Why and how you must train your legs to build muscle and get ripped

Personal trainer Dyl Salamon explains why leg workouts are so crucial in helping you get your beach body

deadlift
This man knows the importance of deadlifts Photo: U.S. Pacific Fleet/Flickr

Training your legs is without a doubt, the most effective way to your beach body.

Some people might not want tree trunk legs, and anyone who has done a leg day knows about the potential inability to sit down that follows, but it doesn’t take anything from the fact that they need to be worked. Training legs will help you with any potential goals you may have; better abs, bigger muscles or a better game at Sunday league.

Why working on you legs helps get you big

Leg workouts are a must for anyone who wants bigger arms, chest and a wider back, to give you that beach swagger. The simple truth is that bench and curls aren’t the fastest way there. You need to be doing compound exercises, using the biggest muscle groups in your body, to create the biggest hormonal response. In other words, if you do big, heavy exercises that hurt like hell, your body is going to be scared of it ever happening again, and will release all of the hormones needed to create bigger muscles, leading to extra size everywhere!

Why working on you legs helps get you lean

Every time you move a muscle – whether it be breathing, walking, lifting weights or scratching your head – every cell in that muscle is burning energy to do that. The more strenuous the movement (such as sprinting or moving something really heavy), the more calories you are burning. So if you’re repeatedly moving heavy objects with your legs, you’re going to be burning far more calories than any other activities you do in the gym.

The four key leg exercises

These four exercises are so good, they should have a class on them at school. Always remember, you want to be working at as high an intensity as possible, so if you find these too easy, add more weight, do more reps, or do it faster.

Back squats

(10 sets of 10 reps, one minute rest between each set, once or twice a week)

These will make you sweat, curse and hurt but it will make you look good. Unparalleled calorie burn, better looking legs, back and abs, without a doubt.

Deadlifts

(Five sets of five reps, 2-3 minute rest between each set, once a week, but not on a squat day)

The godfather of all exercises. If you’re not dead lifting at least once a week, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. This exercise uses every fibre in your body, meaning better arms, shoulders, back and anything else you can think of.

Jump lunges

(Eight sets of 20 seconds, 10 seconds rest between each set, twice a week)

The explosive movement of the lunges, at such a high intensity, will torch fat off your body. Pump the arms to make it an even more complete exercise. Complete this workout, and you’ll feel how much it’s working.

Box jumps

(Five sets of 10 reps, one minute rest between each set, twice a week)

Find a box that is close to your maximum, and launch yourself on top of it. Explosive exercises are always going to fry fat, and keeping it as intense as possible will help you with all your goals.

Dyl Salamon is a personal trainer based in South West London, with a personal gym in Westminster, or come join him at GymBox Covent Garden. Click here to find out more about Dyl. Or follow him on Twitter or Instagram.

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This article was last updated on November 11, 2018.
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