Gurl, I wanna talk boutcho laigs!
Translation: I’m feeling extra sassy today cause I had a great leg workout earlier.
I’ve talked before about my favorite compound exercises, which work out almost all the muscles in your whole body. I maintain that squats are one of the best exercises for overall strength building, and that includes the leg region. But there are a couple other great exercises that make a solid addition to your leg workout if you don’t already do them. And powerful legs are an essential part of having good posture and a strong core. I’m not a trainer or an expert; this is just my opinion. But I’m right. For the record.
The first exercise I want to go over is the lunge. If you ever played high school soccer, you were probably forced to do far too many of these every day at practice as a warmup. You also probably weren’t forced to do them with good form, and thus didn’t realize how great they are for your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and even your abs.
You can do these just with bodyweight, but I like to add a couple of light dumbbells, between 8 and 10 pounds. Begin at one end of a long room with your feet together. Take one very long step forward with one leg so that both knees are bent. Your front thigh should be parallel to the floor, and your back knee should be ALMOST touching the floor, but not quite. If you go down too low, you’re apt to hurt your knee, and if you don’t go down low enough, you’re not getting as good of a workout. Lift the back leg and take another huge step so that the back leg is now in front. Repeat this an even number of times, so that each leg gets the same amount of stress on it. It’s important to keep your back straight during this. Make sure your posture is upright and you’re not arching back or slumping forward. Remember to breathe! Otherwise you’ll collapse as soon as you reach the end of the room, and your body will inflate like a giant blimp as your lungs take in all the oxygen you just deprived yourself of. (I read it on Wikipedia, so it must be true.)
Skip to 0:32 to see a great lunge.
The other exercise I love to do when I’m at the gym and have all the weight machines at my disposal is the seated leg press. If you’re just getting started on it, try using a weight that is even less than your bodyweight. For instance, I weigh 120 pounds, so I might use 100 pounds to start with, although you will be surprised at how much weight you can lift with just your legs. With your ass and back firmly plants against the reclined seat, and your feet planted against the platform, release the weight when you are in a comfortable position. Bend your knees as far as you can. It would be ideal if they could even touch your chest. Then straighten your legs so that you lift the weight. Don’t lock your knees! Keep them soft and loose. Instead of holding the handles, you can also place your hands lightly on your knees to stabilize them a little, but try not to use your hands to lift the weight. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Skip to 0:23 to see the exercise.
And there you have it, my two favorite laig exercises. The bread and butter of strong-ass legs. Because you’ll need them if you are ever in a bar fight with a bunch of kangaroos.