The most common question I receive when discussing how to work out from home is, “How do I work out my legs without spending thousands of dollars in equipment?” It’s easy to figure out how to workout most of your body by simply using your own bodyweight, dumbbells, and a pull up bar. When it comes to legs, things get a bit trickier. Fear not, today I will break down some easy leg workouts, without breaking the bank.
Fast twitch fibers only kick in when the slow twitch fibers aren’t capable of lifting – and these are naturally the thickest and strongest types of fibers in your muscles. This is why you need at least a certain amount of weight in order to recruit them.
Seems like you can use your bodyweight for just about anything right? You’ll find that squats, lunges and calf raises are 3 great leg workouts. Though this is true, you’re not very likely to see the results you’re hoping for because your legs carry your body all day. There are, however, several secrets that will make these workouts a bit more difficult. The simplest way to do this is to ensure that you are involving your fast twitch muscle fibers.
What the heck are fast twitch muscle fibers?
Greatlist.com breaks it down in a way that is easy to understand,
People have two general types of skeletal muscle fibers: slow-twitch (type I) and fast-twitch (type II). Slow-twitch muscles help enable long-endurance feats such as distance running, while fast-twitch muscles fatigue faster but are used in powerful bursts of movements like sprinting. Fast-twitch muscles break down into two categories: moderate fast-twitch (type IIa) and fast-twitch (type IIb or IIx). Moderate fast-twitch muscles are thicker, quicker to contract, and wear out more rapidly than slow-twitch. Fast-twitch, the most powerful and lowest in endurance, are activated when the body nears maximum exertion.
Where were we?
Now that we know what fast-twitch muscle fibers are, let’s talk about some ways you can activate them from the comfort of your home. To put it simply, you have to get explosive. At a gym, you would add additional weight in order to do this. There are several options you have at home:
Place the box in front of you, go down into your squat, explode up into the air, and land on the box. If you don’t have a box, try jumping squats – these simply involve squatting and then adding a short jump at the top of the movement – it’s perfect for building a little more power.
Get into your usual lunge stance, rather than doing a normal lunge, extend through both legs, jump as high as possible, swing your arms to gain lift.
Jump by using only your tip-toes rather than bending at the knees. Not only will it build strength, but it’s also great practice for increasing your vertical jump.
If you want to really challenge yourself, you can do squat and calf jumps while balancing on one leg.
Add Some Iron
The best way to get an intense leg workout in at home, is to obviously use some weights. All you really need to get a good workout in is dumbbells. If you don’t think you’re getting enough out of the dumbbells, go ahead and buy a kettlebell.
Besides holding the dumbbells in your hand and doing the exercises we spoke about above, you can also use them to do clean and presses. Simply place a dumbbell by either side of you on the floor, squat down to the weights to pick them up, stand up with them, curl them up to your upper chest/shoulder and then press them up over your head.
A kettlebell is a large round weight with a single handle protruding from the top. One of the best moves by far for leg training at home though is the kettlebell swing. Here, you grab the kettlebell in both hands, stand with your legs slightly apart, and the weight hanging directly down in front of you between them. Now swing the weight behind and through your legs and then up in front of you with straight arms. DON’T do this using your arms. Instead, squat down and then stand up and thrust your hips slightly forward. The momentum alone causes the weight to swing up and then you squat back down as the weight comes down from the force of gravity. You don’t break the momentum, you simply allow the weight to swing through your legs behind you and then thrust back upwards.
As you can see, there are plenty of great ways to workout your legs from home with minimal or no equipment at all. Stay tuned in over the next few weeks and read up on other great ways to get in shape from your home!