As clipped from Livestrong
The barbell squat offers your legs the most effective muscle-strengthening workout. Resistance training places stress on your muscles, introducing a force which builds muscle strength and power. Compound movements like squats recruit multiple muscle groups, helping work out the many muscle groups in your legs. Before starting a resistance workout regimen to strengthen your legs consult a physician.
The major muscle groups within the legs are the quadriceps, hamstrings, gluteus maximus, adductors, gastrocnemius and soleus. The quadriceps spans across the front of your thighs and the hamstrings run along the back of your thighs. The gluteus maximus, also called the glutes, stretches across your rear hips. The adductors run along your inner thigh. The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles make up the calves. Barbell squats work out each of the main muscle groups in the leg, making this exercise the best movement to build strength in the leg muscles.
Step under a racked bar and place your shoulders under the bar. Push through your legs, dismounting the bar from the rack. Take one step back, keeping your torso straight. Maintain a shoulder-width stance, keeping your head up throughout the movement. Bend your knees and slowly lower the bar. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Push through the heels and extend your legs until you stand up straight. Do four sets of 12 repetitions to develop strength in your legs. Rest for 90 seconds between sets to allow for adequate recovery time.
Doing squats alone won’t help you develop optimum leg strength. Include exercises like leg presses, dumbbell lunges, leg extensions and leg curls in your resistance training regimen to power up your legs. Jumping rope and running are two forms of aerobic activity which increase leg strength, improve heart health and promote weight loss.
Keep your knees behind your toes throughout the movement to avoid placing stress on the knee joint. Warm up with five minutes of light jogging to bring blood into the leg muscles. Stretch for 10 minutes to reduce the risk of injury.
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