Your legs support your entire body, they are what get you through the day, literally. Want to tone them up or increase muscle? Squats work the hips, quads, glutes, hamstrings and even your core! Try out my leg routine, majority of the exercise can even be performed at home! I've been doing this for the last two months and I LOVE my results, my inner thighs have firmed up and I have noticed an overall increase in muscle tone. I've always felt confident about my legs but since increasing the number of and adding variety to my squats, I feel even better!
Now, I don't just go to the gym and do legs, I normally do all of my strength training in one day, which would include my upper body and abs as well. You may break it up if you like, BUT remember you never work the same muscle group two days in a row! So if you work your legs today, they need at least one day rest period before you do the routine again.
Also, I always start a strength training session with anywhere from 5-20 minutes of interval training on the elliptical or another type of cardio and then in between sets I keep my heart rate up by doing jumping jacks, jumping rope, high knees, or if I'm feeling spirited, burpees. This helps burn more fat, and gives you a better work out!
When trying a new work out routine, you may need to start with a smaller amount of reps or weight. You don't want to be so sore the next day you can barely walk, let alone go to the gym! Once the routine becomes easy, increase the amount of reps to keep your body challenged!
First off, we need to cover what a proper squat form is. I see too many people in the gym with poor form, not only are they not getting a work out but they are putting themselves at risk for injury!
How to do a Proper Squat
1. Stand with feet shoulder width apart
2. Stick your butt out and chest up
(at first this feels unnatural but prevents putting too much pressure on your lower back)
3. Lower your bottom as if you are trying to sit into a chair, trying to have your thighs be parallel to the floor. Only go as low as you can with proper form though!
4. Your knees should not go over your toes!
5. Slowly come back up, repeat!
Need more squat information and tips before checking out my work out?
Check out this awesome Greatist article!
AND thanks to my friend Marcus, click here for an IN DEPTH guide on how to master the box squat!
LISTEN TO YOUR BODY WHEN DETERMINING REP NUMBERS - you want to feel the burn, not pain!
Standing Squats with 15 lb. dumbbells resting on each shoulder or a back bar - 5 sets of 10
(your arms should be in dagger position, with the weights resting on your shoulders)
Pitcher Squats - 30 on each leg, no weights in hands
(Watch this video if you don't know how, the girl starts out with bad form, which can easily be fixed by moving your foot up further away from the bench - remember DO NOT let your knee go over your toe)
Plie Squats - 30 to 50 reps total (depends on how sore I am that day)
Goblet Squat - 30 to 50 reps total holding 10 lb. weight
Prisoner Squat - 5 sets of 10
Keep arms overhead, feet underneath shoulders, and arms behind head
Glute Bridges - 50
(Go slow, you should NOT be humping the air)
Fire Hydrant - 2 sets of 30 each leg
(you will feel silly the first time doing this, yes you look like a dog peeing but it works your butt and core, so the silliness is worth it)
Kick Back - 3 sets of 10
(picture shows ankle weights, I don't use those!)