I have to say, our legs are a pretty damn important muscle in the human body. The majority of the muscles in our legs are considered to be long muscles, i.e. they stretch in distance, so when our leg muscles relax and contract our skeletal muscles move to create movement of the body – so any movement you can think of to do with your legs: running, jumping, walking, hopping, skipping etc… Even the smaller muscles in our legs have an important role to play as they help the larger muscles (hamstrings & quadriceps) to stabilise and rotate joints.
Quadricep: These have to be one of my favourite muscle to train and the most satisfying results to see progress with. However… I also feel that they are also one of the hardest muscles to see results from!
The muscles that make up your quads are the strongest and leanest out of ALL muscles in the body. And as you are probably already aware, there are 4 muscles that make up our quads. And not to over kill you with all the science stuff, but these are your: Vastus lateralis, Vastus medialis (the teardrop-shaped one), Vastus intermedius and the Rectus femurs. All four of these powerful muscles combine, working in tandem as extensors of the knee joint.
Hamstring: Your hamstrings are at the back of our thigh and consist of three muscles: Biceps femoris, Semimembranosus and Semitendinosus. They are such a vital muscle to our body as their primary role is to bend your knees – so for walking, running, climbing up stairs and jumping etc.
Calf: The calf muscles are pivotal to movement of the ankle, foot, and toes. Some of the major muscles of the calf include: Gastrocnemius, Soleus and Planters. Your gastrocnemius and soleus take up the most space in the lower leg, naturally. If you want to grow you calves, you have to train them SO hard, but the results are extremely worthwhile!
I have always neglected my calves for some unknown reason, and I say before every leg session that I will train them for 20 minutes… But after doing legs for an hour and a half, I can barely walk as it it. They are often neglected because they are ‘obscure’. If you are a bit like me and seem to neglect them, here are some exercises for you to try. And I would highly recommend doing them before you train legs, or on back/shoulders day so there are NO excuses!
1. Standing dumbbell or barbell heel raises
2. Standing calf machine heel raise
3. Seated calf machine
4. Toe press using leg press – with knees extended