Have you ever wanted to win a marathon? You’ll need strong leg muscles then, which are surprisingly easy to get! Many sports require running, and you will get better at running if you have powerful leg muscles. Fortunately, leg muscles respond well to exercise. If you want to have strong muscles on your legs, follow the steps below, and I guarantee you will see results.
Step 1. Exercise
Obviously getting strong leg muscles will require exercise. I recommend you do the following leg workout once a day. I am a tennis player and a cross-country skier, and I have seen many competitors in these sports do these exercises: Start by running to get warmed up. Jog a mile or so doing interval training, which means you sprint for one minute, jog for a minute, and then walk a minute. Repeat until you finish the mile. Use a stopwatch to time each minute. Once you are done running, do these exercises:
Calf Raises: 5 sets of 10 reps (repetition). 10 second breaks in between each set. To do calf raises, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and slowly rise up on your toes, hold for a second, then slowly lower your heels back to the ground. This counts as one rep. This exercise strengthens your calves, which are the muscles behind your shins.
Lunge: Two sets of 30 second reps on each side. Ten second breaks in between each set. To do a lunge on your right side, stand with your feet shoulder width apart, then step a few feet forward with your right foot, and bend both knees. Keep your hands on your waist. Your left knee should be a few inches from the ground. To do a left side lunge, do the same as the right lunge on the other side. This exercise strengthens all of your leg muscles.
Wall Sit: Four sets of 30 seconds. Ten second breaks between each set. To do a wall sit, get into a sitting position with your back touching a wall. Your feet, knees, and glute (butt) should be in a right angle. This exercise strengthens your quadriceps.
Step 2. Stretching
You should always stretch before and after exercising, or your muscles will get stiff. Here are a few stretches you could do:
1. Without bending your knees, reach down and touch your toes. It’s as easy as it sounds. This stretches your hamstrings.
2. Stand a foot away from a wall. Extend one foot, and put its heel on the ground and its toes on a wall. You should feel a stretch in your calf. Now do this stretch with your other leg.
3. Once again, stand a foot away from a wall. Reach out and touch the wall with your palms. Take one of your legs off the ground, and then lean forward. Your leg that’s in the air should naturally lean back. You should feel a stretch in the foot that’s on the ground. If you don’t, you’re doing it wrong. Hold this position, and then switch legs.
4. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Grab one of your heels, and then pull it up to your glute. Hold, and then switch feet. This exercise stretches your quadriceps.
Step 3. What to Eat and Drink
Eating the right food is obviously important to get strong leg muscles. To get stronger muscles you need to eat a lot of protein and drink a lot of water. I will explain why these are important a little later. Before and during your workout drink plenty of water. In general, you should drink at least eight cups of water a day. But even more than eight is even better. I recommend between ten to sixteen a day. Also, if you are in a place with high elevation, or in extreme temperature, you should drink even more than that. Some people will tell you that you should drink energy drinks like Rockstar or Monster. The truth about these energy drinks is that they contain a huge amount of sugar and caffeine, and other harmful chemicals. In fact, one person died from drinking four cans of Red Bull. Instead of this, drink water.
Just like I said before, water is important because you need to stay hydrated. One way to test how hydrated you are, is by looking at the color of your urine. If your urine is dark yellow, you are dehydrated. When you are sufficiently hydrated your urine should be clear or a light shade of yellow.
Concerning other energy drinks like Gatorade or PowerAde: there is actually nothing wrong with them if you drink them only after you sweat. They contain electrolytes, which are a type of salt that leaves your body through perspiration. You always need to have some salt in your body, or you will get a headache or something even worse. But you have to be careful; if you have unnecessary salt in your body it could cause high blood pressure. That is why you shouldn’t drink Gatorade if you didn’t sweat.
Concerning what to eat; you should always eat carbohydrates before your workout, and protein after. You need carbohydrates; they are your energy. Protein is basically food for your muscles. If you just exercise and don’t eat protein, your muscles will not get bigger. Muscles need protein to grow. To get the protein you need, you could eat a bar during your workout. I recommend Clif Bar or PowerBar. The good thing about these bars is that they contain carbohydrates and protein, which are both needed. I also recommend drinking a protein shake. To make one, just buy protein powder from a store. Most powders have instructions on them, but the protein shake I prefer is protein powder, plain yogurt, low-fat milk and a banana. You can experiment with the amounts of each ingredient, but don’t add more protein powder than the container you bought it in says to add, because too much protein could cause fatal diseases in your heart, liver, or kidneys.
If you eat and drink and eat what I suggested, it’s time to move on to the final step:
Step 4. Sleep
Yes, you will need to sleep to get bigger muscles. When you exercise your muscles, you are breaking them; when you eat protein, you are feeding them; when you sleep, you are growing them. Sleep is absolutely essential for bigger muscles, because that is when they grow. The more you exercise and eat protein, the more they will grow during your sleep. But the actual transformation happens when you are sleeping. You should sleep at LEAST eight hours a day. If you wake up at 7:00 A.M., go to bed between nine and ten in the evening. If you have trouble sleeping, drink a cup of herbal tea, and take a shower before you sleep. If that doesn’t help, you should see a doctor. You might have insomnia or apnea. If you follow everything written in this article, you should get powerful legs in no time. Remember to follow all the steps; they are all essential for stronger leg muscles. Good luck, and remember to exercise every day.