Legs. Thighs. Butt. For me this is my trouble spot. This is where I gain weight first and lose it last.
I do love my legs.. they have always maintained some muscularity, and they are pretty long so I can stretch out any weight gain and still look proportional but it can be frustruating when you are seeing great results everywhere else but the place you want to see go down the most is the most stubborn! For this reason... I never skip leg day!
It is easy to put off things that are difficult to do.. and legs are certainly one of the most challenging areas to work becasue a lot of the exercises are big compound movements.. meaning that they use more then one joint. .often requiring your entire body. Boy oh Boy can these muscles burn when you ate really hitting them hard.
If you talk to anyone who knows anything about exercise, muscles, weights, you will be hard pressed find someone who, if asked "what is the one most beneficial leg exercise: ... the answer will 99.9999999% of the time with SQUATS
So.. lets focus on those. I think most people think squats and they think Squat Rack... lots of plates.. some grunting and yelling... and knee injuries. The majority of stereotypes about weight lifting are perpetuated by steroid injected muscle heads and yet the majority of people hitting the gym are very far from this.
The benefits of a proper squat is that it increases ↑↑↑↑↑↑↑ both the flexibility and strength in core, hips, and knees.
A basic body weight squat.. no rack, no barbell, no gym.. can completely transform your workouts and your body.. so lets focus on how to do it.
1- feet should be hip width or slightly wider and slightly turned out
2-back straight and core tight.. actually your whole body should be flexed
3-neck should not be looking at the floor or the ceiling. .this causes strain on your neck and spine..esp when you add a barbell. Keep your eyes and chin slightly up but you should be looking at the wall **this is a debate with body buildings and trainers as many think you should be looking skyward.. do some research, talk to your doctor even and make your own choice.
4-weight should be on your heels and some on the balls of your foot. You should be able to lift/move/wiggle your toes at all times throughout a squat.
5-when you squat down you should be pushing your hips back, keeping back straight and knees remain over the toes..never going past.
6-the weight lifting term "ass to grass" is when you squat all the way down so your calves and hammies are basically touching..and then push back. A full squat is when your hip bone comes parallel to your knees.. anything less is considered a partial squat.
7-when pushing back up you exhale, drive your hips up while clenching your butt.
Doing squats will help you with everyday tasks such as shovelling snow, avoiding injury, keeping a lean body (glutes, quads, hamstrings burn a ton of calories so keep them in shape!)
See the pictures below for better understanding of how to properly work this amazing exercise. Take 5min while making supper...do 3 sets of 15 body squats every day and your bathing suit will thank you come summer :)
Rock the Squat!