Leg and hip muscles weakness is common, especially in old age. Weak leg muscles are likely to cause injury more than of that due to muscles being too tight. Muscles strengthening exercises have as much importance as that of stretching for both injury prevention and sporting performance as well.
Benefits Of Strong Leg Muscles
(i) Keeping leg muscles strong is key to stability as we age. Strengthening your leg muscles will make it easier for you to perform the routine activities such as climbing stairs, riding a bicycle, and even walking.
(ii) Your legs, especially thighs, have sizeable muscle mass. So, building leg muscles through resistance training will also help you burn calories more, even when you’re sitting still.
According to Michael J. Joyner, MD, a physiologist at the Mayo Clinic and expert in exercising and aging: “When you have more muscle mass the muscles can in fact help burn a lot of calories.”
Exercises To Strengthen Legs
These 3 exercises are the best to work out for strengthening your legs, including calf, hamstring, quadracep and gluteals muscles.
(i) Squat is a compound, full body exercise that trains primarily the muscles of the thighs, hips, buttocks, quadriceps and hamstrings, so can help build strong legs,. They also strengthen the bones and ligaments throughout the lower body. Squats are the most common exercise for increasing the strength and size of the legs and buttocks, as well as developing core strength.
(ii) But squats must be done correctly in its proper form to avoid any damage to the knee. The basic version of a squat entails holding a barbell on your shoulders behind your neck and lowering your torso a few inches by bending your legs. If you are an old individual or have any condition, avoid going all the way down because that would put far too much strain on the knees. Learn here how to do squat correctly in its proper form.
(iii) If you are doing it first time, try first doing squats without weight simply by standing with your back against the wall. Now lower yourself slowly a few inches by bending your legs and then stand up again. Never go all the way down into a crouch. Gradually, as your legs build up strength you can try going further down.
For the individuals who are into advance training here are advanced versions of squats:
(d) Front Bar Squats
(i) The leg lunges are a safe and effective method of working the legs.
(ii) Training your legs with lunges offer explosive power to your legs. All in all, this compound exercise not only strengthen your legs, but is a great way to improve flexibility and balance.
(iii) Lunges elicit a huge metabolism response, meaning you burn a ton of calories.
(iv) If you’re ready to bulletproof your body, reduce your risk of injury with the added reward of strong glutes, lean hamstrings, and toned calves, then incorporate lunges into your workout routine.
(v) You can also do lunges, holding a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing toward your body. Step forward keeping your arms at your sides, parallel to your body, and bend the knee of the forward leg, making it to bear the weight of your body. Return to your starting position and repeat with the other leg. Perform this 8 to12 times with each leg.
(i) Basic Version: While standing on a flat surface, position your feet hip-width apart. Slowly raise your heels until you’re on your tiptoes, then slowly lower back down to the starting position. Take three slow counts to raise and lower your heels. You can do 3 sets of 10-12 reps or less as per condition.
(ii) Advanced Version: Lift a barbell and hold it against your thighs, or hold a dumbbell in each hand keeping your arms hanging straight down at your sides. Lift your heels off the floor 8 to 10 times. Increase the weight of the barbell or dumbbell as you get stronger.
Many studies have found that as we age the strength losses in our bodies’ lower limbs are greater than in our upper extremities. From a functional perspective, it’s vital that anyone who does resistance training must work on a variety of muscle groups, but particularly in the lower extremities as leg and ankle strength are significantly critical for balance and the prevention of falls.
No matter whatever your age is or how sedentary you are, resistance or strength training can always benefit you. They are so effective that within just 2 months, one can reverse 3 to 4 decades of strength loss”
Related Post: 45 Minute Leg Workout
The above 3 legs strengthening exercises must have motivated you to start working out your legs in different ways. Don’t just follow the crowd to the leg extension machine. This machine targets 1 muscle at a time. You will get better results first doing the above exercises (bodyweight versions) to improve balance, posture, and strength. Later on you can add weight to do advance versions of the above exercises.