During workouts, people normally put all focus and emphasis on all major muscles in their body excepts for their legs. We assume that a pumped chest, gigantic arms and a perfect six pack would compensate for twiggy legs but not so. Balancing out your workouts is key to a proportional body. If you’re ready to trade the twigs for some impressive tree trunks then we’ve compiled the best leg exercises just for you.
Give Cardio A Rest
Anyone would be forgiven for thinking that jogging, power walking, biking, swimming and sprinting would solve their twiggy legs issue. They are ideal for a total body workout but they will not fill up your legs. Think about it, your legs have been carrying you around ever since you gained balance as a toddler. If walking around was the secret to filled up legs then wouldn’t we all have a pair of legs to-die-for? Keep your eyes on exercises that will focus solely on your legs for impressive results. Performing some high-intensity leg exercises will promote muscle growth hence impressive results.
1. Squats for Filled-Up Thighs
If you are looking to fill up your legs from the waist down then you may wish to give some squats a try. Anyone who isn’t new to the gym knows that squats are the ultimate workout secret to filled up thighs. Adding dumbells or other forms of weight will add challenge and efficacy to the routine. Although the ultimate goal is to be able to lift 1000 pounds worth of weight, you should aim at starting off with dumbbells that you can comfortably lift for 10 reps. 10-20 pounds are ideal for beginners but you can gradually advance but take care not to injure yourself.
Stand in position with your feet parallel to your shoulders and grab the dumbbells with both your hands. If you prefer using a barbell, hold them on your shoulders or over your shoulders. Gently lower your torso while bending your knees to get your bum towards the floor. Ensure that your back is constantly kept straight while your legs remain parallel to the floor. Gently raise yourself to the original position and repeat. 3 reps of 10-12 squats are enough for beginners.
2. Dumbell Lunges
This is the ultimate leg workout that engages the entire leg; quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Dumbell Lunges are effective on their own without the use of weights but you can always include them if you want to push yourself.
Stand with your feet at shoulder width and hold the dumbells at each side. You can choose to hold them over your shoulders if you wish. Take a big step forward as you drop the knee of the other foot to the ground. If you take a step with your right foot, drop the left knee to the ground and pause for a few seconds. Always keep your back straight and vertical to the ground. Repeat this exercise with the other foot without slouching your back. Perform reps of 15 steps then push further for one or two more reps.
3. Box Jumps
This exercise works the calves and is not restricted to the gym only because no workout equipment are necessary. The only thing needed for this workout is a stable box.
Place the box in front of you and the tips of your feet pointed towards it. With all your might, jump upwards and land on the balls of your feet with one leg placed on the box. The other foot should land on the floor. Jump back up and switch to the other foot. Perform 15 reps for each leg, rest then perform another set. A stable box that won’t slip away as you step on it is much safer. Start off with a small box until you get the routine right. A bigger box offers more challenge hence better results.
This is an ideal choice of workout for bigger and stronger sculpted hamstrings. This is the kind of exercise that doesn’t require a lot of your input. The only activity involved is bending and standing up.
Stand with your legs at shoulder width apart. Place a barbell or dumb bell in front of you and gently bend forward to pick it up while keeping your back straight. While bending forward to pick up the weight, keep your torso and legs stiff while bending forth and back. At the standing position, rest the barbells at the thigh level and pause for a few seconds. Perform 3 reps of 10-12 each.
5. Leg Exercise Machines
Sometimes, getting bigger legs with well-defined muscles will require you to hit the gym and make use of the different machines available; Recumbent bike, leg extension machine and leg curl equipment. You do not have to be a pro at it. Simply start small and build your strength for the major weights. It is important to light weights under the supervision of an instructor.
(a) Leg Extensions
For this workout, you need spot a good leg extension machine and load it up with weights that you are able to push for 10-12 rounds. Sit on the machine with the legs on the lower bar and your bent at the knees. Straighten your legs to lift the weight and bend them to lower the weights.
(b) Standing Leg Curls
These are best done with a machine that allows you to attach cables to your ankles. Load the leg curl machine with weights that you are comfortable lifting. Hold the support bar with your hands and bend your knees towards your butt to lift the weight. Straighten your legs to the starting position and repeat. 3 reps of 10-12 rounds are enough.
Although the ultimate goal of weight lifting for fuller legs is attaining the pro level, it is important to prioritize your safety. Just because someone else is lifting 500 pounds worth of weights does not mean that you should go for it as well. It is also important to keep your eye on the goal which is to fill up your legs. More reps more frequently will help achieve your target much faster. Replacing those twigs with some awesome trunks will require more than just a few quick reps as you move on to the next. Aim at doing as many reps with as much weight as you possibly can. Pushing yourself every time will prove your sweat and time in the gym worth it.
About the Author: Emily is founder of BodyShape101, a blog where she and her associates talk about exercise, fitness, and yoga. Their aim is to help people like you to achieve perfect body. BodyShape101 is focused on exercise and fitness tips, and making the most out of it. She is also a mother of one and she tries to find balance between her passion and her biggest joy in life.