Taking STEPS to fitness... with Siobhan Byrne
When it comes to keeping in overall good shape, don't take shortcuts with your legs
Over the next two weeks, we are going to look at legs - everything from glutes and hamstrings to quadriceps and calves, and how to get a complete leg workout.
In order to get that fully toned, balanced body shape, it is very important to train legs and not to leave them out of your fitness routine.
Remember, at the end of the day, you cannot spot reduce fat from just one part of your body so, if you need to lose a few pounds around your middle, make sure you are training the full body and not leaving any aspect out.
Even if you have a tendency to store body fat around the hips, thighs and butt, adding muscle to that area will make the appearance better and more toned-looking, rather than having a saggy, hanging look.
Remember too that legs hold a lot of muscle that can be developed, and muscle burns calories so more muscle means more calories burned. The bottom line is, don't neglect your legs.
To really lose those pounds of body fat you will have to stick to a clean eating plan to shift those stubborn pounds, rather than engaging in quick fix diet options which will just leave you in a yo-yo dieting situation and therefore never happy with your body shape.
Strength training on legs is usually one of the most toughest days, primarily because it requires more energy. On the plus side, using more energy means burning more calories, which is always a good thing.
Whether you are male or female, some good solid leg training will only be of benefit. Varied exercises - compound, isolation, plyometric and functional - are all great ways to engage the legs, so mix it up for a really great workout.
In out squat jumps
1/ Start in a semi squat position with feet wider than shoulder width apart.
2/ Jump into the air, changing your foot direction to split squat before landing.
3/ Then dip toward the floor before jumping back to squat position and completing a squat, changing legs as you go.
1/ Start by standing upright with feet hip width apart.
2/ Step behind and across into a curtsey, lowering your body down towards the ground.
3/ Push off the front foot back to start position, then kick the leg straight out to the side. Complete all reps on one side before changing legs.
1/ Start by standing with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, and lock your fingers behind your head.
2/ Bend at the hips and knees to lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then simply push back up to the starting position and repeat.
1/ Start by standing upright with your arms straight out in front, at shoulder height.
2/ Then lower your body toward the ground, keeping your back straight but coming on to your toes and lowering your hands down to the sides of the feet. Return to start position then repeat. Remember to push your hips back and down and not allow your back to lean forward.
Do each exercise 12 times before moving on to the next one. When you have completed each exercise, that is one set. Catch your breath before moving on to the next set, and do three to four sets, three to four times a week
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