Are you looking to tone your legs? Does your lower body fail in comparison to your upper body? Are you off balance due to an unstable lower body?
Then it’s time that you start a lower-body workout routine. Toning the lower body is vital to supporting the rest of your torso, upper body and head. If the upper body is heavier than the lower body, then the body is unbalanced. The legs carry the rest of the body through lifting, movement and physical activity. Without lower-body function or muscles these types of movements would be impossible. In addition, strong leg muscles prevent the appearance of varicose and spider veins. Lower-body exercises require proper form to reduce the risk of injury.
Among the best, the most effective lower-body exercise is the barbell squat.
The barbell squat is the ultimate strength-building and body-toning exercise because of its movement that involves a larger part of the muscular system. Just this one exercise will provide quick results. Also, it offers numerous benefits to your body and health. Why? Remember, your legs are the largest and the strongest part of your whole body. The physical action when doing the barbell squat demands more effort in each and every repetition you perform, making you work harder with every set. Believe me, there is no other exercise that will bring more results to your training arsenal than the barbell squat.
Here’s how to get the best results from a barbell squat:
• Place a barbell on the rack. Duck under the bar and position it across your shoulders on the trapezius muscles, slightly above the posterior part of the deltoids. Grasp the bar using a grip width appropriate to your body type and pull your elbows to the rear.
• Look straight ahead and lift the bar off the rack.
• Move back a step or two from the squat rack and set your feet shoulder apart, keeping your toes pointed forward.
• Slowly bend your knees and squat down with your back bent forward.
• To avoid injury, keep your back straight (the axis of flexion runs through the hip and thigh joint).
• Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, extend your legs and straighten your torso to return to the starting (upright) position.
• Exhale as you complete the movement.
Remember to stand tall, stick your chest out and keep your abs tight. Then, take a deep breath in to fill your lungs with air (this will allow you to stiffen your rib cage). Lastly, contract your butt.
To lose weight in the legs, hips and buttocks, a lower-body workout needs to include more cardio than dynamic training in the beginning. Lower-body cardio includes, running, walking, using a treadmill or elliptical, riding a bicycle or playing a sport. As weight is lost, you should switch the routine to more strengthening exercises and less cardio to tone the muscles. If you are looking to have firm leg muscles, then your routine should concentrate on building and toning. To do this, you should do dynamic exercises that include all the lower-body muscle groups.
The best dynamic leg and lower-body exercises strengthen your lower-body muscles. These exercises can be done in the gym with the help of equipment or at home. Train at least three times a week on the lower body to improve stability and balance. If you don’t know how to do an exercise or are having trouble with a specific movement, ask a professional such as a personal trainer to avoid improper movements that can cause injury.
Clement Coleman is a registered personal trainer at 12th Street Gym. To learn more about Coleman and more than 30 other top trainers at 12th Street, visit www.12streetgym.com.