Saturday 10 December 2016

Siobhan Byrnes on... Making strides to strong legs

Spending time on boosting the strength of your legs will pay off in the long run

Siobhan Byrne

Published 16/06/2015 | 02:30

Siobhan Byrne advises against taking shortcuts on your leg work
Siobhan Byrne advises against taking shortcuts on your leg work
Jumping squat 1
Jumping squat 2

You may think your legs go through enough each day, that they get plenty of exercise and there is no need to think about strength training for them, but think again.

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There are many benefits that you will get from training in a hard legs session, and not just for their physical appearance. Strong legs and posterior can have a massive effect on our daily life, especially since we live a much more sedentary lifestyle these days.

As a trainer, I usually find that a client's 'leg day' is usually their least favourite training day, simply because it's tough and, naturally, we tend to least favour things that we find difficult. Last week, we talked about how training legs requires more energy, thus burning more calories, but there are a lot of reasons to battle through a tough leg session.

If you are an athlete or interested in other performing sports, even just as a hobby, then balanced and strong legs can help improve your performance and speed.

Not only that, it can help to prevent injuries which can be caused from one consistent movement.

Squats are one of the best compound leg movements that can also improve your core activation, meaning better use of your mid section.

A good legs training routine will also help with posture and stability.

Remember to spend time making sure your form is correct, and that way you will get the best from your workout.

Reverse lunge

1/ Stand upright (holding dumbbells by your sides if you want a tougher workout) with your arms straight.

2/ Take a step backwards, dropping your back knee to the floor and leaning your torso slightly forward, with your weight on your front leg.

Push off your front foot to return to the start position.

Jumping squat

This exercise really comes into the the plyometric category. This is not only a great stability exercise, but it also really shocks the leg muscles with the jump. When completing any exercise, be it plyometric or not, form should never be compromised. Control the jump and land lightly on your feet, rather than pounding the ground.

1/ Start with your feet shoulder width apart, with your arms bent by your sides.

2/ Bend at the hips and knees into a semi-squat position, leaning your torso slightly forward.

3/ Then simply push off your feet, jump straight up in the air and land in a semi squat position.

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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