To Your Health
September, 2007 (Vol. 01, Issue 09)
A Total-Body Workout in 5 Easy Steps
Part 3: The Legs
By Chelsea Cooper
All photographs taken at Club No Mercy Intensity Performance Training Studio (www.clubnomercy.com) in Huntington Beach, Calif.
Chelsea Cooper, certified personal trainer and fitness expert, continues her five-part series covering each of the major muscle zones. This month, learn the best exercises to build lower-body strength and tone your legs.
When putting together a weight-lifting routine, don't forget the legs. In particular, many men want big chests and biceps and forget about the legs. This is not advisable - you'll end up looking disproportionate and you'll be more susceptible to injuries. Additionally, it is counterproductive. The body likes to grow all at once, so making sure you work on upper and lower body evenly helps your overall appearance.
There is an undeniable synergy within the body. Treat your body as a whole, appropriately paying attention to all the major muscle groups, and it will respond. Leg training is more important than training any other body part when it comes to achieving your overall goals. Legs are an integral part of your workout, so let's begin!
Keep feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward.
STABILITY BALL SQUATS
1 Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointing forward and your knees slightly flexed over your second and third toes. Press your lower back against a stability ball that is placed on a wall.
2 Ideally, you should keep your feet directly under your knees. (For individuals who have tight calves or knee problems, place your feet slightly in front of your knees.)
Keep chest up and apply pressure in heels.
3 Draw in your abs and activate your glutes.
4 Begin to squat down, bending your knees and flexing your hips, and keeping your feet straight (as if sitting in a chair). Do not allow your hips or knees to rotate.
5 Allow your pelvis to slightly sit back under the ball while maintaining good posture.
6 Keep your chest up and apply pressure through the heels. Do not rely solely on the ball for support.
7 To stand back up, squeeze your glutes and apply pressure through the heels as your knees are extended.
8 Stand up straight until your hips and legs are fully extended. Avoid using your lower back when standing back up.
1 Lie back on the leg press machine. Make sure your back is flat against the pad.
Make sure back is flat against pad.
2 Make any adjustments necessary to fit your body.
3 Place your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes pointing forward and your knees directly over your second and third toes.
4 Draw in your abs and activate your glutes.