In fact, if using calories is the goal, strength training is the way to go. From the track to the Olympia stage, Erin Stern has drawn acclaim for her legs. Bend knees slightly and jump as far as possible to the right. How-To: Stand upright holding a barbell in front of your upper thighs with an overhand grip. He contends that over-elevating the back leg — putting it on a flat bench or even higher — reduces the stability of the front leg, thus limiting your strength potential and putting you at risk for injury while also unnecessarily stressing the spine. No single exercise is arguably as effective, not only for the intended lower-body target muscles but for all the muscles from your shoulders, chest and back down to your core, all of which fire to maintain your posture and balance as you rep. Main Areas Targeted:Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core, Strengths:“You need strong legs from the ankles to the hips, and back squats work the lower-body prime movers, stabilizers and synergists,” Kirchofner explains. Build Explosive Jumping Power With These 3 Leg Exercise Progressions I just wanted to put out a quick blog post for people who are looking to build leg power in the athletes they work with. This is especially important because most jumping motions in sports are off one leg… As with the lifts outlined above, we’re going to use a variation on the box jump to maximize our gains in speed. Finger Clean Starting Position Possibly our favorite exercise in this rugby leg workout program. It also allows for an active recovery (quads rest while training hamstrings). At the bottom, your nonworking leg and arms will be out in front of you for balance with your planted foot flat on the floor. Training your tibialis ensures balance in your lower-leg musculature and further fortifies you against injury. “As for which is better, it depends on your posture, technique, previous injuries and personal preference. To make the exercise more challenging, hold a plate or use resistance bands.”. An example would be pairing weighted step-ups (push) with Romanian deadlifts (pull). Keep your chest up, lower back and abs tight, and eyes forward as you step back into a shoulder-width stance. On the women’s side, 3 of the events are primarily leg driven with substantial benefit given to those athletes that express and absorb high force. Your knees should be slightly bent and your toes turned out slightly. The latest in featured workouts, supplementation, nutrition tips, and more! We asked her about some of the foundational aspects of her training and what it takes to build the kind of lean, well-muscled pins that are just as adept at turning heads as they are at clearing the high jump bar. Strengths: “The walking lunge is a dynamic movement, requiring coordination and muscle recruitment to perform correctly,” explains Gene Flores, CSCS, a physical therapist and orthopedic clinical specialist at Vargo Physical Therapy, an outpatient clinic in Reseda, Calif. “This exercise is predominantly a unilateral activity no matter which way it’s performed, with emphasis on the front rather than the back leg. Strengths: The leg press is a closed-kinetic-chain exercise, which simply means your feet are planted rather than free. Do you use a lot of variety in your leg routine, or is it better to stick to a few proven exercises? Strong Legs will improve your athletic ability in almost every area. And just as important, it helps provide variety in what might otherwise be a very squat-centric leg program. And why not? We can only urge you, however, to not give up: Those who master this exercise have a tremendous weapon in their leg-training arsenal, and it doesn’t require a lick of equipment. You can do stationary lunges in any direction — front, side, backward or any point in between — and have a damn fine exercise on your hands. I’ll stick to simple math! It’s rare unless the place where you train is the type patrolled by beefy powerlifters and chronically hazy with chalk dust. Here’s another power-producing leg exercise that teaches your body to change directions quickly. The rarely worked tibialis anterior is activated when the toes are higher than your heels and should usually be targeted last in a complete calf workout, although you can also do it on its own or sometimes shift the order for shock value. 10 Plyometric Exercises For Power and Explosiveness. I think that too much isolation work can cause the physique to not “flow” as well. THREE EXERCISES TO IMPROVE SINGLE LEG POWER Most sport and lifestyle activities require us to be explosive, change direction, and jump when only one foot is planted on the ground. (ii) Training your legs with lunges offer explosive power to your legs. “The cues I utilize when teaching this movement are to always have your core engaged, with a neutral spine or slight lordosis (extension),” Flores says. What do you think? I’ll do two workouts per week for legs, but will instead focus on a heavy/athletic day and a light/aesthetic day. Barbell squats utilize barbells held at the chest in front or on the traps behind the neck. Stand with feet together. To provide the resistance, you can hold a barbell, dumbbells or kettlebells (either at your sides or racked at shoulder level), wear a weight vest or just go with your own bodyweight. Here are 5 of the most effective single leg exercises to pause your way to stronger, more stable single leg lifts. Step up to the bar, crossing your arms to build a shelf to cradle it at your front delts and upper chest. That’s the one that’s plate-loaded and angles your body slightly backward. Research has found that when subjects use just their body weight on jump squats, they have up to 40% more power than when they use a loaded barbell. You’ll fall on your can in the bottom position and likely lose your balance repeatedly. 1 on our list. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. Consider this the functional cousin of No. In our list, back squat is No. Main Areas Targeted: Quads, hamstrings, glutes. I have always taken a holistic approach to training. Erin Says: “The benefit of free-weight exercises is the countless variations you can come up with. Reach your leg laterally from the midline of your body while keeping the opposite leg … This could be good for increasing volume in the workout.”. Our list is 10 deep. With the specially designed Westside bench you’ll get support in all the right places, but don’t let a lack of equipment dissuade you. The Single-Leg Box Jump builds explosive power individually in each leg. CrossFit is a registered trademark of CrossFit, Inc. The first time you do a single leg box jump, you might feel a bit discouraged. Strong Legs – Bulgarian Split Squat 5 on our list, a split squat in which you elevate the back leg only 6 inches from the floor. Keeping your head in a neutral position, abs tight and torso upright, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit in a chair. “Most important, do not let the front knee turn in or out excessively.”, Erin Says: “I like this exercise as a finisher. The exercise is devastatingly simple and effective. Push/pull supersets! The key to training the calves for power is being quick on the concentric portion of the exercise which in calf raises is when we press off with the calves, then hold at the top for a moment then lower the weight slowly in a controlled fashion, and repeat by a really fast launch of the calves once more. It’s true that it’s one of the most abused exercises in the gym — probably because you can feel like a big shot and handle much more weight than you can on a squat — but used carefully, the leg press can be very beneficial. These are two staple lifts, and I relied on both when I was training for the Figure stage and for track and field. Drive through that heel to return to a standing position, making sure to never let that heel come up as you rep. Erin Says: “The exercises we don’t like doing are often the most effective. T even be able to get all the way down into a full squat at first slightly bent and leg... 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