Effective Leg Workouts
This post has two purposes: To give you my opinion on form and range of motion, and to explain to you how mother-flippin-ridunkulously sore my legs are today. The fact that week after week I can still get my legs this sore just proves I really know how to push myself on leg day.
I typically don’t go super heavy on leg day. That’s one thing I got over. I am happy with the size of my leg muscles, and right now I am just trying to lean out and tighten up. I used to be obsessed with strength and how heavy I could lift, but realized that unless Im trying to become a power lifter or build more muscle, it really doesn’t matter, as long as my muscles are being challenged and that I change it up often, it works for me. That sentence was definitely too long, but it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want!!
Box Squats superset with Leg Extensions (2 warm ups, 4 sets)
Hack Squats superset with High Box Jumps (4 sets)
Bulgarian Squats superset with Sled Pushes (3 sets)
Squat Press superset with Jumping Split Squats (3 sets)
My legs were shaking by the time I got to the Hack Squats and continued to do so until I finished the workout.
Form and Range of Motion
The key to this workout being so effective has a lot to do with range of motion. I can’t tell you how many times a day I bite my tongue at the ridiculous form that people have with their exercises. Lower the weight, and DO THE EXERCISE.
What I see:
-Walking Lunges with 20-25 lb dumbbells- people barely getting their knee down. Your knee should be almost touching the ground with EACH REP. No bouncing, no knee-past-your-toe, and make sure you GET DOWN THERE. If this means you have to drop the dumbbells, then so be it. You will be a better athlete and have better developed muscles to show for it.
-Half Squats- these are my favorite. Girls load the barbell with a bunch of plates. They squat and come up, except they didn’t even get close to parallel. Their knees are past their toes and some people even turn their head. NEVER TURN YOUR HEAD WHEN PERFORMING A SQUAT.(Unless you are trying to injure your spine and neck, in that case feel free.) Another tip, stick your butt out! Your back should be straight, chest out, and contrary to what some people think, you can even squat down past your knees. Some say this will cause injury, but there is another equal sized group that calls bluff. Either way, all I’m asking for is at LEAST parallel. NO MORE HALF SQUATS.
-Smith squats are great. They have their place, but a real squat with a free barbell is much more effective. It’s the same principal as using dumbbells over machines. The balance factor means you have to contract more muscle fibers. Don’t get me wrong, smith squats are a great exercise, but they shouldn’t be in place of a regular full squat.
There are so many different types of squats and they all have their place. Full Squats, Front Squats, Hack Squats, Hex bar squats, dumbbell squats, box squats and the list goes on. My advice is to get the regular squat down before you start venturing out. Box squats are great because they teach you to a: squat all the way down and b: to stick your butt out. Make sure your box is low enough that you can acheive at least parallel, if not further down.
Okay, so that turned into more of a rant with a little advice mixed in, but I truly stand by correct form and full range of motion. When you see people with those beautiful long lean muscles, you can bet they are doing their exercises with full range of motion(unless they are just genetically gifted.)
Do me a favor, drop the weights and work on your form. I’m not by any means saying I’m perfect, because I’m not. I work my best to get full range of motion and correct form, but it doesn’t mean I am 100% perfect at it. I use the mirrors to judge and also ask others to make sure my form is good and that i’m getting full range of motion. You will be amazed at how different your workouts will feel if you incorporate those two principles.