▪ The gluteals found within the buttocks
▪ Hip flexors on the sides of the hips
▪ Hamstrings at the back of the thighs below the hips and above the knees
▪ Last of all the calves found on the back of the legs just below the knees preceding the ankles.
Most men often fail to notice the muscles within the lower legs until they become either sore or irritated. When attending your local gym on any given day of the week you’ll generally see a number of trainees running on the treadmill, lifting weights, performing chin-ups, or lying on the floor performing exercises such as biceps curls or a variation of abdominal exercises. Few can be observed doing leg presses, squatting or even deadlifting due to the fact that training the lower body today is recognized as one of the most difficult and less enjoyable tasks.
Simply putting it, leg exercises are basically weight training exercises designed to enhance strength and build in the muscles located in the lower part of the body including the calves, thighs, hips and buttocks.
Throughout your day to day activities your leg muscles play an active and continuous role in transporting your body from point A to B when walking, running, climbing up and down a flight of stairs, elevating the body from a point of rest and even in the lifting heavy objects such as the supermarket bag.
Leg resistance training exercises as with many of the typical fitness exercises today require the joint working together of several connecting muscle groups within the legs back and abdominal to perform a range of exercises using a variety of different exercise equipment at home or at the local gym.
Professional athletes including several world class sprinters have been known to include the bodyweight squat or traditional squat to their post run routine to target and stimulate muscle build a specific muscle group known as the gluteus to improve their running ability without the use of any additional equipment.
Performing the Bodyweight Squat
▪ Begin the exercise in an upright position by standing with both your feet at a distance of hip-width apart and your toes positioned facing forward.
▪ Begin lowering your body to a seated position without permitting your knees to veer forward beyond the toes.
▪ Continue lowering the body until you feel your hamstrings, gluteus and quadriceps begin to contract.
▪ Slowly return to the standing position to complete a single rep of the exercise.
▪ You should begin the bodyweight squat exercise with ten to fifteen reps per session adding weights as you progress with experience.
Several of the world class athletic sprinters are known for being what is often referred to as predominantly hamstring runners (running without engaging the gluteus muscles). As such trainers who enhance the performance of their sprinters have conventionally included single-leg deadlifts in their training routine for building the gluteus muscles in athletes allowing the engaging of the muscle group during competition to boost performance.
Performing the Single-Leg Deadlift
▪ Begin the exercise by holding a set of free weighted barbells just in front of your body.
▪ Bend either your left or right knee (whichever you feel comfortable beginning with) pivoting at your waist lifting the other leg behind you.
▪ Lower the barbells slightly below your knees keeping them close to the top of your leg recruiting the gluteus and hamstring muscles of the forward leg before returning to the starting position.
▪ Perform the exercise in twelve to fifteen reps on each leg.