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Best Leg Exercises to Strengthen Lower Body

By Edited Jul 22, 2016 0 0

There is a lot of advice out there for building leg strength, but each type of bodybuilding exercises will produce a different result. If your goal is to develop larger muscles, then you need to lift heavier weight. However, if you want to build strength and stamina for endurance training, you need to approach your strength training workouts a different way.

The best way to increase lower body strength to perform in the most athletic situations is to isolate the muscles of each leg rather than concentrating on bulking up the muscles with heavy squats.  Whether you are playing soccer, football, baseball or basketball or any activity, you need lower body strength, agility and flexibility. These types of exercises will also substitute for core exercises.

In this article I will discuss two of the best leg exercises to build strength in your legs while developing your core. They are also great exercises to lose weight.  Both exercises should be performed without shoes in order to increase your balance and flexibility.

However,  before you start any of these exercise routines , you might want to prepare your lower body muscles using a foam roller, especially if you are experiencing any previous soreness from other workouts.

Bulgarian Split Squat

Best Leg Exercises to Strengthen Lower Body

What is the best lower body workout? Perhaps the Bulgarian squat, especially if your goal is to develop strength and flexibility.

Why is it called the Bulgarian squat? I have no clue.

The only equipment you need for this exercise is an appropriately weighted dumbbell or kettle bell, and either a weight bench or a chair. The idea is to isolate one leg by placing the other leg behind you on the chair or weight bench.

Procedure for Bulgarian Squat

Begin with the weight in your hands in a proper squat stance and place your left foot behind you with the top of it flat against the weight bench. This is going to concentrate the squat on your right leg.

Hold the weight in your hands as if you are holding a goblet. If you are used to doing kettlebell exercises, you know this grip. Simply cradle the weight upside down between both hands in front of your chest.

I prefer to do these types of exercise routines with a kettle bell because they are easier to handle. However, most gyms do not have kettle bells, so I typically do this at home using a chair or bench.

In any event, if you do not have a kettle bell, simply hold a dumbbell vertically in a goblet position. Before you begin to lower yourself into a one legged squat, focus your core. Engage your core muscles to tighten yourself as this will help prevent any muscle pulls or loss of balance.

Keeping your left foot lying on the bench, slowly lunge forward on your right leg holding the weight between your two hands at chest level. Raise yourself back to the starting position and repeat slowly.

When starting out doing Bulgarian squats, ease into it slowly by only doing 1 set of 10 repetitions for each leg. Once you become more advanced with a few more sessions, you can bump that up to 3 – 5 sets of 10 – 15.

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Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Best Leg Exercises to Strengthen Lower Body
When you are doing any kind of deadlift, form is key so that you do not hurt your back. Therefore, with this type of exercise, it is best to go with a lower weighted dumbbell, especially when starting out.

You need to maintain the proper form throughout the movement to avoid injury. Do not rush it and do not watch yourself in the mirror. This will throw off your alignment. Slow and steady.

When beginning, keep your eyes looking down at the dumbbell and follow your movement from start to finish.

Procedure for Single Leg Dumbbell Deadlift

Once again, place your left leg behind you on a chair or bench. The top of your foot should be flat against the bench. Hold it steady to balance yourself on one leg.

Keeping your right leg stiff and slightly bent, lean over slowly and lift the dumbbell to the side of your body. You can vary the exercise by choosing a different grip. Or you can grab a dumbbell on either side of the leg planted on the floor.

Grabbing the dumbbell and raising it on the same side is a little more difficult, so a good way to start off is to grab the dumbbell across your body and slowly pull it up to your side.  

Once again, start slowly doing only 1 set of 10 for each leg. After you become accustom to this exercise routine, you can work up to 3 to 5 set of 10 repetitions varying the weight.

Summary

Using these exercises, you can target key muscles to build up the stamina and endurance in your legs. Each exercise works your calves, hamstrings, quads, gluts and hips to help your built strength and flexibility.

Using lite weights during these routines are not going to build muscle mass, but that is not your goal.

Not only will you build endurance with these routines, but you can work your cardio by limiting your rest.  In order to increase your endurance to the maximum, limit the amount of rest in between each set for the best results.

Combine strength days with cardio days.
It’s a simple equation: the more muscle you can get working, the more it will challenge your heart and your cardiovascular system. Instead of building cardio-only workouts (the pitfall that’ll prevent you from building endurance) make sure to weave strength days into your training. “Most people reserve one day for strength and another day for cardio. Try combining the two instead,” says Torres. “Use a bench press, immediately followed by pull-ups, then run a mile as fast as you can… and repeat.” Another good example: Jump rope for a minute, followed by squats, an overhead press, and finally sit ups. Repeat. - See more at: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/endurance/7-ways-to-boost-your-endurance-and-stamina#sthash.6pyhTco2.dpuf
Combine strength days with cardio days.
It’s a simple equation: the more muscle you can get working, the more it will challenge your heart and your cardiovascular system. Instead of building cardio-only workouts (the pitfall that’ll prevent you from building endurance) make sure to weave strength days into your training. “Most people reserve one day for strength and another day for cardio. Try combining the two instead,” says Torres. “Use a bench press, immediately followed by pull-ups, then run a mile as fast as you can… and repeat.” Another good example: Jump rope for a minute, followed by squats, an overhead press, and finally sit ups. Repeat. - See more at: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/endurance/7-ways-to-boost-your-endurance-and-stamina#sthash.6pyhTco2.dpuf
Combine strength days with cardio days.
It’s a simple equation: the more muscle you can get working, the more it will challenge your heart and your cardiovascular system. Instead of building cardio-only workouts (the pitfall that’ll prevent you from building endurance) make sure to weave strength days into your training. “Most people reserve one day for strength and another day for cardio. Try combining the two instead,” says Torres. “Use a bench press, immediately followed by pull-ups, then run a mile as fast as you can… and repeat.” Another good example: Jump rope for a minute, followed by squats, an overhead press, and finally sit ups. Repeat. - See more at: http://www.mensfitness.com/training/endurance/7-ways-to-boost-your-endurance-and-stamina#sthash.6pyhTco2.dpuf
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