What do players like Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Xherdan Shaqiri have in common? Mad football skills, of course! But also envious, strong, muscular legs. While they work theirs during the ongoing Euro 2016, it’s time you work on yours too.
Because when it comes to working out, especially in the gym, legs are often neglected despite being the largest muscle group in our body. Most men focus on their upper body, training their arms and chest only, the so-called mirror muscles. This leads to skinny legs. And then there are those who genetically have thin legs. No matter which category you fit in, here’s your guide to getting toned, muscular legs like your favourite footballers, so you can avoid ending up on the internet as a meme for chicken legs.
Five reasons why one should never skip leg day
1)Testosterone boost - Regularly training legs increases your testosterone level, your natural muscle building hormones. Working out legs helps you pack on lean muscle on your entire body.
2) Injury reduction - If your legs are strong, then your chances of getting injured during physical activities are always reduced. Training your legs promotes stability and prevents an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.
3) Bone strength - Regularly training your legs helps increase and maintain your bone density. It also decreases your chances of getting osteoporosis. It also reduces the stress on your joints and knees and keeps your lower back strong.
4) Metabolism increase - Working out your lower body burns more calories compared to working out your upper body.
5) Balance, core fitness and symmetry - An intense leg workout can also help you to a strong core as it increases your ability to push, lift and be flexible. This goes without saying that without a well-developed pair of legs, your body lacks symmetry and looks disproportionate. Strong legs also lead to a flexible body.
Leg workout plan
Known as the king of all lifts, squats are a must to increase your lower body volume and strength. It is a complete exercise which works your quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves in one go. If you are a beginner, start with free weight squats and then move on to adding weight.
You simply cannot ignore deadlift if you want to increase your lower body size. It hits your glutes, hamstrings and lower back, leading to a proportionate and symmetrical body. Deadlift strengthens your back muscles and leads to a better posture. Beginners, gradually progress from light to heavy weights.
The benefit of lunges is that focuses both on your quads and glutes. It also works your calf muscles, and evens out muscular imbalances in the body. Lunges increase your core stability. Beginners can start with no-weight lunge walk.
4) Calf Raise
Due to regular walking, calf muscles have high resistance to work load and are tough to grow. Also, some guys have genetically small calf muscles. So, the only way to grow them is to shock them by going heavy weight on your calf workout. Go for either standing or sitting calf raises twice a week.
Inputs by Ashish Gupta and Vinod Channa, fitness experts.