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How to get strong leg muscles?



Dear John,

The legs are comprised of many muscles, but your weight training routine will focus mostly on the following four major muscles:

1. Quadriceps ("quads") located in front upper portion of the of the leg, from the hip joint down to the knee joint.

2. Gluteus ("glutes") located at the back of the pelvis and top of the femur (upper leg bone).

3. Hamstrings ("hams") located at the upper rear portion of the leg, from the hip joint down to the knee.

4. Calves - Located at the rear lower portion of the leg, from the rear of the knee down to the ankle.
Each muscle plays a specific role in the movement of the ankle, hip or knee joint.

How to get strong Quadriceps:

Leg Lifts

One of the easiest ways for beginners to strengthen their quadriceps is to begin by sitting on the edge of a chair. Make sure that nothing is in front of you. With your legs at a 90-degree angle, touching the floor, slowly lift one leg at a time until you have lifted it so that it's completely straight.



How to get strong Gluteus:

-Go climb a hill.
-Try doing some jumps
-Do some running.
-Do some hula hoops
-Climb some stairs.
-Do leg lifts

How to get strong Hamstrings:

Do deadlifts.

Do step-ups.

Do supine hamstring curls with a stability ball. This is a great one for hip strength and stability as well.
Lying on your back, extend your legs straight and put your heels on top of a stability ball. Raise your hips off the floor as high as possible, and then pull the ball in towards your gluteus.

Do isometric hamstring lifts off of the floor. Lying on your back, place your left foot flat on the floor, right leg out straight. Push your left heel firmly into the ground, raising your right leg and your hips up as far as possible.
Hold this position for 20 to 30 seconds, and then switch legs.

How to get strong Calves

1. Standing Raise/burn out - Stand on the foot block of the machine, if you don't have a machine you can still do it on stairs or even a book, anything that will allow you to obtain full range of motion. Make sure your feet are comfortably apart and your toes are forward. Begin with your heels lowered as far as possible and then slowly rise up to your tiptoes then down again. Do 15 reps with full range of motion then get off machine and while standing flat on the floor do another 50 calf raises.

TIP: Anytime you are doing calf raises you need to keep in mind that you need to complete a full range of motion, stretch your heel all the way at the bottom then go all the way up on your tip toes in order to get the best results.

2. Seated calf Raise - Sit down at a calf raise machine. Put your toes on the platform facing forward with your upper thighs under the leg pad just above your knees. Lift up with your heels so that you are on your tiptoes and make sure to flex your calf muscles while in this position and hold for a count of one. Repeat for 15 reps.

3. Donkey calf raise - Place your toes on the edge of a block or dumbbell and then lean your body forward from the waist at a 90-degree angle and hold onto a table or bench for support. This exercise can be done with either bent knees or straight legs. For added resistance you can allow some one sit on your lower back, hence the name Donkey Calf Raises. Repeat 15 to 20 times.

4. Treadmill calf exercises - Using a treadmill set your incline to 15%. Walk for at least 20 minutes to work the calves out.

TIP: Anytime you are working your calves out make sure that you stretch them out after each set by propping your leg slightly and reaching forward into your toe, pull back on the toe slightly and release.

5. Leg press machine calf raises - Sit at a leg press machine and press the weight up as if you are doing leg presses. Now holding the rack up, place the balls of your feet on the platform and allow you're your heels hang off. Now slowly push the platform up until your toes are pointed hold for a count of one and then slowly release down back down until your toes are once again in line with your heels. Use control with the exercise and perform each repetition slowing, do not bounce the toe. By adjusting your toes to point in or point out you can focus on the inner or outer calf muscles. Repeat 15 to 20 times

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