Lately I have been focusing more on strength than losing weight. I wanted to share my top 5 favorite leg exercises with you all. Below are my top 5 and how to do them.
1. Quads/Back – Conventional Deadlift
Place your feet hip width apart under the barbell, toes pointed forward. The bar should be over the middle of your foot (laces). Grab the bar with hands either both over handed or one over and one under. Your arms should be shoulder width apart. Bend your knees until your shins touch the barbell. Squeeze your shoulder blades together and bring them down. Your back should be straight. Pull up slightly on the bar to pull the slack out of the bar. Take a bracing breath and drive your feet into the floor. Imagine you are trying to push yourself through the floor. Your chest and hips should rise at the same time. Squeeze your glutes at the top by pushing your hips forward. ***bar should be close to your body through all movements
2. Hamstrings/Glutes- Stiff Leg Deadlift
Feet hip width apart. Arms should be shoulder width apart. Barbell in hands with hands in overhand position. Keeping your back straight, hinge at the hip, pushing your hips back. Bending at the hips lower the barbell until you feel the stretch in your hamstrings and straighten back up slowly keeping the bar close to you.
3. Glutes/Quads – Split Squat
There are multiple variations of this and any will work. Place your front foot flat on the ground with your shin straight up and down. Chest forward and knee above your shin and should not wobble. Your back knee is on the ground behind your hip with toes on the ground. You essentially should be in a half kneel position. Drive up by pushing through the floor. This takes balance!! You may need to hold onto something when first starting.
4. Glutes/Quads – Close Stance Squats
Toes pointed out SLIGHTLY. Legs close together, push your hips back, and bend at the knees. While bent your upper leg should be parallel or below parallel with the floor. Drive up through your heels.
5. Hamstrings – Good Mornings
Barbell goes on your shoulders (supported by your traps/muscles at the top of your shoulders/neck). Not on your bone. It should rest on your muscles. Bend over at the hips keeping a SLIGHT bend in your knees. Use your hamstrings and glutes to stand back up straight.
If at any point during deadlifts you cannot keep your back straight, you may have too much weight. You should be able to do the full movement in proper form. Failure to do so can result in injury.
Now go kick ass on your next leg day!!