Ever noticed those mighty quads and shiny calves of your idolized soccer player? If yes, then I don’t think you would question the importance of leg exercises.
I left gym a long time ago and since then have only been travelling towards the calisthenics. But during my gym days, one of the many things I took note of was that almost every newbie skips the leg day. Their logics were excuses, and there dedication was only committed to tight shirts. But we’re not here for a bedtime story; we’re here to know the importance of calisthenics for legs (since I am not a big fan of gyms), and how to start (because you need to be a beginner if you want to be a pro.)
Now to start this off, I want to emphasize on the fact that leg workout is almost the best friend for your stability. And in my experience I have noticed that if you want to run faster and regular, leg exercises help a lot.
You may find it questionable, but leg excercises also helps to develop the muscles in your upper body.
Hormones and Testosterones
Muscle growth occurs when you break down fibers through stress, called micro-fractures. Satellite cells rush in to repair those areas so the muscles become thicker and stronger. Specific hormones signal the activation of these satellite cells and the cells present within the muscles, thereby stimulating muscle growth. The more muscle mass stressed, the greater the release of these hormones. Because the legs, along with the glutes, contain some of the largest muscles in the body, leg workouts do a lot to stimulate growth hormones and testosterone, which benefit muscle growth all over the body.
This is not to say that leg workout alone will help to build a balanced muscular body; you need to exercise your whole body. Plus adequate sleep is of utmost importance.
Guy or girl, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t appreciate a tight and shapely butt. We all know guys love a nice ass, and it’s been proven in studies that girls find a guy’s butt the most attractive part of their body.
It doesn’t matter if you’re cracking a home run or playing football, the power for these movements is grounded in the lower body. All athletic movement involves the opening and closing of the hip like jumping, throwing, or punching.
AEROBICS SHOES- Sufficient cushioning to absorb shock and pressure that are many times greater than ordinary walking. Arches that maintain side-to-side stability. Thick upper leather support. Toe-box. Orthotics may be required for people with ankles that over-turn inward or outward. Soles should allow for twisting and turning.
RUNNING SHOES- Sufficient cushioning to absorb shock and pressure. Flexible at the ball of the foot. Sufficient traction on sole to prevent slipping. Consider insoles or orthotics with arch support for problem feet.
How to begin with leg exercises (calisthenics)?
Following are some exercises to begin with. Here your stress should be on doing them right rather than doing them hard, so don’t worry if you are slow.
First you need to download a workout timer app such as Tabata timer or Gymboss so that you overdo or chicken out.
Procedure– 30 sec per exercise with 10 sec rest in between. Don’t bother counting; keep on doing until the timer goes off. (do as many reps as you can)
1. Quick warm-up (jumping, spot running, rope jump, etc.)
- Release of adrenaline
- Enabling oxygen in the blood to travel with greater speed and at a higher volume
- Increased production of synovial fluid located between the joints to reduce friction
- Increase of temperature in the muscles
- Supply of energy through breakdown of glycogen
- Removal of lactic acid
- Greater extensibility and elasticity of muscle fibres
2. Basic squats
The movement begins from a standing position. Weights are often used, either in the hand or as a bar braced across the trapezius muscle or rear deltoid muscle in the upper back. The movement is initiated by moving the hips back and bending the knees and hips to lower the torso and accompanying weight, then returning to the upright position.
- muscles of the thighs
- hips and buttocks
- quadriceps femoris muscle
- Strengthening the bones, ligaments and insertion of the tendons throughout the lower body.
3. A) Pistol squats assisted (left leg).
B) Pistol squats assisted (Right leg).
a body weight single leg squat done to full depth, while the other leg is extended off the floor. Sometimes dumbbells, kettlebells
or medicine balls are added for resistance.
- Stability and strength.
4. Lunges (light/not intense)
A lunge can refer to any position of the human body
where one leg is positioned forward with knee bent and foot flat on the ground while the other leg is positioned behind.
- the glutes in your hips and butt
- Hamstrings and quadriceps in your thighs.
- The calf muscles in your lower legs.
- Your abdominal muscles and your back muscles act as stabilizers during this exercise.
5. Jumping lunges (light/not intense)
These are more dynamic version of lunges, but instead of normal switching of legs, we use jump & switch. You can follow this link to understand better- https://youtu.be/_zLTDUFjbXA
- Muscles worked are similar as the lunges, with added benefit of ankle stability improvement.
6. Box jump.
Start the box jump by quickly getting into a quarter squat while hinging at the hips to engage the hamstrings and glutes. Then, forcefully extend your hips, swing your arms and push your feet though the floor to propel yourself onto the box. When landing, think of absorbing the force instead of “sticking” the landing.
- improves the reaction of fast-twitch muscle fibers throughout the body.
keep your back straight, breathe properly, and don’t overdo the exercise.
If you are just beginning with this, all your attention should be on doing it correctly, and don’t rush into doing so many reps very early. You can start with just two reps and then gradually increase.