Friday, November 6, 2015

Strong Legs Are the Foundation of a Strong Body

I often hear something like this on an initial consultation with a new client when I ask them about their exercise habits, "I do upper body exercise 2 to 3 times per week." Then I ask what about your legs? And their reply is always the same, "I run or walk several times per week and that keeps my legs pretty strong."

The common belief is that running or walking keeps your legs strong.  While running and walking are great activities for your cardiovascular health, they are not the best form of exercise to build strength in your legs; strength training is.  Building strong legs is the foundation to building a strong body just as building a solid foundation on a building is key having a strong structure.

Strength training develops your legs by forcing them to adapt to a resistance greater than your body weight.  Consequently, your body responds by recruiting more muscle fibers to move the additional load resulting in an increase is muscle strength not only in your legs but all over your body.  In addition strength training your legs causes your body to produce more testosterone and growth hormone.

Now that you see how important that having strong legs is, below is one of my favorite exercises for developing your legs.

The Leg Press

The leg press is one of the best exercises for overall strength and development of your legs.  First, sit in the seat, positioning your feet about shoulder width apart and chest high on the platform.   Adjust the seat height by pulling the handle and sliding forward until your thighs are parallel to the platform.  This is your start position (make sure that your lower back is pressed firmly against the back of the seat).  With your feet flat, slowly press upward until your legs are fully extended but short of locking.  Slowly return to the position where the weight almost touch the weight stack.  The breathing pattern for this exercise is to exhale as you press up and inhale as you return to the start.  Again, you will have to experiment to find a weight with which the last three repetitions are difficult to perform.

You can find my complete strength training routines at Forever Fit and Firm