6 Leg Day Workout Tips For Women
Being healthy is about feeling fit, strong and energised. When it comes to living a healthy lifestyle, it’s important to maintain mobility and strength in your lower body (that is, your legs, glutes and hips), to get about your day with ease and help you feel your best.
As your body’s muscles are interdependent, strengthening your lower body with leg exercises can help you avoid imbalances and compensation in other areas which can lead to soreness or injury long term.
While all of Sweat’s programs have been created to work the whole body, we recognise that education is the first step to success. Here's why you should use lower body and leg exercises to strengthen your lower body, as well as how you can intensify exercises you’re currently doing.
How to make the most of leg day
Follow our best tips below to help maximise your next lower body session.
Activate your glutes
Glute activation should be a focus for anyone doing leg exercises. Before any lower body workout, it’s really important to activate your gluteal muscles (or your “butt” muscles).
Why? Glute activation “wakes up” the glutes through specific exercises that isolate this muscle area, which in turn makes it stronger.
Properly recruiting your glutes can then help you to optimise your performance and get the most out of lower body exercises, as well as help to prevent injury.
Focus on your hamstrings
Hamstring exercises are important, especially if your goal is to develop lower body strength and muscle.
Your hamstrings are a group of muscles located at the back of your thighs, which contribute to functional movement. If your hamstrings are strong, they can help you run faster, jump higher and complete more explosive lower body movements.
If you are naturally more quad-dominant or tend to use the quad muscles more than other areas, it’s important to strengthen your hamstrings to assist in good posture and prevent injury and muscle weakness.
Don’t forget your hip flexors
Your hip flexors are the muscles that allow you to move at your waist and lift your knees — when they are tight or weak, it can lead to muscle pain in your lower half, a weak core, or even back pain.
A sedentary lifestyle, such as working an office job or sitting down for extended periods can also contribute to tight hip flexors.
Targeted exercises can be incorporated into your lower body workout to help build strength in your hip flexors, and hip flexor stretches can be done after any workout to relieve tightness or pain.
Stretch your quads and hamstrings
Your quadriceps are a group of muscles located at the front of the thighs. Together with the hamstrings, they work to help your knees bend and extend, and assist hip flexion.
You use your quads all the time — during day-to-day activities and leg exercises — which is why it’s important to stretch and lengthen these muscles, alongside your hamstrings, through recovery methods such as foam rolling.
There are many benefits of foam rolling and doing it regularly can aid in injury prevention and optimise your workout performance.
Add resistance with ankle weights
Adding resistance to leg exercises can increase the intensity of the workout and improve your lower body strength.
Ankle weights are a good way to force your muscles to work harder and maximise results from your workout. If you are using ankle weights for the first time, start by including them in your low-intensity cardio workouts, and when you are feeling confident you can try incorporating them into your current Sweat program.
Incorporating yoga into your routine can have a positive impact on your lower body strength. Doing yoga allows you to engage the smaller muscles you may not focus on during your usual training and can also help to release tension and improve flexibility.
Whether it’s doing a yoga flow for tight hips, or restorative yoga for stress-relief, yoga asanas can help to counterbalance high-intensity workouts or heavy weight training sessions. Holding poses for long periods of time during yoga can also assist in restoring and rebuilding connective tissue and improving your overall exercise performance.
Incorporate these workout tips on your next leg day
Whether you are preparing for a marathon, want to improve your overall fitness or become your strongest self, it’s important to take a dedicated and focused approach when it comes to your fitness journey.
Knowing what to focus on during your workout routine can help you reduce your risk of injury and make the most of your health and fitness journey.
What goals are you setting this year? Let us know in the comments below!
* Results may vary. Strict adherence to the nutrition and exercise guide are required for best results.