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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:

  • Leg anatomy

  • Best leg exercises

  • Leg exercise programming


And more!

Below are notes about each section


Anatomy of the legs

  • Quadriceps

  • 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

  • Hamstrings

  • 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!

  • Adductors

  • 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)

  • Achilles Tendon

  • Anterior compartment of the lower leg

  • Tibialis Anterior

  • 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

  • Squat variations

  • 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

  • Deadlift variations

  • Hex bar, RDL, single-leg, you name it.

  • Hamstring focus

  • Crucial movement pattern/serape connector

  • Lunge variations

  • Important for deep knee FLX and DF ROM

  • Great quad/glute builder

  • Simple!

  • Nordic Hamstring curls

  • My FAVORITE way to build and strengthen the hamstrings

  • TENSION!

  • Bodyweight, but challenging

  • Band DF

  • 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


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.


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