Weightlifting exercises for your legs

Tony Machine

Kerry and I started blogging, and originated this channel, to help people lose weight. We’re both tired of seeing diet programs that seem to tip the scales toward money gains. And, while clients lose weight, the weight comes back when the money to the company, stops. It doesn’t matter what diet you choose. They all work. But, unless behavioral patterns change, and the simple formula of calories in versus calories out falls in the right direction, the weight comes back.

Step one, on behavioral change, weight lifting. This post, and its subsequent video, introduces legs. Specifically, glutes, thighs, hamstrings, and calves. We’ll do a hybrid workout with a kettle bell and a machine. If you don’t have access to equipment, write me. I can help you figure out exercise with common items laying around your house: like a gallon of milk in each hand.

Now, it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80, you can do each exercise I demonstrate in the video. The younger crowd might want to do squats, deadlifts, lunges, and other types of exercises that bring healthy joints into play more so than the knee-friendly exercises I’ll demonstrate. Either way, we have to work the legs. Our bodies start consuming our own muscles at a rate of one percent, per year, after about age 32. Unless we offset the loss with weights, we’ll start to see the ‘middle age spread’ come on, year, after year, after year. Take a good look at older men and women. What’s the first thing you’ll see when looking at their lower bodies? They have a flat behind. The reason? The glutes. The muscles losses start here. It’s a large muscle group. And, one of the first to go.

I do a kettle bell exercise. It resembles a dance move. Watch the video. It’s self-explanatory: thrust the hips, while engaging the weight, and allow the knees to gently flex upward, as it goes. The result makes the glutes work. And, they feel a bit tight afterward. We’ll cover stretching in a subsequent post. Suffice to say, after a good leg work out, stretching that day, or the next, should accompany your routine.

Next, depending on your equipment, or the availability to equipment, leg extensions. Leg extensions work the thighs. The key: use a slow movement through the range of motion. Herky, jerky can cause injury; slowly work through the range of motion, and end the exercise at the apex, and at the recoil point without relieving the strain the weights cause on the muscles of the thighs. In other words, keep the pressure from the gravity of the added weight on the muscle group during each exercise you do. Sometimes, it might feel good to relieve the stress, but always keep the stress on the muscle. After the set, take 30 to 45 seconds, and repeat. Please see the video for a demonstration.

Hamstring
Picture Credit: Henry Vandyke Carter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Next, leg curls; these work the hamstrings. And, again, keep the stress on the muscle. Importantly, since this can feel awkward, concentrate through the range of motion, and articulate the process to completion. Stretching the hamstrings, after a solid workout, might seem like a pain, but do it. Your muscles will thank you.

Calf Muscle
Picture Credit: Henry Vandyke Carter [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Now, leg curls; these work the hamstrings. And, again, keep the stress on the muscle. Importantly, since this can feel awkward, concentrate through the range of motion, and articulate the process to completion. Stretching the hamstrings, after a solid workout, might seem like a pain, but do it. Your muscles will thank you.

Then, leg press; again, slow movements, through the course of the exercise while not “locking out” the knees during the repetitions. Also, I work the calves in during ‘active rest’ between sets of leg press. Active rest means, to work a different group of muscles while waiting to start the next set of muscles you previously worked. Now, the calves consist of the soleus, and the gastrocnemius, and they possess a myriad of connective tissues as well. We’re concentrating on calf raises. You’ll see them demonstrated in toes pointed out, toes pointed neutrally, and toes pointed in, fashion. We exercise the calves this way to assure all muscle fibers an equal workout. Again, it’s important to hold the tension on the muscle. Work fluidly. And, stretch when you’re finished: either immediately after with a short yoga session, or at least, the next day.

Next time, we’ll do arm exercises. Thanks for reading.

Love to all: Tony

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