Build legs, feel great


Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

I am not a huge fan of dividing the body into sections and then turning exercise into a technical process to ensure each section is worked in tedious rotation. For myself, I prefer a balanced workout that targets the major muscle groups and which delivers a balanced body aesthetic.


Taking this into account, one of my favourite major muscle groups is the legs!


Some people avoid exercising their legs/lower body as doing so can be a challenge. I have never experienced this myself. As a rugby man, I learnt early on that strong legs are the foundation for the explosive energy needed on the field and the basis for the strength needed in the upper body. Rugby involves running, pushing the opposition back and being a solid opponent against whoever is trying to get past you.


All of which requires strong, solid legs!


So, as you can imagine, I always encourage anyone considering the benefits of a whole-body aesthetic to ensure they take time to train their legs in an intelligent and balanced fashion.


Training legs need not be an off-putting challenge either. It can be a rewarding experience that delivers measurable results (always pleasing to the ego) and can be achieved from a straightforward combo’ such as what follows.

Jumping lunges


Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:


  1. Take a step backwards and lower your hips, so that your back knee is just above the floor, and your front thigh is parallel to the floor.

  2. Jump into the air and switch leg positions.

  3. Jump again and then return to the starting position.

  4. Repeat the exercise until the set is complete.

  5. Try three sets of 5 repetitions (depending on the condition and strength of your back and abdominal muscles).


Power squats


Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:


  1. Decide how much weight you can realistically and safely shoulder as you squat.

  2. Bring in a couple of spotters to help you with this exercise!

  3. Load the bar to the weight above.

  4. Maintaining a wide foot stance, place your feet squarely under the bar and lift it from the rack using the legs as propulsion.

  5. Keep the weight centred. Do not lift from your heels or toes!

  6. Slowly bend your knees, keeping your torso erect. Do not lean forward.

  7. Keep your hips under the bar at all times. At the bottom of your movement, the angles of your knee joint and hip joint should be nearly equal. Never relax or drop to the bottom position.

  8. Maintain constant, slow, and controlled muscle tension. Also, inhale as you lower yourself.

  9. Slowly return to the starting position while keeping your torso and back erect and your hips under the bar. Exhale as you push through your heels and stand tall.

  10. Repeat as many times as desired for a set.

  11. Try three sets of 5 repetitions.

  12. At the end of the exercise have your spotters help to guide the bar back to the rack.


Lower back extension


Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:


  1. Brace your abdominals while holding the arms folded and maintaining the body in a horizontal position. Make sure the ankles are well anchored.

  2. Bend slowly at the waist until the upper body is at 90 degrees to the lower body. Avoid arching your low back and squeezing your glutes at the top.

  3. Extend to the starting position and stretch upward just slightly so that the back is in hyperextension. Avoid arching your low back and squeezing your glutes at the top.

  4. Try three sets of 5 repetitions.


Clamshell


Personal Trainer Julien Bertherat.

Step by step:


  1. Lie on your side, with your legs stacked and knees bent at a 45-degree angle.

  2. Rest your head on your lower arm, and use your top arm to steady your frame. Be sure that your hipbones are stacked on top of one another, as there is a tendency for the top hip to rock backwards.

  3. Engage your abdominals by pulling your belly button in, as this will help to stabilise your spine and pelvis.

  4. Keeping your feet touching, raise your upper knee as high as you can without shifting your hips or pelvis. Do not move your lower leg off the floor.

  5. Pause, and then return your upper leg to the starting position on the ground.

  6. Do 20 reps on each side.

  7. Try three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.


So, there you go - a set of leg exercises to build solid legs.


Other combinations can be used to build legs (which I will be sharing in the future), but give the above a go and let me know if these work for you.


Julien

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