Thursday, June 19, 2014

Legs & butt workout

Since I started going to the gym, I have built up a gym routine. Part of this routine is to train my legs/butt, also called leg days. Leg days are my favourite days of the week (it's the day after that hurts!), so today I wanted to tell you about the type of exercises I do on these days. I'm no expert and you should always ask someone about the correct form and technique (Youtube is also handy), but I love seeing other people's routines so I thought I'd share mine. 
Warm-up (5min-15min)
Because it's hot outside now I tend to do quite short warm-ups, but in winter I'll take more time. On leg days, my warm-up consists of either running on the treadmill at a moderate pace or some rope skipping (I like to do 1000 skips which is about 15 min.) 

Now it's time for me to head to the weights section and do the following exercises - no particular order. It's good to focus on 5 or 6 different exercises in one workout. For each exercise I do 4 sets of 10 reps (so 40 reps in total). If you type the exercises in on Youtube you'll easily find them, and I've also included a video at the end which shows some of the exercises I do. The weight you use totally differs for each person but you can use this guideline: by the time you do the last set, you should feel tired and it should be challenging. If it seems easy, just increase the weight. Your body can take more than you think! 

1. Squats
I always to squats on the squat rack because I find it hard to keep my balance otherwise. Try to focus on form and technique before adding lots of weight. You should go as deep as you can when squatting. I usually start with moderate weight for the first set and then add a bit more weight with each set.

2. Lunges
While I'm at the squat rack, I also do static lunges. In total I do 40 lunges on each leg, with each set being 10 lunges for each leg. Again, I find doing static lunges on the squat rack gives me more balance, but you can also do it with free weights/dumbbells. 

3. Leg press & single leg press
My favourite exercise of them all! I alternate between single leg press and regular leg press. Single leg press: 10 on each leg per set. Regular leg press: 10 per set. So one set is: 10 times left leg, 10 times right leg, 10 times both legs. I do 4 sets in total. Most people just do the regular leg press but the single leg press is good because you leg is 'alone' and not supported by the other, while with the regular leg press there might be one stronger leg (you get what I mean?) 

4. Bulgarian split squat 
This one's a real killer so I usually do this one near the end of my work out. I usually build a  high "step" (or you can use a bench) and take free weights of 5kg. One set is 10 split squats on your left and 10 on your right leg. Again, 4 sets in total. 

5. Leg abduction & adduction
These are two separate machines which make you either move your legs outwards or inwards. I sometimes skip these machines, but when I use them I do 10 reps, 4 sets. I consider these exercises as 'extra' because I feel like the other ones are more effective.

After I've done these exercises I always take some time to stretch, because muscle pain after leg day is always the worst! So take your time to do different stretching exercises for your legs, it's essential. After your leg workout, you should feel very tired and have difficulty walking up/down stairs; then you'll know you've worked your ass off! 

The video below shows some of the exercises I mentioned. 
0:25 - Bulgarian split squat
0:57 - single leg press
1:04 - regular leg press
1:13 - static lunges 

Without any equipment
You can also easily do a leg workout at home. I sometimes do this at home and just pick a few exercises to do and a certain amount of reps. Donkey kicks, jumping lunges, walking lunges, side lunges, squats, jumping squats, hip thrusts, squatting against a wall (try 1 min, it's a killer!).. the options are endless and you don't need a gym to train your legs. Check Fitnessblender or Blogilates on Youtube for leg workouts. But if you want to build muscle - like a bigger butt - you do have to train with heavy weights to achieve the results you want.

Apart from leg days (twice a week), I also go running which also helps keeping your legs in shape. I hope this post was useful for some of you! It took me a while to find a good routine but I'm quite happy with the routine I currently follow, though it's always a good idea to change it up and add new exercises to your routine. I'm no expert but I hope this post gave you some ideas :)

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