Top 3 Exercises to Look Great in Shorts This Summer
First and foremost, the exercise to really build the legs is a squat, a nice deep squat (rom permitting) is by far the best exercise to build the whole leg.
Does it have to be with weight? Not necessarily, but it helps. During this period of lock down many people have little or no access to “proper” weights Barbells and dumbbells, but you can still add weight, maybe by using a backpack stuffed with heavy home items, even a couple of heavy water bottles held at the shoulder. To really work the legs fully a squat needs to go a lot lower than people think, hip needs to be just below knee if this is physically possible, the half squats you see in gyms are next to pointless except for building the ego.
A tip if you are struggling to get to depth is to get a chair, a low one if possible, and literally sit down and stand up, that will give you a pretty good and fairly deep squat, in a gym with a barbell then a bench squat will work equally, it also allows a slight deload and re engagement of the muscles, which helps in normal life.
You can also vary foot position and leg width to change the muscles primary mover, sumo, pliette, narrow etc.
After the squat the next best exercise is the lung and its variations, walking, forward and backward, clock are all lunges with movement a Bulgarian split squat is also another variation
Finally the Calf’s, in the past I was lucky enough to do a lot of cycling which helped me build some decent size into my calves, but after a strongman injury I now struggle to build one legs muscle as it doesn’t fire properly, however I have been working on this a fair bit and its getting stronger. For calves I suggest you do as many variations of calf raise as you can, both standing and seated as the calf has 2 active muscles that both need building. The calf is also a muscle designed to be used a lot during the day walking, running etc so it needs a very high rep routine to work properly even with heavy weights, exercises include standing, seated calf raises, calf presses with leg press machine or band, even arnies favourite the donkey calf raise are good exercises
There you have the basic exercises, I may add in some sort of glute raise or hamstring drop or Romanian deadlift to work further the hamstrings.
So, a routine, depending on whether you have weights or not depends on the sets and reps, but I would still work 3 variations of squat, 1 lunge and 1 calf exercise.
3 sets of narrow squats
3 sets of sumo squat
3 sets of front squats or plyo squat
3 sets of lunges
3 sets of seated and 3 sets of standing calf raises (much higher reps than other exercises…. even 100 rep sets)
3 times per week with weights up to 5 or even 6 times if you don’t have access to weights
That should give you a good shorts ready pair of legs for the summer
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