Working out at the gym has numerous advantages over exercising anywhere else. Access to numerous machines and a wide variety of weights makes it possible to do virtually any exercise imaginable without a great deal of effort spent changing things around to make it happen. Gym exercise is even more beneficial when it comes to focused training and conditioning for specific areas of the body. More variety and opportunity at the gym makes it easier to push your body and focus the training further.
Conditioning and Training the legs
Many people tend to exercise their abs, shoulders, arms, and back, without focusing as much attention to the training of their legs. The popular mindset is that we walk on our legs all day long and they are constantly getting attention whether we actually do any focused training or not. While this is true focusing some attention on our legs can have major impacts in a variety of areas. For those that are athletes focused leg conditioning can mean greater power, better stamina, and better response time. For those that are just looking to tone up their body a leg workout can really give the body an excellent swimsuit look, especially in the butt area that many women tend to focus on.
Conditioning the legs has obvious importance and can make a major impact for the athlete and for the amateur alike. It is also a good way of increasing muscle mass and thus daily calorie burning without making the arms look beefy in the process. This obviously is a major concern of many women that fear weight training as they don’t want to make their form look more masculine, although it would take substantial workout to do that.
What are the exercises?
Working out inside of the gym creates a variety of different exercises than would normally be used on the legs at home. With the use of the gym it is possible to add weight to all of the exercises giving an additional impact to the workout and the ability to expedite the benefits significantly. With all exercise it is a good idea to focus on form. Bend with the knees when lifting weights and understand that sharp pains are a sign from the body that something is wrong. Muscle exhaustion is normal, pain the next day is normal, but sharp pain during exercise is something that should be avoided.
Weighted toe walk – Select a solid weight either in dumb bell or bar form and get as high on your toes as you can. Walk around with the weight. Every now and then take a moment to roll off of your toes and go back up onto them. Increase the weight if you need to. Your body should feel exhausted before you stop. Extra weight can accelerate this process.
Weighted calf raises – Using dumb bells stand near a wall for balance and go from a flat footed position to a toe position. Do this motion slowly and continuously until the calf muscles are exhausted. With weight this shouldn’t take that long. Keep in mind that this exercise is going to be felt the next day. It takes regular use of the calf muscles before muscle pain is a thing of the past the day after a workout.
Weighted wall sit – Lean against a wall and pretend as if the wall is the back of a chair. It should look like you are sitting on an invisible chair. This exercise will start to have an impact throughout the legs over time. By adding weights it will put additional pressure on the legs and will expedite the process.
Weighted High Knees – Using weights jog in place raising the legs as high as possible. This should have a nice impact on the butt around and makes for an excellent butt workout while working out the legs as well. As always additional weight will help to expedite the process. The muscles should be pushed to exhaustion which may be difficult for a regular runner without considerable additional weight. Use your brain when considering how much weight to use. It is all about safety first.
Weighted Sideways Run – This is an exercise often used by football players and those attempting to create good sideways mobility such as a defensive player in basketball would use. Simply add some weights and move sideways . This can be done by either crossing the legs over one another or simply skipping the legs sideways. It doesn’t matter how the exercise is done but fast movement is the key to improving agility if that is the goal here.
Height jumping – This is a good exercise that can be performed with a weighted vest but probably not a good idea to do while holding weights as the risk of losing balance could cause injury. With height jumping it is a matter of jumping from one level to a higher level. This can either be a low bench or even a raised platform. Steps could also be used. Practice jumping up forward and back backwards. It is also possible to perform this jump sideways if desired as well.
Weighted stepping – Stepping has become quite the fad and as such most gyms and fitness centers provide access to steps that can be used for the purpose of stepping. Setup as much height as possible on the steps, grab some weights, and start going up and down the steps. The goal is to go as quickly as possible with control. If control is lost then slow down as it isn’t worth getting hurt in the process, especially while holding weights.
Up – Downs – There are a lot of athletes that know all about up – downs. This is one of the most difficult exercises to force yourself to do but can have a huge overall impact on the body. It is hated by athletes because it is a combination of cardio and muscle development and most athletes may be good in one area or another so everyone sufferes through this one. Start by running in place at full speed, jump up as high as possible, upon landing drop to a squat position, kick the legs out and back in 10 times, do 10 pushups, come back to the squat position, jump up as high as possibel again, and then run as fast as possible again. Keep doing this until the body is physically exhausted. The goal here is to push the entire body to its limits and it makes for a great final exercise of the day. Do not attempt to use weights for this one unless a weighted vest is available.