After coaching people in my fitness center for over 15 years I have designed a set of leg workouts that provide final results rapidly. When I say results I’m talking about gains in size but also concomitant gains in power.
Having educated semi -professional athletes and also doing work in the realm of injury rehabilitation I’ve been exposed to a broad range of various physical exercise types and practices.
The one physical exercise I use all of the time in its many forms is the good old squat. I specifically like the heel raised fulll squat due to the fact of the range of motion it produces but also because it loads the Vastus Medialis Obliqus (VMO) portion of the quadriceps muscle which is very essential for knee stability and strength and power improvement.
I set this squat technique up so that the traineee stands on a four inch step block with their heels on the block and their toes on the ground. Their feet are placed at hip width apart and the movement is initiated from the knees. Any load is placed in front of the body, no matter whether it be a medicine ball or barbell. I instruct the trainee to keep their torso upright as they squat down to the floor right up until their hamstrings are in make contact with with their calves ahead of returning to the start place. Usually eight-twelve reps of this movement produces a quite good overload and the trainee performs three sets.
I have utilized standing Good Morning lifts for a number of years and like how it effectively conditions the whole of the posterior chain of muscle tissue such as the low back, glutes and hamstrings. Most individuals are quite weak in these muscle groups as they seldom train them but as I discovered in the course of my time working with athletes sound conditioning of these muscle groups is required for efficient force generation and speed improvement. I set this exercise up with the barbell across the shoulder blades. I then instruct the lifter to bend forward from the hips maintaining a flat back and braced abdominals. I get them to bend forward until finally they feel a good stretch on their hamstrings and then return to the original position by making use of their hamstring and gluteals to drive the hips forward.
The third exercise I like to use to develop strength and power in the legs is the step up. This functional exercise works the quadriceps at the front of the leg along with the strong hip extensors at the back of the leg namely the glutes and hamstrings. The important set up point with this exercise is to make sure the step block is high enough. Ideally when you place your foot on the block your thigh should be parallel to the ground. One more great tip is to encourage the client to press through their heel as they step up onto the block. This will encourage good glute recruitment during the exercise.
I hope you have enjoyed learning about three of my favourite leg conditioning workouts and I hope you get the chance to go and use them in your local health club.
Feel free to ask me any questions you have about these or any other exercises I have written about in my articles.