Leg exercises are great for getting more muscular thighs and calves.
Quadriceps (Quads) – Four muscles at the front of the thigh, which occupies the upper half of the leg. Crucial for walking, running, jumping and squatting.
Hamstrings – Long muscle at the back of the thigh, which opposes the quadriceps and is used in all leg movements.
Gluteus Maximus (Glutes) – Largest muscle in the body, it helps to erect the body after stooping, which is exercised mainly during dead lifts and squats.
Calves – A smaller muscle at the behind the shin at the lower part of leg below the knee. It is used in walking, running and primarily jumping. A large thigh muscle and small calf muscle can cause the knee to pop out, so symmetrical exercising is paramount.
However, most people who work out forget to do them and end up looking asymmetrical, with a big upper body and ‘chicken legs’, which makes them look ridiculous – not the type of body we are trying to build.
In order to get anatomical symmetry, you need to keep your body in proportion as you grow and that means doing leg exercises.
Unfortunately, they are the hardest part of the body to work, because it is a mind game. A lot of people get tired after just a few minutes, but it’s all in the head and you must fight it.
You need to get past that barrier or that brick wall that exists when you do your legs, because otherwise you will get exhausted of exercising them and end up looking lopsided.
A great tip is to envision the way you want to look and the reason why you are exercising at all. It could simply be that you don’t want to be the one whose nickname is ‘chicken legs’!
The best way to start out on any muscle group from the beginning is to use a machine to get the muscle ready for free weights and the legs are no different.
With one leg only for more weight or both together to save time, the leg press will help you wade your way into exercising your legs without diving into the deep end of advanced exercises and then giving up half way through.
One of the best exercises that works the whole body, the dead lift primarily uses the hamstrings at the back of the thigh, but the back, arms and abdominals all play a complimentary part if you do it right. It is one of the few true full body workout exercises.
With or without weights, the squat is not only a great exercise, but also promotes good posture and balance. It primarily uses the legs, but the abdominals get worked out, by keeping the back straight when you do it.
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