before i started lifting heavy things, i saw and heard of such leg day horrors. i never thought much of it.
leg day wasn’t really my favorite day, by any stretch.
but then, i started caring about building muscles in my legs. getting that round booty. and i found i could press alot of weight. and that i liked squats. and soon i liked leg day.
so i put leg day on monday’s. at 6am. and i still liked it. looked forward to it even. and then i started lifting and pressing heavier things.
and after 24 hours, i realized what everyone was talking about.
sore lower body.
but sore legs turn into strong legs.
and that’s what we want.
let’s talk legs.
since i’m a super qualified personal trainer know, i should probably drop some knowledge and tips on you.
your lower half, aka leg musculature, is comprised of a ton of muscles, but they break down into a few groups.
* quadriceps: composed of 4 muscles. quads concentrically (shortening of the muscle) accelerate knee extension (straightening the knee). those weighted split squats will get your quads burning.
* hamstring complex: composed of 4 muscles. the main action of the hamstrings is to concentrically accelerate knee flexion (bending the knee). romainian deadlift = hamstring killer.
* lower leg musculature: composed of 5 muscles. the main action of 4 of the muscles is to concentrically accelerate plantarflexion (think of standing on your tip toes or wearing high heels). the anterior tibialis concentrically accelerates doriflexion (bending the foot upward at the ankle). hello calf raises!
* hip musculature: composed of 14 muscles, including from your piriformis, it band, adductors, and your gluteus maxmius, which is the largest muscle. these muscles do many different actions ranging from concentrically accelerating hip flexion and extension, internal and external rotation, to abduction (moving limb away from the body) and adduction (moving limb towards the body).
alot of muscles right?
good thing we got a well rounded workout that will target all those muscles.
i did this workout a few weeks ago and it was a favorite for me and the workout bud. since then, i’ve added a few different exercises to my leg day, but most of these exercises make an appearance.
this is a good 45 minute hypertrophy workout.
* complete all reps + sets of a particular exercise before moving to the next. make sure to rest 30-60 sec between sets.
* be sure to go to your max on the cardio intervals, identified by the 10 or 20 in front. you only need to complete 1 set of the cardio intervals. unless you want to be an overachiever, and have super sore legs, then you can do 3 sets.
* the finisher is a spin on one of the crossfit games workouts. the workout bud and i did it one day and it has since become his favorite finisher (he requests it on most workout days). do the finisher for time, completing 5 thursters, followed by 5 burpees, and continuing on to complete 1 burpee.
exercises + tips:
** all exercises can be performed with no weight for beginners and to work on proper form. dumbbells and/or kettlebells can be used in place of barbells where applicable. back squats or hack squat can be substituted for leg press.
weighted glute bridge/hip thrusts: this can be done on the ground and with no weight.
* make sure to keep knees at a 90 degree angle, weight driving through heels, abdominals tight, and squeeze those glutes tight at the top.
weighted split squat: can be done without weight and should be, if you are having trouble with form. you can also use dumbbells in each hand held at your side.
* make sure to keep your front leg at a 90 degree angle when lowering. squeeze when you lower (and pause) and drive up through the front heel, squeezing the glutes and quads on the way up.
thruster: here is a description too. this can be done with dumbbells, as well.
* this is an advanced move, so check out the descriptions and videos before trying this out.
a regression to this move could be a dumbbell squat to shoulder press. dumbbells in both hands, elbows bent upward, dumbbells touching shoulders. perform a squat. when coming up from the squat, press dumbbells straight up towards the ceiling. then lower dumbbells and move into a squat. repeat.
since san francisco is t-minus 3 days away, i decided to start the vacation early and skip leg day monday. which means it’s on deck for tomorrow. can’t wait.
and, if you turn your eye to the right side of the blog, you’ll see a new badge!
i’m a new sweat pink ambassador!
i am starting to turn into a real fitness blogger, right?!
but really, i am super excited to be part of such another awesome community of fit women!
here’s a tidbit of their mission:
‘We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities…We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too…‘
love it! be sure to head over to fit approach and check them out.
happy leg day.
p.s. do you like leg day? do you have a favorite leg exercise?