26 Oct Best Exercises to Add to Your Leg Day Routine
Building leg muscle is just as important as the rest of your body. Why? Well would you like to be walking around with a perfect physique on top and a not so great physique on the bottom? Truth is, no one wants to have chicken legs and many people actually immensely enjoy their leg day routine. But making sure you have the right exercises for all of your leg muscles is the key to getting lean muscular legs you’ve been dreaming of.
Muscles to Work During Leg Day
There are several groups of muscles that make up your legs. Therefore, ensuring you include all are included in your workouts also ensures that you’ll have a good leg day.
The first group is the quadriceps. This is the muscle group that is strongest. It is also known to have the leanest muscles of your legs. It is referred to as the quadricep because it consists of four muscles that are at the front of your thigh. Their man function is to extend the knee, helping the leg to straighten. Each muscle in the quadriceps actually has its own name as well. It includes the vastus lateralis, the vastus medialis, the vastus intermedius, and last but not least the rectus femoris.
Next in form and function is the hamstring. This area consists of three muscles and are at the back of the thigh. Rather than aid with straightening of the leg like the quadriceps, the hamstrings are in charge of hip and knee movement. This set of muscles starts just under the gluteus maximus and goes all the way to the tibia of the knee. For the hamstring, there are three known muscle groups. These groups include the bicep femoris, semimembranosus, and the semitendinosus.
Last but not least, we have the muscle group known as the calf muscles. Again, like the others it consists of three different muscle groups. These three groups are called the gastrocnemius, the soleus, and the plantaris. The calf muscles main job is to aid in the movement of your knees, ankles, feet, and toes. When done right, you can develop all of these muscles simultaneously through a well though out leg day workout. This is where we can help.
4 Leg Day Exercises You Need
As mentioned, the development of all of the leg muscles is pivotal. Not only does it help to keep everything at the same level. It is also a way to build a better looking physique. Have you ever walked into the gym and seen a man or woman completely built up in their upper body only to have chicken legs? It’s not a pretty sight. However, by adding these four exercises to your leg day workout, you are more likely to develop well rounded muscle all around.
Barbell Full Squat
The main focus of the barbell full squat is to add strength and size to your quadriceps, glutes, and hamstrings. To do them correctly, you’ll need to have exceptional core and back strength. This variation of leg exercise is the most common “starter” for leg day. It is performed by carrying a barbell with your choice of weight on your upper back. While it is balanced on your upper back, you lower yourself into a seated position and then return to a regular standing position. All the while you need to consciously maintain good posture so that the correct muscles are worked. This will also make it less likely that you will sustain an injury.
Most individuals just starting out tend to do between one and two sets of twenty. This works the muscles in a way that won’t strain them from the start. However, if you’re more of a seasoned lifter adding these to your leg day workout, you can actually increase the set amount to between three and five. Either way, taking a sixty second break between sets is recommended.
Leg extensions when added to your leg day workout are meant to work your quadriceps. They are primarily done on a machine known as a lever machine. Basically, you’ll sit down, and place your legs behind the padded bar of the lever machine. Once you set your weight, you’ll begin lifting the bar until your legs are fully extended and then lowering them back to a ninety degree angle. One of the hardest parts of this exercise is maintaining control on the way down. This means that you’ll need to take special care in not just letting your legs drop once you reach your full extension. Unlike the barbell full squats that hone in on many regions of your lower body, the leg extensions primarily focus on the front of your thigh.
If you’re a first timer with this leg day exercise, you’ll probably want to take it slow. In other words, you can start at three sets of twelve. You’ll want to keep it reduced and not over do it on the weight. This will ensure you get the best possible workout without straining yourself. Just maintain focus and control while completing this exercise.
Barbell lunges are completed much like the barbell full squats. This is to say that you’ll want to balance your barbell across your upper back as you did with the barbell full squats. The difference is in the movement. Rather than going straight down into a squat, you have two options. You can do walking lunges, or you can lunge in place.
To do this you’ll want to step out while balancing the barbell and maintaining your posture. Then you’ll bend at the knee ensuring that your knee does not surpass your toes and that you have stepped out far enough that you can get to a ninety degree angle at your knee. Basically, your upper leg and lower leg are creating a ninety degree angle.
The best rule of thumb for a person just starting out with barbell lunges is to run about two to three sets. Each of these sets would be between ten and twelve repetitions each. This will give your body time to adjust to the exercise and will up you leg day workout. Now, as a seasoned bodybuilder, you can increase your sets to three to four depending on the weight as well as perform twelve to fifteen repetitions. Don’t forget to take a break between sets for about sixty seconds as well. This will give your body a minor break before beginning again.
Standing Calf Raises
If it’s not perfectly obvious, the standing calf raises give your calves a good workout. They are fairly simple in comparison to the other leg day exercises mentioned above. However, that doesn’t make it any less important.
When completing the standing calf raises, you’ll need a platform. This can be a riser if you’re at the gym or if you’re stuck at home, it can be one of your steps. You’ll want to place the balls of your feet on the riser while your heels dangle off the back of the step. This is a game of balance as well as a leg day exercise, so you’ll need to keep your focus. Once on the step and your balance is set, you’ll raise up on your toes and then lower yourself back down in a trained manner. You don’t want to lower yourself too quickly because then you risk injury. When lowering you’ll want to go slightly lower than the stair or riser until you feel a bit of a stretch.
Unlike the others, you can do this one of two ways. You can either do timed sets in which you hold your calf raise and then lower yourself or you can do continuous repetitions until you hit ten. Either way works as it gives your calves a good workout. Now, if you do decide to do the repetitions instead of the timed variation, you won’t want to exceed 10 repetitions to a set. Between your sets you’ll also want to reset for forty five to sixty seconds.
Healing Peptides for a More Effective Leg Day
Of course, sometimes injury can happen. Even when you know you are doing the exercises right. You can cause strain. Whether that be to soft tissue like tendons, or other areas of the body. This is where peptides come in. Peptides are typically produced naturally within the body. However, there are synthetic variations that exist expressly to help you heal faster when you experience injury. Some of these peptides include BPC 157 and TB 500. For more options you can check out this article. They work by helping to create the foundation for healing.
So, are you going to be the one at the gym with the chicken legs? Or are you ready to add these exercises to your leg day workout routine? Adding them can give you the right muscle definition in the right areas and even possibly prevent injury over time. Nothing like strength training to save the day. And even when strength training doesn’t help to prevent injury, there are peptides to help you get back to it just like that.
Paradigm Peptides for Soft Tissue Injury
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