Think of a female with amazing legs – Jessica Biel comes to my mind. I just asked this bartender what she thought and she said, “I have great legs, want to see em?” Hmmm, maybe this can be my new pick up line!! So you think Jessica and Tina Turner get those amazing gams (old folks slang for legs) by walking and using the abduction machine? Forget about it!! What female athletes come to mind when you think of nice legs – Soccer, tennis, volleyball and track athletes. What do they all have in common? Lots of maximal jumping and heavy, hard leg work!
In this article, I am going to provide the foundation for your best set of legs ever! Guys, this is for you too! Nothing worse for a girl than being disappointed when she gets you out of your trendy 7 jeans to find……Chicken legs… C’mon now, get your mind out of the gutter!!!
Rule #1: Ass to the grass (only time I will cuss in an article!) This is one time when your high school PE coach was right. Every time you perform a squat, your butt should be close to the ground. When your femur bone (thigh) becomes parallel to the ground, you need to continue the rep for at least another 15 degrees (see figure 1). When this happens, we begin to recruit more of our glute muscles (Maximus, Medias and Minimus). These muscles are the deepest muscles of the human body; exploit it!
Rule #2: Start including legs into your weekly routine AT LEAST 2x a week! Dr. Kraemer, arguably the godfather when it comes to kinesiology, ripped up my routine one day when I had him analyze it. “Where are your legs, he questioned?” He so fittingly taught me the importance of these muscles. These lower limbs consist of over 40% of our total body weight. What do you think happens when we engage them more often? Our heart works harder; therefore producing more work as well as anabolic hormones such as testosterone and growth hormones! After he explained this to me, I began working my legs 4-5x a week per his demands. To this day, he is still my man crush #1, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is a close #2!
Rule #3: Stop isolating your legs so much! Yes these muscles are the largest in the *human body, but we can maximize more force production with exercises such as the dead lift, hack squat, lunge and sumo squat (*to be technical, it’s actually the sartorius which connects at the hip then inserts into your shin bone, bam! Show off point #1…. Many more to come!) Instead of doing the isolating exercises such as the leg curl and extension, choose a better one such as the stiff legged dead lift (sld) (see figure #2). This is one of the few single jointed exercises that engage more than one muscle. The sld engages not only the glutes and hamstrings, but also the erector spinae (lower back muscle which is usually super weak).
Final Rule #4: Start doing plyometrics. These movements consist of maximal jumping such as the aforementioned volleyball and track athletes. These movements are very complex and may cause injury so make sure you have been strength training consistently for at least 3 months. Better yet, stop on by Show Up Fitness and have one of our trainers teach you how to properly implement a plyometric program! Adhere to the following leg routine for 4-6 weeks and let me know how long it takes before you are able to bounce quarters off your buttocks! I have been doing this program for the previous 6 weeks and I just progressed to an 8 lb bowling ball, boooiiiiiiinnnnnng!!!!
This program shall commence with dynamic stretching (sport specific stretching before you begin, but don’t stretch and hold – come back for my stretching article soon!) After you are thoroughly warm and ready to do actual work, follow this… (S= Set)
S1 = 15 reps add weight for S2 = 12 reps add weight for S3 = 10 reps add weight for S4 = 8 reps. Rest between 30 seconds and 1 minute or as needed. Females, getting below 10 reps are EXTREMELY important because it helps combat osteoporosis via migration of osteoblasts – fancy word for saying remodeling our bones. Days 2 ,3 ,5 & 6 exercise your back, chest, shoulders, core and arms (see Split Your Routine & You’ll Never Plateau.) Remember, to maximize growth, try to workout each of these muscle groups twice per week.
- Day 1: Squats 4 sets
- Sumo squats 4 sets (see figure 3)
- Lunges compound set with weighted step ups with a kick back for your glutes
- Prisoner squats for 2 sets of 30
- Day 4: Broad jumps 3 sets of 5
- Depth jumps 3 sets of 5
- 1 min of jump rope for your calves
- Vertical jumps, 4 sets of 5
- 1 min of mountain climbers
- Squats compounded with sld
I want to thank all of my readers for all your kind and constructive words. Please leave any feedback good or bad. I love to hear it! If its bad, leave your address too so my cousin can pay you a visit and break a knee cap! Keep smiling and as always shake and bake! Please tell me you have freakin seen Taladega nights by now!!!! Ahhhh hopeless!!