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7 Exercises for Your Best Legs Ever

Did you know you burn the most calories when you exercise your legs?

That’s because they’re home to your body’s biggest muscle groups, so it takes more energy to move them. If you want sculpted, lean legs, check out fitness expert Jorge Cruise’s exercise plan…


You’ve got legs, but do you know how to use them? For great gams, the secret lies in workouts that use slow movements that purposefully fatigue the muscles, according to Jorge Cruise.

The first phase of an exercise is done to a slow count of 10 seconds. When you reach the most difficult part of the exercise – where gravity and the nature of the exercise require peak effort (maximum tension point  or MTP) – hold the contraction for two seconds. Then return to the starting point through another count of 10 seconds. Moving this slowly is so important because it creates an intense resistance workout.

Let’s begin!

 

1. Beginner Squat

Squats are one of the best leg exercise known to man… and woman! They require the full attention of your quads, hams, glutes, and calves and utilize smaller stabilizer muscles that really sculpt lean legs. This Beginner Squat is perfect for first-timers. Just be sure you use the chairs only for balance, not to hold your weight.

Step 1: Stand between two sturdy chairs with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Squat down, keeping your back straight, abs tight, chest up, and knees over your ankles, through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3: At the MTP, hold for 2 seconds then return to the starting position through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 4: Without resting, repeat three times.

 

2. Glute Kickback on Swiss Ball

Your glutes are actually made up of three muscles: the gluteus maximus (the largest muscle, which you know as your butt), the gluteus minimus (which lies below the gluteus maximus) and the gluteus medius (positioned on your outer hip and helps stabilize your pelvis during such movements as standing on one leg). This exercise is specifically targeted to give your butt the lift you’ve been wanting.

Step 1: Place the Swiss ball on a non-stick mat, then lie over the ball on your hands and knees, as shown.

Step 2: Keeping your knee bent, slowly press the heel of your foot toward the ceiling through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3: At the MTP, hold and squeeze for 2 seconds. Lower your leg back to the starting point through a count of 10 seconds. Repeat.

Step 4: Without resting, switch sides and complete 2 more reps with the other leg.

 

3. Swiss Ball Squat

For some – especially those with weak knees or ankles – squats can be a challenge. This exercise, which uses the ball to provide stability and reduce pressure on your joints, is the perfect solution. If you don’t own a Swiss ball, just slide down and up the wall, minus the ball. Perform this exercise against a blank wall or locked door for safety.

Step 1: Position yourself in front of the wall (or door) with the ball supporting your lower back. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, about 1 foot from the wall. Cross your arms in front of your shoulders.

Step 2: Squat down through a count of 10 until you reach a 90-degree angle.

Step 3: Hold for 2 seconds at the MTP. Return to the starting point through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 4: Without resting, repeat three times.

 

4. Quadriceps Flex

Quads are a grouping made up of four (quad) muscles, which run along the top of your upper leg. Contracting your quads can either cause your knee to bend or your hip to flex – both important everyday, functional movements. This exercise requires some balance. Be sure to use a chair or stable countertop for support.

Step 1: Grasping a chair or other hip-level support, stand with feet shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, bend your knees as you allow your body to fall slightly backward, letting your heels come up off the floor.

Step 3: When your knees are near the floor (the MTP for this exercise), hold and squeeze your quads for 2 seconds.

Step 4: Through another count of 10 seconds, slowly return to the starting point.

Step 5: Without resting, repeat three times.

 

5. Plié Squat

The plié may be a classic ballerina move, but this squat doesn’t require a pink tutu. Turning your toes out targets the inner thigh muscles – often considered a very difficult area to isolate.

Step 1: With both hands, grasp a dumbbell and stand with your feet about twice shoulder-width apart. Turn your toes out to the sides, keeping them aligned with your knees.

Step 2: Squat down, as if you were about to sit in a chair, through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 3: Hold for 2 seconds at the MTP. Then, for a count of 10 seconds, push through your heels and return to starting point.

Step 4: Without resting, repeat three times.

 

6. Lunge

Much like the squat, the lunge also utilizes all the major muscles of your legs and buttocks and requires concentration and balance. To avoid injury, make sure that your front knee stays aligned with your ankles, never crossing over your toes, and doesn’t bend farther than a 90-degree angle.

Step 1: With your back straight, chest up and abs tight, stand in a lunge position.

Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, drop your back knee toward the ground.

Step 3: When your knee is about 1 inch off the ground (the MTP for this exercise), hold for 2 seconds.

Step 4: Through a count of 10 seconds, return to starting position. Repeat.

Step 5: Without resting, perform 2 more reps on the other leg, totaling 4 reps.

 

7. Lateral Squat

Moving side to side in this lateral squat requires a lot of balance and hip stabilization – a job perfect for your gluteus medius. Remember, this muscle is positioned not where you consider your butt to be, but rather on the side of your hip. Be sure to keep your hips and shoulders in line and don’t allow your knee to drop forward over your toes.

Step 1: With your hands on your hips, stand with your feet about a foot wider than shoulder-width apart.

Step 2: Through a count of 10 seconds, squat down to the side toward one leg, while keeping the opposite leg straight.

Step 3: At the MTP, hold for 2 seconds. Return to the starting position through a count of 10 seconds.

Step 4: Without resting, alternate sides. Perform 2 reps on each side, totaling 4 reps.

 

What Do You Know About Leg Exercises?

Do you know what it takes to get great gams? It’s time to put your best foot forward and see if you’re making all the right moves with this leg exercises quiz.

 

SOURCE

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This entry was posted on April 22, 2013 by in Uncategorized.

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