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10 Minute Leg Exercises For Great Legs

From eDiets - The online diet, fitness, and healthy living resource

Are you making the most of your leg workout? Seriously, do you really know what you’re doing or are you just going through the motions?

Veteran fitness expert Brad Schoenfeld has found that far too many clients slap together a few random lower body exercises, then grunt and sweat without any real method to their madness.

They do lunges... they do squats... without knowing squat about what makes an exercise routine effective!

“The thigh is complex. It’s not just one muscle,” Schoenfeld, the author of the bestselling
Look Great Naked: Slim Down, Shape Up and Tone Your Trouble Zones in 15 Minutes a Day (Prentice Hall Press), tells eDiets. You have to target all areas properly without overlapping exercises.

"The exercises need to work synergistically with each other to maximally target the thighs. This is one of the biggest training mistakes people make. They do any three leg exercises: squats, lunges and leg presses.

“What happens is that you’re basically working the legs in the same type of movement. There’s not much difference. They’re all terrific exercises. You just don’t want to do them in the same workout because the exercises are overlapping each other.

"To have optimal leg development, you have to hit the leg at different angles. This gives you symmetry and also reduces the potential for overtraining the legs.”

That’s not the only no-no when it comes working the thighs.

Schoenfeld says there’s plenty of room for error when you don’t know what you’re doing. That’s why he’s here to set the record straight.

His expert advice for great-looking legs:

DON’T lock your knees when training your thighs! All too frequently, women completely straighten their legs at the finish of a rep. Not only does this take stimulation away from the thigh muscles, but it also places a great deal of stress directly on the joints.

DO stop just short of lockout, keeping continuous tension on your thighs at all times! There always should be a slight bend in your knees at the finish position of each move.

DON’T over-exaggerate foot position when training your thighs! In an effort to work various aspects of the frontal thigh, it is common to turn the feet in or out during exercise performance. However, the benefits of this practice are rather subtle, and the overall effect will be limited. Certainly, you should avoid exaggerating these foot positions, as it can cause damage to the knee. This is especially important during closed chain movements where the feet are immobile (such as the squat, leg press, etc.).

DO keep your feet turned slightly outward during all closed-chain movements (such as the squat and leg press)! Doing this allows the patella (knee) to move to its natural arc, maintaining the integrity of the joint. If you choose to experiment with different foot positions, do so only in open chain movements, (such as leg extension) and make sure to stay in a comfortable range.

When done in tandem with healthy eating and cardio exercise, you can achieve lean, muscular legs. Schoenfeld suggests doing the following workout one to three times a week with at least 48 hours rest between. Perform 12 to 15 reps of the Step Up. Without resting, perform 12 to 15 reps of the Seated Leg Lift. Then move onto the Side Lunge without any rest.

Once you’ve completed all three exercises, rest one minute and perform the entire set again. Then rest another minute and perform a final superset.

Step Up Step Up
Begin by grasping a pair of dumbbells and allow them to hang at your sides. Stand facing the side of a flat bench with your feet shoulder-width apart.

Pushing off your right leg, step up with your left foot and follow with your right foot so that both feet are flat on the bench.

Step back down in the same order, first with your left foot and then with your right, returning to the start position.

Seated Single Leg Lift
Seated Single Leg Lift Begin by attaching a leg weight to your right ankle. Sit on the floor, leaning back slightly and supporting your weight with your hands. Bend your left knee and keep the left foot planted on the floor. Straighten your right leg and let it hang down a few inches from the ground. Slowly raise your right leg upward as far as comfortably possible. Contract your right quad and then reverse direction, returning to the start position. After performing the desired number of reps, repeat the process on your left.

Side Lunge
Side Lunge Begin by assuming a stance slightly wider than shoulder width. Grasp two dumbbells and hold one in front and one in back of your body.

Keeping your left leg straight, slowly bend your right knee out to the side until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Then, slowly rise back up and repeat this process immediately on your left.

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The mission of Team Beachbody is to motivate you and to educate you about health, fitness and nutrition and the benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Click here to learn more about Team Beachbody Coach Rich Dafter.

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