Finally Leg Day! Here are some of the basic leg exercises you can start with.
In this article I will discuss the next leg exercises:
- Wall sit
- Bulgarian squat/Bulgarian split squat
If you’ve never done sports, strength training or any similar activity, than you should start with Squat, Lunge and Wall sit. And when you feel confident performing the lunge(without support), than you should advance to the Bulgarian split squat. Your ultimate goal is the Pistol Squat(simply said one leg squat).
If you are trying to gain explosive strength, you can combine this exercises with some plyometric exercises. Just start with the plyos and finish the workout with those exercises. You can learn more about the plyos here.
This is a basic squat, it is not weighted squat, it is just a body weight squat. Performing the squat with a correct form is very important. And no, by squatting you will not have back, knee and hip injuries, if you have something like that from squats, that is because you probably performed it with incorrect form or just your posture is really bad. Fix your posture first!
The squat works almost every muscle in your lower body, but mostly it works your quads(Quadriceps).
Here is how to perform it:
- Starting position: Feet shoulder width apart, you can put your arms in front of you or on your head.
- Start lowering your body by bending your knees and slightly sit back. Lower as low as you can. Keep your chest and your head up, inhale while you are lowering your body.
- Push off the ground, remember to keep your head, chest up and your back straight, exhale at the top.
The lunge is as difficult to perform as the squat, but you have to balance yourself more than the squat. In the beginning you can perform the exercise near the wall or you can put a chair near you. But don’t count on it so much, because your goal is to learn to balance yourself while lunging.
Main muscle groups: Glutes(Gluteus maximus), Quads(Quadriceps) and Hams(Hamstrings).
Remember to keep 90 degree angle at both knees and keep the knee(the front knee) just above the ankles and behind the toes!
Here is how to do it:
- Starting position: Feet shoulder width apart, again chest, head and back straight.
- Make one step forward, bend your knees to get into a lunge position, inhale while you are lowering your body.
- Push off with the foot that is in front of you and get back to starting position, exhale at the top.
And here is one isometric leg exercises, that will help you build up the strength for the tougher exercises.(Isometric exercise is a contraction of a particular muscle group or muscles by holding a certain position for a period of time.)
The main muscle groups working here are Quads(Quadriceps) and Hams(Hamstrings).
Just as the Lunge, keep you knees behind your toes, your back straight and a 90 degree angle at your knees. As you can see from the picture, this is the position you have to hold. If you can not hold it for 10 seconds or less, work more on building the thigh strength by doing squats.
Bulgarian Split Squat
This is the hardest leg exercise on this list, so before you try it, build up the strength and the balance needed with the squats and lunges. The Bulgarian squat demands a lot of balance through out the exercises. If you have the strength to perform it, you can learn the balance by performing it(You don’t have to come back to the lunge if you feel confident performing this exercise, just to learn to balance).
This is a great progression exercise for the pistol squat, which is probably your goal right?
The muscles that you are working depends from how much you extend your front foot. If you put your front foot close to the bench you work mostly on your Quads and if you extend you foot a little further from the bench you will work mostly on your Hams. You might want to stretch a little bit before that.
Here is how to perform this exercise:
- Starting position: put one leg on the bench/chair and the other one in front of you. Keep your knee behind your toes. Body straight, head straight, back straight. You can balance with your hands, or just keep them on your waist
- Start lowering your body until your rear knee is very close to the ground, inhale while lowering.
- Push off the ground with the foot in front of you and exhale at the top. Exhale at the top.
It is important to warm up before the exercise, this will help the nervous system to wake up and work better, which means that your muscles will be ready for whatever you are doing. I’ve made a simple routine you can do before every workout it is just 5 minutes warm up, but it is worth it. Calisthenics Warm Up, is it Necessary?
If you have any questions or opinions, please write them bellow, I would like to hear them.