Leg Exercises

woman standing in workout clothesEach of the leg exercises listed should be performed with proper form to not only avoid injury, but to also allow the muscle to go through a full range of motion and get the most out of the exercise.

1. In a squat rack, take a barbell off of the rack by placing it squarely on your traps and shoulders (not the neck) and grip the bar comfortably with your hands a little wider than your shoulders.

2. Carefully take a step or 2 back from the rack and get in a comfortable upright stance with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Your toes should be pointed slightly outward. They should NEVER be pointed inward.

3. Focus your vision on something straight ahead and slightly above you. Do not tilt your head backwards, downwards or to the sides as this will disrupt your balance.

4. Keeping your heels planted firmly on the floor and your back straight at all times, move your butt back and downward as though you were sitting in a chair behind you.

5. When your thighs reach parallel to the floor, return to the starting position by
extending your knees and hips and pushing through your heels.

– Your knees should never extend
out further than your toes.
– When pushing back up, always push through the
heels, not the toes.
– The movement is up and down. There should be no
sideways movement of any kind during the squat.
– Keep your back straight
and chest up at all times.
– Squats can also be performed using dumbbells.

Stiff Leg Deadlift

1. Stand with your feet
shoulder width apart.
2. Pick up a barbell (off the floor or out of a
rack) and hold it with your hands about shoulder width apart. Most people
(myself included) perform this exercise with a mixed grip, which means one hand
has an overhand grip, and the other hand has an underhand grip.
With your arms and back straight at all times and your knees just slightly bent,
lower the bar towards your feet by bending over at the hips.
4. Once
your upper body is either parallel to the floor or you feel a comfortable
stretch in the hamstrings, lift the barbell back up and return to the standing
position by extending your hips.

– While the stiff leg deadlift is
primarily a hamstring exercise, it also recruits the use of the lower back
– Be sure to keep your back straight at all times. Do NOT round
your back. Also keep your shoulders pulled back and your chest out.
– How
far down you go greatly depends on flexibility. Most people (myself included)
don’t go any lower than parallel to the floor.