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Building a successful weight program: Legs are the foundation

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Leg workouts. They are one of the best things for you. Heck, they are so good, Moscow is now allowing people to pay subway fare with 30 squats. Unfortunately, many people shy away from leg workouts.

Excuse number one: people don't see the legs, so they don't need to be trained. It is true people shouldn't be seeing your thighs (and if they do, we need to chat). However, this is not a good reason to neglect the legs.

Excuse number two: training legs is hard work. Let's face it, most people aren't willing to train as hard as legs require.

It's time to quit with the excuses. If you are going to train, legs should be a priority for numerous reasons. First, legs are the foundation for your body. Almost every activity you perform in your daily routine includes your legs. By not training them, you leave yourself vulnerable to injuries during everyday life, or during other workouts.

Next, leg workouts, when done properly, burn calories. This helps you lose weight, or stay strong and lean looking. When you train legs, you are often holding weights in your hands, across your shoulders, etc. You are also moving your body weight, as well as the weights you use. More muscles are used in this process, making leg exercises efficient and effective.

Lastly, stronger legs will help make you stronger in other lifts. When you have stronger legs, it allows you to stabilize better when performing standing exercises, or drive into the ground better on exercises such as the bench press. This leads to better strength gains, and more calories burned during other exercises.

Now, it's time for exercise selection. Squats and dead-lifts are probably the best exercises, as they recruit the most muscle, and are very functional. However, if you do not know how to properly perform these exercises, or have an injury that prevents you from performing them, there are plenty of others to choose from.

Lunges, side lunges, leg presses, step-ups, box jumps, Romanian dead-lifts, bridging exercises, calf raises, and seated calf raises are all great.

Avoid leg extensions, hip abductor and hip adductor machines, as they don't offer many benefits.

It will be hard work. You may have a hard time walking the next day. In the long run, you will develop a love/hate relationship with leg workouts. This is the best kind of relationship to have.

For a list of great leg exercises, as well as demonstrations, please send an email to



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