Legs day, the dreaded day of everyone’s week that will turn even the strongest man into a little girl when it comes to tackling stairs in the morning.
Why Squats Matter
Squats are the perfect exercise for your lower body, I’m sure it comes as no surprise. If you are spending time training, you would be a fool to neglect the most used part of your body.
Well, call me a fool guys because I have been neglecting my legs.
All through November I have been doing Legs training, Legs Legs Legs.
Right now I am struggling to get in and out of chairs, down stairs, to be honest with you, walking in general just hurts.
Bodyweight squats don’t leave a lot of room for muscle development in your legs though, so I have done a little roundup of squat variations to try at home, or down the gym, so that you can build serious strength in your legs without weights.
The regular squat is a great exercise. To get the most out of it, get as low as you can, I mean get that bum touching those heels. Drive with your heels, not toes, keeping your back straight and your chest high.
Assisted Pistols are a progression exercise into the Pistol Squat below. All you do here is get a bench or sofa, chair or wall and use it as a support with your hand. This is going to be quite a lot harder than regular squats, you are taking DOUBLE the weight on your leg so expect it. Once you can do straight sets of 10, it’s time to get rid of that support.
Free standing Pistol Squats don’t look half as impressive as they are. It takes balance, coordination and strength. If you can do assisted pistols, you should be able to get a few reps in. It is important to keep pushing with Pistol Squats though because it can be easy to plateau at 5 reps and just stay there.
Sissy Squats are fun. They look weird as anything but they are a really good exercise for your legs so start mixing them into your workouts. When you first start doing them, you will probably need something to hold onto with one arm.
Get on your tip toes and lean back. Bend from your knees, keeping your thighs in line with your torso. If you feel like a cross between a bullet dodger and a rusty ironing board, you are doing something right. Squat as low as you can, starting off slow to get comfortable, then force yourself back up using parts of your quads you never realised you had!
Shrimp Squats are the last in my list I am afraid, but they are the hardest for sure. Shrimp squats are a cross between lunges and pistol squats.
To learn this move, it will probably be easiest to start in the lunge position. From the lunge, holding your back leg by the hoof, pistol squat up to standing.
When you can do this quite comfortably, start learning the negative, use a cushion for this at home so you don’t slam your knee into the floor, bruises aren’t necessary.
Putting Your Feet Up
There are more exercises to do for your legs, other than squats, this really is just the tip of the iceberg. There are glutes and calves specific exercises, plyometric and explosive exercises and some fun lunges you can also do.
Watch this space for more legs training tips in the coming weeks.
Ready To Take It Further?
Get your hands on my Calisthenics Foundation Workout here and start doing some serious training that will get you on the right path with the 5 Big Exercises you need to do for a total body workout.