is conducted by pushing the weight or resistance from you using your legs. The term actually refers to the exercise machine that is used for this process. This exercise targets the quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
To start with this exercise, you have to sit in the leg press machine and make sure to firmly place your feet on the sled. Always remember to keep your chest up and you back straight. Lower the platform sled by bending your knees and the press the weight up by extending your knees.
For adults who’ve already begun entering their golden years, performing this exercise can be quite a challenge. However, there are still other alternatives that they can choose from. Probably one of the more preferred is the use of exercise bikes which can work all sorts of muscles in their legs.
Keeping yourself in tip-top shape and staying active is one of the most amazing gifts you can give yourself. Taking care of your body is not only for your own good but it is also for the benefit of those people around as you get to enjoy more activities and spend more time with them. Strengthening and building leg muscles can truly be a hard work but it is all worth it.
Do you find this article helpful in guiding you to building your leg muscles?
Do you have other suggestions or ideas of how to further strengthen your leg muscles? You are most welcome to share your thoughts with us, leave your ideas and suggestions on the comment box below. Always remember to live happy and healthy!
Author Bio: Emily Brathen
Emily is founder of BodyShape101.com, a blog where she and her associates talk about exercise, fitness, and yoga. Their aim is to help people like you to achieve perfect body. BodyShape101 is concentrated on exercise & fitness tips, and making the most out of it. She is also a mother of one and she tries to find balance between her passion and her biggest joy in life.