Who Wears Short Shorts?
As the temperatures start to rise in the 815, the time will come for us to dig our shorts out of the back of the closet. Start doing these lifts now so that you can add a little muscle to your legs to attain a more defined look.
No leg routine worth your time will be complete without squatting. The squat hits every muscle in your legs and provides a great core workout (think abs and back) at the same time. Proper form is very important when it comes to squatting; if you are just starting to squat, start out with very light weight (or none at all) and make sure that you are getting a full range of motion (your thighs should go just past parallel to the floor). If you think you know that you are squatting correctly, think again! Common errors with squats include your heels coming off the floor, not keeping your spine in a neutral position and allowing your back to round, and allowing your knees to collapse toward the midline. We highly recommend talking to a personal trainer for guidance before you attempt to add weight to the lift.
Straight-leg deadlifts are a great exercise for strengthening the hamstrings. And like the squat, proper form is crucial. With knees and elbows straight, bend forward at the hips, lowering the weight to the ground (or to the point where you cannot bend forward any more without letting your back round or knees bend). Then, keeping the spine in a neutral position, return the weight to the starting position. Start slowly; you might need to make some flexibility gains before you can execute this lift with a full range of motion.
Lunges target the quadriceps but like the squat, they work a lot of muscles in the legs and core. Lunge forward with one leg, keeping your upper body upright while your back knee almost reaches the floor. Then return your body to the starting position by extending your knee and hip and bringing your front foot back in parallel with the other foot.
Complete your workout by isolating the lower leg muscles with calf raises. You can do calf raises from the floor or increase the difficulty by doing them with your toes and balls of your feet on a step; we recommend holding onto the railing or wall at first to make sure you have adequate balance.