Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Strong Legs > Slim Legs

Many times, when people adopt their fitness routines, they want to work their legs. Women are dedicated to achieving a “thigh gap” or having legs like one of their celebrity idols. It’s time you should know, however, that strong legs are so much better than skinny ones. Our legs are extremely important as they are made up of some of the largest muscles in our bodies. Legs are vital for helping us maintain mobility as they take us from place to place.

Legs can be broken down into the quadriceps (the front of the thighs); and the hamstrings (the back of the thighs); and the glutes (even though they're not actually part of the leg).

These muscle groups are so large, it means they burn the most calories. And I don’t know if you know this but muscles burn more calories at rest than fat, therefore developed leg muscles will help burn even more calories at rest. They also provide the most energy based on their size, so stronger legs will increase endurance. Increased endurance means less fatigue. Less fatigue means going harder for longer!

Leg exercises that include multiple joints (such as squats, dead-lifts, and lunges) necessitate increased core stability. This means that muscle, tendon and ligament recruitment is increased, so this works the general strength & stability of your body. Women do not have enough testosterone to get really huge leg muscles. They do, however, tend to have a much stronger lower body than upper body, so they can lift pretty heavy weights!
Do not be afraid to push it more than you think you can! Also, try to get a combination of free weights and machines, as machines target one specific muscle group and free weights target multiple muscle groups (aka stabilizers).
The following combines barbells, machines and kettle bells with cardio intervals. Doing cardio intervals with strength training exercises utilizes the aerobic and anerobic systems. The aerobic system maintains endurance and the anaerobic system maintains short, high intensity exercise. Improving both systems increases cardiovascular capacity in much less time.

Leg Interval Workout
Complete each strength exercise 10 to 12 times. Complete each cardio interval for 30 seconds. Complete entire circuit four times, resting one minute between circuits.
  • Front squat to back squat
  • Pulsing squat (30 seconds)
  • Quad extension with oblique crunch
  • Foot fires (30 seconds)
  •  Hamstring curls with hyper-extension
  • Jump lunges (30 seconds)
  • Kettle bell swing with flip to squat

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