Of course, you should not be skipping leg workouts if you want strong legs. But what can be the cause if you are not skipping it but still cannot gain strength in the lower body? Obviously, you are making some mistakes. A lot can go wrong like, technique, posture, etc. Pay attention, so you can prevent the upcoming injuries. What are those and how to get rid of them, let’s have a look?
Table of Contents
- Go for a full range squat motion
- Don’t take on the easy way
- Keep your heels down and maintain a balance
- Don’t keep the knees inward
- Addressing the mobility issues
- Addressing the squatting depth notion
- Hamstrings workout is not to be skipped
- Never round the back during a workout
- Never to lookup
- Cardio and leg workout, understand the relation
Go for a full range squat motion
We all know what squats are if you don’t do a little research. Squats make a strong base for the body powering up the legs so they are very important. If you are not already doing it then include this in the routine. If you already are, make sure you do a full range of motion. Half squats are good but full range motion squat is better for strength and muscle building comparatively. Don’t let myths like, they are bad for your knees or joints, stop you from doing the right thing. They strengthen your knees when done right.
Don’t take on the easy way
For most of us, leg day is dreadful and we often skip it. If not leg day then we skip the workouts that don’t seem easy. The thing is if you want a workout to be easy, then do not expect the results either. It is the day you have to embrace and work hard. Legs workouts are hard, they even hurt, but they make you strong. Some brave souls that embrace it with an open heart say that if you are able to walk out of the gym unaided if your legs aren’t shaky as you walk on a leg day, you didn’t do it right.
If wearing your favorite workout bottoms helps you go to the gym that day, do it. Give yourself some motivation, look up to something, think about the gains and power your legs would have. There is no easy way to do this. Never skip some specific exercises like squats or deadlifts. Each and every exercise is important. If it seems too hard to be done, try reducing the weights or reps. Or you can always keep someone by your side for a little help.
Feet placement and its importance
Doing closed-chain leg movements your feet should be planted strongly on solid objects like the floor. But while doing open-chain movements your feet would be floating in the air. Squats and deadlifts are closed-chain leg movements and leg extensions and leg curls are counted as open-chain movements.
During multi-joint workout never turn your feet inward or excessively outward as it would put excessive pressure on knees. This is when it is bad for your knees, so keep your posture right.
Keep your heels down and maintain a balance
Proper feet placement and balance, while you are doing leg exercises like leg presses or hack squats, is very important. You might have seen some people raise their heels. If not, you can notice now, this is completely wrong and puts pressure on your ankles. This would create an imbalance and can cause serious injury.
Sometimes restricting workout clothes can be the cause, if so then make sure you are comfortable while working out. Like this, you won't be able to lift to your full potential. Address your ankle mobility issues if that is the reason behind the heel raise. If not then make sure you are pushing off with the entire foot and not just some part of it.
Don’t keep the knees inward
Keeping the knees inward is one of the most common problems when it comes to lower body exercises. Just like keeping the feet inward, keeping your knees inward also sucks because it leads to injury. Correct your posture right away and keep an eye if it goes wrong during a workout.
Banded squats are a good way to avoid such a situation. Place a band around the knees. Keep the band tight by pulling your legs apart, remember the band should not loosen up or fall down. You don’t have to push it too hard because keeping knees extended outward will also cause issues. Other good exercises to empower the lower body include deadlift and lunges variations.
Addressing the mobility issues
Addressing mobility issues is very important if you don’t have the required mobility in your ankles that it allows you to do the complete correct motion then address the issue ASAP. The reason why some people do squat on a heel board or weight plates is that they don’t have enough mobility. Elevating the heels with heel board or weight plates does not solve the problem.
Either way, keep on pushing is not the right way. Elevating your heels by some means, whatever they might be, is a short-term solution. Long term process can cause knee injury and worsen pre-existing injury problems. Because it pushes your knees forward which puts too much stress on them. A pair of weightlifting shoes can solve your problem in a better way. It increases depth but keeps the torso at the right positions to maintain upright posture reducing back stress.
Addressing the squatting depth notion
Squatting as deep as possible, or stop as thighs become parallel to the floor, which one is the right way. Some say full squat is bad for your knees some say it is not. Both things are correct! Here is how. We all have different mobility and flexibility. Thus, we can only bend how much our body allows. Things like hip structure, limb, and torso length matter in this regard. So, how far can you go depends on you. Go as low as you can. Parallel and lower positions are ideal though.
Hamstrings workout is not to be skipped
thinking hamstring workout is optional or skipping them because of whatever reason, it is a critical mistake. One of the reasons of hamstring injuries is that they are weak. To make them be able to bear the more pressure they need to be strengthened. The power of your legs comes from hamstrings too. Stronger quads than hams by about 3:2 ratio will keep your joints stable and knees healthy. If your 10RM on the lying leg curl is at least 2/3 of 10RM on leg extension you are good, otherwise, your joints are at risk. Try different variations of deadlifts, they are all useful. Remember to keep the posture right.
Never round the back during a workout
It is just this simple, you just have to keep the back flat. Making it arched puts pressure on the lower and middle back leading to injuries from which you can never fully recover even with the best medical care. This problem is very common among beginners. If you are also prey to such a problem reduces the weight and correct your posture. When you get it right gradually increase the weight according to the requirement of your training?
Never to lookup
Looking up while doing squats will put immense pressure on the spine. For the time being, it might not seem like much of a big deal but the results will be catastrophic. Looking up disrupts the alignment of our spine producing a curve at the upper spine. All of that weight puts immense pressure on the upper spine and the spinal disks then, of course, you would be injured. This can lead to an imbalance and loss of the bar. Similarly turning your head left or right is also a bad idea to avoid them. What you should do is just keep the head in a normal forward-looking position. This way you can easily see yourself in the mirror. If there isn’t one in front of you then either forget seeing yourself in the mirror or stand in front of a mirror.
Cardio and leg workout, understand the relation
Energy stored muscle glycogen is what both Cardio and leg workouts are dependent on. First, four quads, two glutes, three hamstrings, and two calf muscles in each leg gives the leg workouts huge muscles and too many of them. Second, if you do either one, cardio or legs workouts, the energy reserves of muscle glycogen would come to an end and the following exercise would have to go through low energy reserves. This also puts pressure on the nervous system and does not give you efficient results. So, first, you should never think of doing both on the same day, let alone doing it back to back. Second, give your legs the proper time to rest and recover before working on them again. Put at least a few days gap between the two. This goes for all muscles.
Now as you know of what mistakes could be the cause and holding you back. Pay attention and fix the issues. Remember to keep a proper diet, it does half the work.