If you want to lose weight and feel great, it might be a good idea to read today’s guest post by Chelsea Sawyer, nurse and certified health coach. Learn why leg exercises are important to incorporate into your routine and which ones are the best!
In 2012, a meme started circulating across the Internet. This meme contained a picture of a man with a buff upper body and skinny legs and bore the caption “Friends don’t let friends skip leg day.”
As funny as this meme may seem, a lot of people do indeed skip leg day. One reason for this is that many find investing their time and effort in doing bench presses and bicep curls much more rewarding simply because it is easier to show off toned arms. Another reason why people put more time in exercising their upper bodies as compared to their legs is that leg exercises can be extremely punishing, such that after an intense leg workout session, some people can barely sit down comfortably or walk properly. In the end, these people end up with a body similar to the cartoon character Johnny Bravo.
But there’s another reason why you should exercise your legs, apart from achieving symmetry – fat loss. If you want to burn lots of fat — fast — you should exercise big muscle groups. And there is no bigger muscle group in the human body than those found in the legs. If you want to eliminate that big belly, forget about doing crunches. Exercise your legs! Here are the top seven fat burning leg exercises you should do.
Squats and deadlifts
Along with the bench press, squats and deadlifts form the big three of exercises. These compound movements figure prominently in a number of exercise programs because just like investments, they yield the greatest returns.
Squats do not simply target your legs. As you try to balance the weight and lift, your core is also engaged. Deadlifts also activate a number of muscles apart from the legs. This includes the back.
Front squats are a good alternative to traditional squats, especially if you find having a great amount of weight at the back of your shoulders a bit difficult. But do not underestimate this exercise as it activates both the leg muscles as well as the core.
Lunges target the muscles of the abs, the glutes, thighs and the hips. If you want something more challenging, you can try the forward-backward lunges. Essentially, you will do a backward lunge and then transition into a forward lunge and then another backward lunge.
As the name implies, the exercise targets the gluteus and hamstring muscles which are often the weakest areas for people who spend an inordinate amount of their day sitting at their work desk.
Elevated hip thrusters
This exercise is a good alternative to glute-ham raises especially if you find the latter hard to perform. It also targets the glutes, hams and even the lower back.
Many athletes substitute single leg squats with step-ups because it is more effective in addressing strength imbalances. In addition, it is an effective alternative that targets the hams, glutes, calves and quads.
Workouts have to be balanced and designed for a total body exercise. The legs bear most of the weight of the body that’s why it is very important to keep the legs strong more than just the upper body muscles.
About the Author
Chelsea Sawyer is a nurse and a certified health coach who has been helping many people in changing their behaviors to keep them focused on achieving their health and fitness goals. She has great passion for writing; hence her hobbies include writing and sharing helpful techniques on topics like losing weight, achieving a healthy lifestyle through physical activities; and living healthy through proper diet and way of eating. She recommends http://www.yurielkaim.com/ as a great resource for healthy living and weight loss.
Which leg exercises are your favourite? Or which cause you the most pain, ’cause ya know those are the ones that are the most effective!