Monday, December 28, 2015

You Need More Than Running to Strengthen Your Legs

I hear this statement all the time from guys "I don't need to work my legs because I run".  Well, I'm sorry to inform all you guys who think that way, running is not the same as strength training your legs.  While running improves your cardiovascular fitness, it does very little in the way of building muscle mass and strength in your legs as weight lifting does.

Just as a house is only as strong as its' foundation, your legs are the foundation for a strong body.  In addition, your legs are the largest muscle group in your body and that means they are major calorie burners, thus the more muscle mass you build in your legs the more calories you burn all day.

Now that you see how important it is to strength train your legs, below is one of my favorite exercises for building muscle mass and strength.  It's called the Plate Loaded Leg Press.

Have a seat in the leg press.  Make sure that your lower back and butt are firmly press against the seat (and do so throughout the whole range of motion in this exercise).  Place your feet shoulder width apart about 4 inches from the top of the foot rest.  Now, press the weight up, unlock the safety catch, and lower the weight down toward your chest until your thighs are parallel to the foot rest (inhale on this part of the exercise), then press upward until your legs are fully extended, being careful not to lock your knees (exhale through this part of the exercise).  Perform this exercise one to two times per week for 2 to 3 sets of 8 to 10 repetitions at a resistance with which the last 3 repetitions are hard to complete.

Strength training is the best form of exercise to increase your muscle mass, and strength which is very important as you age.  You can download my favorite strength training programs by clicking on this link: Forever Fit and Firm.