Leg Workout – Building Strength and Power

Ultimate Leg WorkoutsBelow is a leg workout focused on increasing muscular strength and power that will also help improve your mobility, increase your balance, and decrease your risk of injury. Plus, there’s the benefit that most are interested in, which is to develop muscular size or tone. The major muscle groups in the lower body include the glutes, or your buttocks, the quadriceps, which are a collection of four muscles located at the front of your thighs, the hamstrings, which are three muscles located at the back of your thighs, and your calves.

To effectively develop strength and power, you want to stay away from weight machines and instead perform body weight and free weight exercises. Every one of the activities in this comprehensive leg workout is done while you’re standing up.

Complete this leg workout two days per week, with two days of rest in between the sessions. For example, you could do the first workout on Monday and the second one on Friday. You’ll likely read elsewhere that you need just a single day of rest in between weight training workouts, but because this particular session is intense and of higher volume, I recommend you give your muscles a break of two days so that they can adequately recover and heal before you nail them again.

*Perform 2 sets of 10 repetitions of each of these exercises*

Walking Lunges with a Medicine Ball Twist

Equipment Needed: Medicine Ball
Muscles: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves, Obliques

For this leg workout stand and hold a single medicine ball out in front of you with extended arms. Take a large step forward with your left leg. While maintaining an upright torso, lower your right knee down, stopping it just short of touching the floor. While in this lowered position, twist your torso 90 degrees to the left so that the medicine ball and your arms become perpendicular to the direction you’re stepping. Twist back to center. Step forward with your right leg, coming up out of the lunge. Repeat on the opposite side, stepping forward this time with your right foot.

Medicine Ball Overhead Squats

Equipment Needed: Medicine Ball
Muscles: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves, Lower Back, Abdominals

With a medicine ball in your hands and your arms fully extended over your head, position your feet so that they’re slightly wider than your shoulders. Push your butt backwards and bend your knees to lower down into a squat. Your arms will want to tilt forward, but fight to keep them pointed directly towards the ceiling as you squat until your thighs become parallel with the floor. Return to starting position and repeat.

Jump Squat Thrust

Equipment Needed: Medicine Ball
Muscles: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves, Shoulders

You’re going to need some ceiling room for this one. Step outside if you need to. Hold a medicine with both hands at your chest, your elbows lined directly under the ball. Lower down into a squat. Explode up out of the squat, jumping as high as you can. As you come up, simultaneously thrust the medicine ball upwards, throwing it as high as possible. Let the ball hit the floor, then pick it up and perform the next repetition. Do not try and catch the medicine ball, as you’ll likely jam your finger or take the ball to your face.

Single Leg Deadlifts

Equipment Needed: Dumbbell or Kettlebell
Muscles: Glutes, Hamstrings

Stand on your right leg with your left foot picked up and held behind you. Bend forward at the waist, reaching down and touching your right foot with your left hand. Rise back up. Perform all assigned repetitions for one leg before completing the exercise on the other leg. If this leg workout is too easy, hold a single dumbbell or kettlebell in your hand and touch your foot with the weighted implement.

Tuck Jumps

Muscles: Glutes, Quadriceps, Hamstrings, Calves

We’re finishing off this leg workout with the most intense of the exercises. Tuck jumps are meant to be done as explosively as possible. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart or slightly wider. Jump and drive your knees up to your chest, bringing your feet up off the floor as high as possible. As you land from the jump, immediately take off again into the next repetition. Don’t worry if you’re not able to get your knees up high in the beginning. You’ll see significant improvements as you consistently perform the exercise.

About The Author

Kim Nunley - Article AuthorKim Nunley has worked in the health and fitness field for over 10 years. She received her Master’s of Science Degree in Kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (C.S.C.S.) through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She has been a personal trainer, strength and conditioning coach, physical education instructor and athletic coach, and now works as a freelance writer. She also writes short and feature-length screenplays.

Helpful Leg Workout Accessories

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References

Wikipedia – Human Leg

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