Leg strength is essential for quality of life. If we lose it, our quality of life, independence, and any type of athletic function reduces. Leg strength also helps our golf game! You must work to maintain it throughout life.
Once we are over the age of 30, unless we are actively working on gaining / maintaining strength via resistance training, we are slowly losing it. This loss speeds up at around age 60. The good news is that with appropriate training we can gain / maintain strength, power, and muscle mass at any age.
This simple 3 exercise workout can easily be done from home in 5 to 10 minutes and has you covered for life long leg strength.
1. Calf Raises
There are 3 main joints in the lower body. The hip, knee, and ankle. We want to incorporate an exercise that prioritizes each joint, which will also automatically train the muscles that attach to that joint. This exercise focuses on the ankle joint, calf muscles, and achilles tendon.
The calf & achilles don’t get enough attention in most programs (including my previous ones). They are an essential part of the body, & commonly injured.
Try 10 reps on each leg. If the calf raises shown here are too hard, switch to doing them on both legs at the same time. If the version in the video is too easy, do them on one leg at a time, while also holding a dumbbell in one hand.
2. Split Squats
The split squat is a great choice as a “knee dominant exercise”. The main muscles used are the quads, on the front of the thigh. The hamstrings, glutes, and adductors are also worked.
I often prescribe split squats instead of regular squats as due to the narrow base of support, balance as well as strength is challenged. It also requires less weight to get a good training effect as most of the work is being done by the front leg, as opposed to being evenly distributed between both legs in a regular squat. Both exercises are great!
Try 8 to 10 reps each side.
3. Hip Hinge
This is a great “hip dominant” choice.
As there is little involvement of the knees, the quads are largely taken out of the equation. This is excellent for working your hamstrings, glutes, and lower back.
Try 10 reps.
- The rep number is a guide. I don’t know how strong you are or what weights you have available. The main thing is the last few reps of each set are hard, whether that is 5 reps or 20 reps in a set.
- If you can use more weight over time, that is great.
- You can do each exercise in a circuit, with 30-60 sec break between each exercise.
- You will benefit from performing just one set of each. If you could perform 2-3 circuits that would be great.
- I recommend doing it every other day. So maybe Mon-Wed-Fri or Tue-Thu-Sat.