Q. How do I build a total body and increase my leg definition?
A. Pay attention to your legs and you can build a ripped new body from the ground up
Legs are the neglected stepchild in physical training. You can always hide stilts under sweatpants, and it's so easy to display a massive chest and big arms by washing your T-shirts in hot water.
But as a speed, strength, and conditioning coach, I've watched both athletes and nonathletes transform their bodies by shifting their training focus to their legs. Developing the largest muscle groups in your lower body--your quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteal muscles--boosts your metabolism by increasing your body's lean muscle mass. It also revs up production of hormones that help you build muscle. You'll look leaner and more muscular, and you'll feel stronger. Check that--you'll be stronger. Turn the page to see the payoffs.
A Stronger Upper Body
Training large muscle groups with heavy lifting produces a natural surge in growth hormone and testosterone. And there's nothing like squats to involve the large muscle groups. To perform the following variation on the squat, you have to activate most of your body's muscles simultaneously
Bulgarian split squat
Stand with a bench behind you and a barbell across the back of your shoulders. Place your left foot on the bench. Keeping your torso upright, lower your body until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Pause, then push yourself back up. Perform three or four sets of eight to 10 repetitions on each leg.
If legs are the least-trained part of the body, hamstrings are the least-trained part of the legs. Weak hamstrings can cause your hips to tilt forward, placing stress on your lower back. Building your hamstrings so they're 60 to 80 percent as strong as your quadriceps will improve your posture and help keep your body properly balanced.
Single-leg Romanian deadlift
Grab a light dumbbell in your right hand and stand on your left foot with your right foot off the floor. With your left knee slightly bent and your lower back naturally arched, push your hips backward to begin lowering the weight. (You should feel a stretch in your hamstrings and glutes.) Continue lowering the dumbbell as far as you can while keeping your back flat. Pause, then push through your left heel to return to the starting position. Do three or four sets of six to 10 repetitions on each leg.
Look at an NFL running back: chiseled and powerful, with scary-strong glutes. You can turbocharge your acceleration by increasing the length and frequency of your strides. The sled drag/lunge walk builds your hamstrings and glutes (the key muscles for speed) while you pull horizontally against resistance.
Sled drag/lunge walk
Attach a 25-pound weight to a dip belt and put the belt on, with the weight on the floor behind you. Keeping your torso upright, take a large step forward with your left foot and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor, your knee over your toes. Repeat with your right foot. Try three or four sets of eight to 10 steps.
To get higher, think lower-body power. Remember Newton's third law: For every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. Send more force into the floor and you'll have a greater blastoff in return.
Dumbbell squat jump
Stand holding a pair of dumbbells at arm's length at your sides, your feet about shoulder-width apart. Bend at the hips and knees to lower your body as you would during a squat, but lean slightly forward from the hips so that your shoulders move in front of your feet. Drive your feet into the floor, then jump straight up. Balance yourself when you land, and immediately lower yourself into the next squat. Aim for three or four sets of eight to 10 repetitions.
Sports agility calls for strength and power in the frontal, or side-to-side, plane of motion. Most people train only in the sagital, or forward-and-backward, plane. Do these two moves one after another. This "complex" set couples a strength exercise (the drop lunge) with a power move (the ice-skater). Perform the complex three times.
Stand with a barbell across the back of your shoulders, feet shoulder-width apart. With hips facing forward, step back with your right foot and place it to the left of your left leg as you bend your left knee, lowering your body. Push back up to the starting position and repeat with your other leg. Do eight to 10 repetitions with each leg.
Stand on your right leg with your left foot off the floor. Push off with your right foot, contracting your legs and glutes, to propel yourself to the left. Land on your left foot and lightly tap your right foot on the floor for balance before immediately bounding back in the other direction. Each landing is one repetition. Do eight to 10.
Any personal health questions or problems mental or physical or before starting any diet or exercise program.Please consult your physician !
Wishing You Great Health!
Glen Edward Mitchell
Any questions? Ask Glen