The Olympics has just begun and already there has been controversy, highs, lows and of course, some fantastic athletic ability from all those taking part. In addition to the skill and precision of some of the athletes competing, one of the things we can admire most is there physiques; functional and lean they are the epitome of healthy and fit. Many try to replicate this physique in the gym, yet they do not have the necessary knowledge or skill set in order to attain their goals.
They instead focus on the popular upper body exercises in order to fill a t-shirt, rather than big compound movements for overall muscle growth, which unfortunately can lead to the disastrous phenomenon known as chicken legs! Sure your top half looks great; you have a rippling 6 pack, bulging biceps and a chest that easily fills your t-shirt. Look below the waist however and we have an issue in that although the top half looks amazing and muscular, the bottom half looks like two bread sticks with shoes on.
You’ve been neglecting leg day! It’s a common issue and one that trips many gym goers up, but fear not, we have the answer! Below are 4 great exercises that will build lean muscle on the legs, as well as stripping away fat from the rest of the body due to raising your metabolic rate through the roof due to BIG compound movements! Throw in a little dietary advice and supplement recommendations and you have a winning formula for no more skinny legs! You’re welcome!
The deadlift is the godfather of all heavy compound lifts. The king of mass-builders! The granddaddy of getting ripped! You get the idea. The best thing about the deadlift? It works both the upper and lower body, that’s right both! Doing the deadlift, you use your back, your butt, your arms, your legs and your shoulders and trapezius. It’s a massive compound movement and done correctly will get you ripped to shreds! Another great selling point? It’s pretty easy to do and relatively safe as well working your core stability as well as being just generally useful in everyday life! Think how many times we pick things up throughout the day. The deadlift can be a great way of making our times at work and home more efficient. So if you’re looking to increase your size not just on the top half, but also the bottom, try out the deadlift, you’ll never look back we promise!
You think leg muscle builder, you think squat. The go to exercise for many looking to make gains on their bottom half, the squat is a pretty perfect exercise for almost anyone! The squat uses the core to support the spine, the hamstrings, the butt, the quadriceps, hips, thighs and shoulders so again; it’s a fantastic all round muscle builder, as well as being a pretty effective fat burner in general! It can be performed using body weight, dumbbells, or barbells and a squat rack depending on your current fitness level and strength and so is an easy exercise to get started with, as well as build up as your get fitter and leaner! What are you waiting for? Invest in some dumbbells or a squat rack and get going!
The lunge is safe, easy to learn and can easily be built up for extra intensity if you feel you’re starting to plateau. Just some of the benefits of lunges can include better balance, functional strength, core stability, flexibility and fat loss! So many benefits for such a simple move! The targeted muscle groups include the glutes, hamstrings and quadriceps as well as the calf muscles and abdominal muscles for stabilizers. Again, this exercise can be performed simply as a body weight exercise, or to up the intensity, you can increase the resistance by using dumbbells or even a barbell!
Its summer time, it’s hot but you are wearing a pair of jeans and sweating like a pig at the butchers. Why are you wearing jeans? Because of your skinny legs! Want to build up your calf muscles? Look no further than calf raises which are fantastic for building lean muscle in the calf area and bulking the leg up as well as possibly preventing injuries. We normally walk, a lot, and so it’s important to keep the legs working at their best for our day to day activity and calf raises have been shown to strengthen tendons and prevent Achilles injuries. They can be done as a callisthenic exercise using just body weight, or alternatively try gripping two dumbbells are you raise to increase resistance and make it just that little trickier!
To sum up!
There we have it! 4 fantastic exercises to work the lower legs that will have you filling out your swimming shorts as well as your t-shirt this summer. Train hard and eat hard if you want to build muscle, taking it plenty of lean meats, and supplementing your diet with workout formulas such as creatine to give you that extra boost in the gym. Good luck everyone, don’t break a leg!