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12 EXERCISES FOR #LEGDAY

The advice to never neglect #LegDay has become so common as to be cliche, but here are some exercises that are simple but quite effective at working the lower half.



1. BANDED HIP DRIVE


How to do it: Wrap a resistance band around an anchor, with the other end around your hips. Kneel with knees about shoulder-width distance and feet together, forming a triangle from your feet to your knees. Start the rep by sitting on your feet, then extend your hips and lift your body upward and outward (don't hyperextend your lower back), and end by squeezing your glutes at the end.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps.


What it works: Avoiding hyperextending the lower back keeps pressure off it while targeting hip extension and gluteus muscle activation.


2. SINGLE-LEG DEADLIFT


How to do it: hold a kettlebell in one hand (for this exercise we'll use the right). Stand on your left leg, palms down facing thighs. Bend the left leg a little throughout. Lean forward and extend the right leg straight behind you, remembering to keep balanced, until your torso and the floor are parallel. The kettlebell will naturally lower straight down until it's almost touching the floor. Drive down into your left heel to bring yourself back up to standing position.


An extra challenge can be added by lifting the right leg to a 90-degree angle after standing, then resetting.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps each. Then switch sides.


What it works: This variation expectedly works glutes and hamstrings but also impacts core stability to an extent. The weight will also contribute to strength development.


3. LATERAL LUNGE


How to do it: Take a hip-width stance with hands clasped together at chest level. Step to the side with the right leg, push hips back, then lower your body until your right knee is bent at a 90-degree angle. Push back to the starting position, and that's one rep.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps for each side.


What it works: As a lunge variation, this targets hamstrings, glutes, and quads.


4. GOBLET SQUAT



How to do it: First, take a hip-width stance and hold a kettlebell in front of your chest, with elbows bent and pointing downwards. One rep consists of pushing the hips back, bending knees to squat down, and then straightening up back to start.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps each.


What it works: This variation on the typical squat targets the quads, calves, hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings, as well as the lats. Overall, the exercise helps tone your legs and thighs as it targets those groups.


5. THRUSTER



How to do it: Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level with palms facing each other, and take a shoulder-width stance. While keeping the torso upright, lower down in a squat until thighs are parallel to the floor. Push back up to standing while pressing the dumbbells over your shoulders. Finish the rep by lowering the dumbbells back to start.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps.


What it works: The squat part works your quads, hamstrings, and glutes, and then pushing back up transmits force through the abs and lower back into your upper body.


6. CALF RAISE



How to do it: Stand with spine straight and tall and abs are drawn in, on one foot and hang the other bent at a 90-degree angle. Raise up onto the ball of your foot without locking the knee. Pause when you reach the top, then squeeze your calf muscles while you're up there. Lower down without dropping below the bench level, and that's one rep.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps per side.


What it works: AS the name suggests, the focus is on the calf muscles.


7. STAGGERED-STANCE DEADLIFT


How to do it: Hold a kettlebell in one hand at the thigh level, with both your palms facing your body. Stagger your legs by placing your right foot back (heel off the ground) and left foot slightly forward. Push your hips back and hinge your body forward, lowering the kettlebell (still close to your legs) as you go down to a 90-degree waist bend. Then return to start.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps each, then switch sides.


What it works: As a variation on the usual deadlift, this directs attention to the glutes and hamstrings as well as the lower back.


8. STEP UPS



How to do it: Plant one foot on the bench and the other on the floor. Push with the bench foot and lift yourself up until you're standing on the bench, then drive the other knee up to a 90-degree angle. Pause a second, then return to starting position.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps for each side.


What it works: This primarily targets the quads but also involves the glutes, calves, and hamstrings.


9. SQUAT JUMP


How to do it: Stand at hip-width with toes forward and hands at chest level. Bend your knees, then do an explosive jump as high as possible, and land on the balls of your feet, lowering right into the next squat.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps for each side.


What it works: This is a plyo exercise, which engages two muscle-fiber types.


10. LYING LATERAL LEG RAISE


How to do it: Lie down on your left side, head rested on the left arm and right hand on the floor near your chest. Bend the bottom leg at the knee and keep the top leg straight. Hold the rest of the body in place and slowly raise the top leg as high as possible, pause, then lower down to start.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 12 reps a side.


What it works: This targets the sides of the glute muscles -- lateral exercises are what keep that area round.


11. RAINBOW KICK


How to do it: Get on all fours with hips over knees and shoulders over wrists. With neutral spine and activated core, straighten one leg to a 45-degree angle or to the side, with toes touching the ground. Lift this straight leg up and move it to draw a rainbow arc shape behind you, then lower to touch toes to the ground on the opposite side of the bent leg, then back to start.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 15 reps for each side.


What it works: This mainly focuses on the glutes, but the abs, hamstrings, and lower back muscles will also be worked.


12. BANDED LATERAL WALK


How to do it: Stand at hip-width with a mini resistance band under your feet. Keep the core tight and step you're left out laterally, close with the right, then step back for one rep.


Recommended sets/reps: 3 sets of 10 steps for each direction.


What it works: This targets the sides of the glutes, rounding out the side shapes.


Do try these leg day exercises. You may choose a couple to start with especially if you have not been exercising for a long time. But if you have an active exercise lifestyle then you may choose all or concentrate on some of your favorites. Of course it is best to do all these exercises with the proper attire like compression socks and comfortable shoes.


#legday #activelifestyle #compressionsocks






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