Men often make the mistake of only training the upper body – but having strong legs is just as important – here are three awesome exercises for stronger legs.
What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. –Socrates
Most men at one time or another have wanted to become stronger. They have let that desire move them to buy the Bowflex, start a 100 pushup challenge, or install the pull bar in the bathroom door. Most guys do this NOT because they want to play in the NFL. Though let’s be honest, some guys are motivated to impress the ladies.
But for the most part, men want to feel confident and capable in their day to day activities. Like when they have to carry a cooler full of juice boxes on ice, two lawn chairs and an umbrella to that little league soccer field that someone built a mile from the parking lot.
Or when they have to step out of the car after driving all night then go right to carrying their 3 sleeping children and their bulging pink suitcases from the car to the upstairs bedrooms. In sum, men want to be able to comfortably carry, push or pull any heavy load whenever life asks them to do a physically demanding activity.
Men should be commended for wanting to be able to perform their day to day tasks better but where most men could improve is in knowing how to do this. Although bench presses and arm curls are helpful, the number one thing to improve overall fitness is to increase leg strength.
The plain and simple truth is that research shows that men who make developing leg strength a top priority will perform ALL their daily activities, sports and “leisurely” pursuits at the highest levels.
Why? Because in training leg strength you recruit the most muscles throughout your entire body to help in the process, which equals greater overall fitness. Take as an example the squat. That exercise will absolutely build your legs but in performing this lift, your whole body has to grow stronger. There is no way you can perform the squat and not develop a stronger core, back, shoulders and arms.
Research acknowledges that our physical capacities are influenced by many factors like previous or current injuries, inherited physical traits, age, diet etc. Of all the factors in our control to change, the one factor that is the most modifiable is our strength.
Bottom line: We CAN change how strong we are.
When we make strength training a priority we reap tremendous benefits. A lengthy list of health benefits includes: maintaining healthy body weight, improving bone density, improving metabolism, preventing loss of muscle strength, preventing osteoporosis, as well as significantly impacting overall mental well-being, and slowing the rate of aging.
When we specifically target our legs during strength training we make a direct link to our level of fitness, a link that exponentially increases all the benefits listed above and more. In other words, train those legs and gain the most overall benefit to your entire body.
A common misunderstanding is that enhanced leg strength is only needed for the serious weekend athlete, marathon runner or professional athlete. In actuality, any person, no matter their fitness, skill or competition level, can benefit from strength training their legs. Whether you play a sport or not, your leg strength plays a significant role in how well you perform any skill in a sport or in life.
A recent study showed that increased leg strength encourages the benefits of correcting muscular imbalances throughout the body, imbalances that may be causing recurring injuries. As well, study after study shows the top factor for increasing overall power and muscular endurance is leg strength.
Without question, for the man serious about being his best, he will make developing muscular legs a top priority knowing he is laying the foundation for all of his daily and athletic adventures.
Get serious and give this great 6 week – 3 exercise leg workout a try.
Here are a few things to be aware of as you begin to sculpt your strong, toned legs.
- Perform these exercises every other day and a minimum of three times a week.
- Don’t be concerned with using the heaviest weights. Use a weight that challenges you and then add more as your body feels ready. Better results will happen using good form and staying consistent over the next 6 weeks than injuring yourself trying to keep up with the antics of grunting gym guerrillas.
- Further aid your body by increasing the amount of water, sleep and stretching you do for the next few weeks. Each of these elements are key to helping your body grow those leg muscles while accelerating the amount of fat your body burns so that all that muscle isn’t buried under layers of fat.
Squats 5 x 8 reps
Lying Hamstring Curl 5 x 10 reps
Standing Calf Raises 5 x 10 reps
Jumping Lunge – do as many as you can for 2 minutes.
The following week use these exercises.
Dumbbell Lunge 5 x 8
Romanian Deadlift 5 x 10
Dumbbell Step Ups 5 x 10
Squat Jumps – do as many as you can for 2 minutes.
Huge chest muscles and big arms may be eye-catching but to get the overall endurance and strength we need as men to meet our everyday challenges, we have to address our fitness foundation.
Those results will happen most dramatically and on the greatest scale when focusing on a specialized program that develops greater leg strength.
That said let’s be real, training legs is not easy. Training legs is work, this is not a 20-minute giggle session wearing a fluorescent leotard while watching a Richard Simmons video. Expect this to be hard work and for your body to be sore.
But know that it is worth every effort to develop those strong muscular legs. The leg training that translates to you easily carrying your two suitcases through the airport during a last minute gate change, or puts that admiring gleam in your sweetheart’s eye as she watches your muscular legs stride tirelessly along the beach while your 4-year-old princess rides happily on your broad shoulders.