It’s HUMP DAY! Wednesdays aren’t usually people’s favorite day of the week, however it is my favorite because it means it’s leg day!
Let’s jump right in. I usually start with leg presses. I push myself to my limits. If your legs aren’t shaking by the time you finish, then you’re doing it wrong. I usually start off with a comfortable/light weight and do a rep of 8. Then I increase the weight. The increments you go up by depends on you, but just make sure it’s a gradual increase. Decrease the reps as the weight gets harder and harder to push. To reach your maximum PR (personal record), you just lift the weight just one time, if it seems extremely heavy. Once you go as heavy as you can, decrease the weight by the same increment and increase the reps. Personally, by the time I get back to the initial weight, I like to do at least 10 reps. But, if your legs seem close to breaking by then, you can do 8 instead. This exercise works on a variety of leg muscles, including your quads and glutes.
Although this workout does work on your glutes (butt), it is still important to work out those muscles separately to get gains. This is where the infamous squat comes in. Squatting isolates the glute muscle, which aids its growth. It is a simple sit down, stand up motion, but proper technique is required to perform this exercise to get the best results. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart, and when you bend down your butt should be parallel or even lower than your knees. Also, your knees should not go too forward (beyond where your feet are). Your back needs to be straight and leaning over to prevent injuries.
There are many ways to do a squat with or without weight. There are jumping squats, where every time you bend down you have to jump up. Or, you have your traditional squat which focuses solely on the form I mentioned above. However, when you use the squat rack, there are only two ways to perform it and it all depends on the placement of the bar. If you put the bar in front of you/on your upper chest and cross your arms to hold it in place, it is called a front squat. The front squat focuses more on the quads than glutes.
On the other hand, if you put the bar behind your head (on your shoulders), then that is a back squat. Either way, any of these squats will produce results as long as you have good form. It is all up to what you prefer and what feels comfortable.
Since we want to touch on all of the main muscle groups during our leg day routine, we can’t leave out our calves. You can work on calves with any of these exercises, however there is one machine that I prefer to use to strengthen the muscle even more. It is the standing calf press. This machine puts the weight’s pressure on your shoulders and you have to push up the weight up by lifting your heels and stimulating the calf. There is a bar at the bottom, that you stand on. You should make sure that only the balls of your feet is on the bar, and your heels are hanging off; resting parallel or even below your toes. This is necessary in order to properly lift the weight with just your calf muscle.
There are many other options to work on these same muscle groups, but these resemble my personal routine. Sometimes at the end of the workout, completing some cardio and stretching the muscles is a good way to cool down and prevent cramps. Leg day is great, but the recovery days after are always dreaded. So, if you have trouble walking up and down stairs or just in general; don’t worry, it’s normal.