10 Tips to Get Strong & Sexy Legs

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Before we get to the tips, let’s learn a little more about the leg muscles.

Quads/Front Thigh

This is the front of your thigh, and is made up of 4 main muscles (the vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and the rectus femoris) that extend the leg (think of the leg extension machine). These muscles are used for walking, running, going up stairs, and other physical activities. They are very powerful and often overused. This puts them at risk for strains, tears, or ruptures. During most leg training, the quads are usually the easiest to activate and tire out.

Exercises that emphasize the quads are squats, forward lunges, and leg press.

Glutes

The glutes are one of the largest and strongest muscle groups in the body and is comprised of 3 muscles – glute medius, glute maximus (biggest muscle in the body), and glute minimus.
They are involved with AD-duction (moving towards the midline of the body) and AB-duction (moving away from the midline) of the legs as well as hip extension (think glute bridge). The glutes are important because they help stabilize the pelvis which will allow a good base for your spine to sit on top of.  They are important in sprinting and lateral movements in sports. Most people, men especially, overlook this in their training and should instead place it as a main focus.

Exercises that focus on glutes include glute bridges, deadlifts, hip/back extension, and hip thrusters.

Hamstrings

The hamstrings are located in the back of the upper thigh just under your glutes. The main function is knee flexion (think leg curls) and hip extension. It is comprised of three muscles – the biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus. This muscle group does similar movements as the glutes. Exercises that focus on glute strength will also target the hamstrings.

Exercises that focus on the hamstrings include leg curls, stiff leg deadlifts, and deadlifting in general.

Calves

The calves are made up of four muscles – gastrocnemius, 2 heads of the gastrocnemius, and the soleus. The function of this muscle group is primarily to elevate the heel when running, walking, or jumping – i.e. they’re VERY important!
Common exercises for calves – all variations of calf raises.
Now that we have basic anatomy of the leg you can take it a step further and train them properly. Generally, it is a good idea to emphasize on glute strength since it is overlooked so often. Keeping that in mind we will form a training program with that as the focus. As with any muscle group, it makes sense to start with compound movements and then go into isolation exercises. This means that we start with bigger movements that use more muscles first such as deadlifts, or squats and end off with isolation exercises that use one muscle group such as leg curls. Since they recruit more muscles, compound movements are more fatiguing. On the other hand, compounds allow for more weight to be moved.

10 Tips for Strong & Sexy Legs

  1. Dynamic stretching – Before a workout, do some dynamic stretches to get the blood flowing to your legs. The more limber you are, the more force you can exert during your workout.
  2. Isolation Lifts – After hitting the squat rack, try doing some of the isolation exercises we mentioned above, like lunges, calf raises, leg extensions/curls…get CREATIVE! But don’t overdo it. If you feel like a train hit you the next day(soreness), you went too far.
  3. Diet – Sexy legs, just like a six-pack are a product of a great diet. Talk to Coach John or Coach Billy about getting your diet in check.
  4. Core Strength – Did you know a weak core can cause injuries during your leg lifts? Tighten up that core so you can work your legs out even harder!
  5. Balance Out Your Lifts – If you always work your dominant side first, switch it up. If you’re a righty, work your left side first, and vice-versa.
  6. Plyometrics – Incorporating plyometric movements like the squat jump/split jump lunges can work your leg muscles even more if you’re not already doing them. Focus on form and explosion off the ground!
  7. Cardio – Do we even need to say this? Cardio will help get you leaner, but that doesn’t mean spending 30 minutes on a treadmill. You can do circuit weight training, sprinting, swimming, and more. Keep it fresh!
  8. Get Up More – If you’re sitting at a desk all day, figure out a way to get moving during the day a bit more. Short walks are great for recovery from a killer leg workout.
  9. Bring Out the Foam Roller – A deep tissue massage with a foam roller can speed up recovery, and keep your muscles from getting tight. The last thing you need is an injury – prevent them with a foam roller stretching routine!
  10. Work Hard and Have Fun – If you’re working out at our facility, you already know our workouts bring the HEAT. Have some fun, and go after your goals!

About the Author John Praino

Coach John's enthusiastic approach and positive energy will get anyone excited about fitness. However it's his ability to motivate and inspire people to do more not just in the dojo but in life that gets results.

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