Strong legs are important for sports, leisure activities and for everyday life! Whether you love playing tennis, hiking with your family, or just want to be able to walk up and down stairs, you need to plan fitness workouts that include strength training for your legs.
There are many ways to do this. You can use your own body weight with no equipment at all, doing sets of squat and lunges. We do it to music in Body & Soul classes, and it makes the time pass quickly! This will strengthen the quadriceps on the front of the leg, the hamstrings on the back of the leg and the gluteals in the hips, all at the same time.
Just a beginner?
If you feel like you are just a beginner at leg exercises, start by standing in front of a chair, then sit and stand slowly, feeling the muscles of your legs doing the work. Don’t plop into the chair or use your hands to help; move through the range of motion to sit and stand purposefully and mindfully, making your muscles do the work—that is the beginning of your squat routine! For lunges, stand feet together, then take a big step back with one foot. Maintain good posture with the torso erect, activate your abs to stay stable, then slowly bend both knees like you are starting to kneel, go down as far as you are comfortable then rise up, straightening the legs. Build up gradually to a range of motion where the legs are both at right angles at the bottom, always keeping the muscles active to do the work. Don’t lock the knees at the top. Build up to more repetitions as you get stronger.
In the gym?
For those of you who work out in a gym, you can use the leg press machine to work the same muscle groups, which is great cross training. Plan to mix it up with some standing squats and lunges, adding weights held at your side or resting on the shoulders for more resistance.
When you are faithful to do lower body strength training, you will be amazed at how much stronger you feel while jogging, walking, biking and doing all manner of sports which require leg action. Not only that, you will stay strong to sit and stand every day of your life!
Let’s stay strong together!
President, Body and Soul Ministries