You know that running will make your legs stronger. Bicycling, you know, will also build your leg muscles. Walking, particularly up hills and stairs, can have the same effect as bicycling and running.
Do you know, though, which calisthenics and weightlifting exercises can strengthen specific parts of your legs? Yes, there are specific exercises that will build the muscles in your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and thighs. When you build those muscles, you will run, bicycle, and walk faster. Building those muscles will also help you lose weight because muscles burns more calories than fat. Stronger legs will also improve your physical and cardiovascular fitness because they allow you to exercise more efficiently and for a longer period of time.
Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Calves
- Double-Leg Calf Raise: Calf raises in general are the “classic calf-strengthening exercise,” according to the WebMD report “Calf-Strengthening Exercises.” Your feet should be hip-width apart when you raise all of your body off the ground except for the balls of your feet. You can hold dumbbells as you do the exercise. Three sets of calf raises with eight to 12 raises per set works best.
- Seated Calf Raise: While you’re sitting, you should raise your heels as high as possible. You should lean forward during this exercise. If you want to add resistance, you should place your hands on your thighs.
Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Glutes
- Deep Knee Bends: When you lower your body as you bend your knees, your rear end should almost touch the floor reports “The Weightless Workout,” an article on Bodybuilding.com’s website.
- Hip Thrusts: The Men’sHealth article “The 17 Best Glutes Exercises” includes advice that you should do hip thrusts for about 20 seconds every time you’ve been sitting for 20 minutes.
Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Hamstrings
- The Single-Leg Dead Lift: This exercise consists of lifting one leg behind you until your two legs are at a roughly 90 degree angle to each other while you are holding a dumbbell in each hand. “Love Your Legs Workout,” an article in Fitness magazine recommends doing at least two sets of this exercise with 15 to 20 reps for each leg per set.
- The Hamstring Curl: Lying on your back, move your legs until your knees are bent at a 90 degree angle. “Love Your Legs Workout” recommends two to three sets of 15 to 20 reps each.
Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Quadriceps
- The Split Squat: Your quadriceps are large thigh muscles. Standing with your back facing a chair that is two feet behind you with your hands on your hips, you should place one foot on the chair. Then squat until your front leg is bent 90 degrees.
- The Pistol Squat: With your fists in front of you and your elbows bent, lift one forward a few inches off the floor. Then squat down so the leg on the ground is bent at a 90 degree angle. At the same time, you should lift the leg that’s in the air higher until it’s at hip level.
Exercises That Will Strengthen Your Thighs
- The Goblet Squat: This squat is done while you’re holding a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest with your elbows bent out to the side. Your knees should be bent at a 90 degree angle when you squat. This exercise targets your inner thighs. You should do two to three sets, 15 to 20 reps per set reports “Love Your Legs Workout.”
- A Thigh Machine: The WebMD report “Strength Training: Building Leg Muscles” says that all your thigh muscles are strengthened when you use a thigh machine. The machine connects weights to a bar. While seated, you pull the bar forward with your feet.
There are plenty of opportunities to strengthen your calves, glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and thighs at your local gym. The best plan is to exercise each of the specific parts of your legs approximately every 48 hours. Resting your legs so they recover from the microscopic tears that are inevitable is smarter than risking larger tears that can prevent you from exercising for weeks or months. Good luck!!