Lichfield’s favourite personal trainer Raul Romero reveals what we can all do from the comfort of our own homes to achieve beautiful strong, toned legs
Our legs are the biggest muscle group in our body and we need to give them the importance they deserve when it comes to training. This means planning more than just one weekly ‘leg day’ if we really want to get them in the best shape possible and improve their strength and stamina.
There are various different ways to achieve those perfect pins. Some of which include:
- Strength training: either using your own body weight or additional weights, strength training is essential in developing shape and toning your legs. I recommend planning one or two days of strength training to pave the way for perfect pins. These training sessions don’t have to be long and tedious, in fact short and intense is often far more effective.
- Squats and lunges: yes, as simple as these sound, these two classic exercises are some of the best when it comes to enriching your leg workout to achieve those perfect pins. The great thing is you can mix the variations to make your workout more interesting and not get bored.
- Unilateral exercises: in more simple terms, these are single-leg or single-arm movements. The primary benefit of including unilateral exercises in your training program is that the exercise uses both sides of the body equally. Some examples include single leg squats, single leg deadlifts, lunges etc.
- Core work: this is one of the most commonly known techniques and the fab thing about core work is that it has so many different benefits. Incorporating core work into your weekly workout will significantly strengthen posture and therefore brace muscles a lot better for training other muscle groups – it will without a doubt help to maintain correct form and technique when it comes to leg workouts. Additionally, training our core muscles is key in protecting our legs from injury by providing extra core support.
- Healthy eating and Hydration: this is such a simple concept yet one that many forget when it comes to achieving those perfect pins. Eating a healthy balanced diet with correct portion sizes will help your body burn fat and remain healthy. Portion control is key here – we need to fuel our body with enough to enable us to function at an optimum level, but not too much so as to make us feel sluggish and overfull. The best types of food are whole, natural foods and we should aim to drink plenty of water to provide our body with all the nutrients it needs to function at its best.
If there’s one exercise that has the ability to challenge most of the muscles in your body, it’s the squat. Quadriceps, gluteus, hamstrings, abductor, hip flexor and calves are the muscles that are worked and targeted in the legs with squats and the best thing is that squats also target the core muscles.
How to achieve the perfect squat:
Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart, resting your arms down at your sides.
While bracing your core and keeping your chest up and neck neutral, bend your knees and push your hips back as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Slowly push from your heels and go back to the starting position.
The static lunge gets its name because the feet remain static, or in the same position, throughout the exercise. This exercise targets your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings, but also works on balance and stability.
How to achieve the perfect lunge:
Begin by standing in a split-stance with your right foot forward and your left foot back. Engage your abdominal muscles, straighten your back and look straight ahead. Maintain this position as you bend your legs to lower your hips toward the floor. Continue down until your left knee nears the floor then press through your right heel to return to the starting position. Complete the desired number of repetitions then repeat the exercise with your left leg forward.
Standing Leg lift
This is a simple yet effective way to build strength in the outer thighs and the hip abductors, which include the gluteus medius and minimus.
How to achieve the perfect standing leg lift:
Stand straight with your feet together. Raise your left leg to the side as far as possible and return to the starting position. Repeat until you complete the set and then change sides. For more intensity use a miniband.
Single leg deadlift
This variation of a traditional deadlift involves lifting one leg off the ground and extending it out behind you. The more complex movement works even more core muscles as well as the standing leg, which help to improve balance.
How to achieve the perfect standing leg deadlift:
Stand with your feet together. Lean forward from your hips, shifting your weight onto one leg while your other leg engages and starts to extend straight behind you. Lift your extended leg and pitch your body forward until your body forms a ‘T’ shape. Your arms should be hanging straight down, holding onto the weight. Keep a slight bend in your standing leg. Slowly bring in your extended leg and return to the starting position.
The best thing about the hip bridge is that it works the entire back of your legs and your glutes. Specifically, it fires up your hamstrings and gluteus maximus.
How to achieve the perfect hip bridge:
Lie with your back on your mat, knees bent. Place your feet flat on the mat. Now squeeze your glutes and lift your hips, lower back, buttocks and thighs so they form a straight line. Hold the position for one second then lower to just above the floor.
As with any goal, in order to achieve the goal of perfect pins we have to bite the bullet and make a start then remain consistent in our training.
For more information on strengthening and toning your legs, or any other health, fitness or nutrition queries, contact Raúl at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy training!