Podcast Notes: The Best Exercises for your Legs
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In this episode of the Brawn Body Podcast, I discuss the legs and leg training in great detail.
In this episode, I reviewed:
Best leg exercises
Leg exercise programming
Below are notes about each section
Anatomy of the legs
Vastus Medialis, Lateralis, Intermedius (deep), Rectus Femoris
Powerful knee extenders, important for patellar tracking.
Attach onto quadriceps tendon
Rectus Femoris crosses the hip joint (AIIS) and also serves as a hip flexor/anterior pelvic tilter
Inne by femoral N
Collectively: Semitendinosus, Semimembranosus, Biceps femoris Long Head
Also: Biceps femoris short head
Reason for the break-up: BF short head does not cross the hip, other 3 muscles cross hip and extend/posterior pelvic tilt
All flex and rotate the knee
Crucial for injury prevention!
Adductor Magnus (biggest), longus, brevis, gracilis
Magnus acts as a hamstring as well
Act at the hip (bring hip inwards), internal rotatores but also cross the knee
Often missed in training, and their strengthening is crucial for injury prevention as well
Sartorius, Tensor Fasciae Latae
Sartorius - ASIS → Pes Anserius, Hip FLX, ABD, ER, Knee FLX, APT
TFL - Attaches to ITB, hip flexor and ABD
Calves, posterior compartment
Gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior
Other muscles in this region (ie FDL), but act more on the foot than the calves.
These 3 are the major workhorses for the calves
GC - knee flexion (crosses knee joint) and Plantarflexion, best with straight legs
Soleus/TP - Do NOT cross the knee, best worked with bent-knees (seated calf raise)
Anterior compartment of the lower leg
Again, other muscles here, but this is the major workhorse
Dorsiflexion - key for squats and any CKC leg exercise
Often neglected/undertrained, but also key for injury prevention
Best Leg Exercises
The key is lifting heavy with progressive overload!
Increase weight, tension, etc.
Dan’s top leg exercises
Discussed last week for the glute benefits
Also great for building the quads and mobility in the hips/knees/ankle
Connect Serapes of upper/lower body
Crucial movement pattern for everyone
Hex bar, RDL, single-leg, you name it.
Crucial movement pattern/serape connector
Important for deep knee FLX and DF ROM
Great quad/glute builder
Nordic Hamstring curls
My FAVORITE way to build and strengthen the hamstrings
Bodyweight, but challenging
Simple and effective TA strengthening
Goal: build to full-ROM squats/lunges with weight
Seated CR/DB single-leg CR
Seated CR - soleus & TP
DB single-leg CR (standing) - forces the calves to work overtime
Both - TENSION IS KEY!
Post-episode addition: Monopodal squats. Are these the next greatest leg exercise? Combining a squat, lunge, and stepup motion all in one, with even better benefits? Check it out here! https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32236133/
Leg Exercise Programming
Compounds first, isolation later
Train the movement patterns daily - grease the groove!
Watch volume - you should not be sore!
Factor in cardio/conditioning
In this episode, I referenced the following people and articles
Johnny Manziel and the Hex-Bar Deadlift
Information in this post is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease or condition. Consult your primary care provider prior to making any changes in your diet or lifestyle/exercise habits as discussed.