LEG DAY # 1: Squats

Get a leg up: Use “compound” movements

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The gluteus maximus is the biggest muscle in your body. When you are ready, lift hand weights or kettlebell to further engage the core.

Prioritizing “compound” movements – exercises that engage the legs and other supporting muscle groups simultaneously – will produce the best results, according to Andy Howell, a personal trainer at Aspire Fitness in Medford.

  1. Body weight squats: These are good for warming up and building strength in the quadriceps and glutes. Howell has new clients start doing squats from a seated position on a bench, focusing on driving upward from the heels. From there, he measures how deep of a squat they can do using TRX straps (these are ropes affixed to an overhead bar) for balance. Keep the knees bent to stay behind the toes to avoid bearing too much pressure. Once you’re comfortable squatting your own body weight without holding on to anything, Howell recommends adding dumbbells or barbells. Include squats in a rotation with other body weight exercises, performing sets two or three days a week.

Originally published November 2019

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“The No. 1 benefit of working the legs is it increases muscle mass overall, because they have the body’s largest muscle groups.”

-Andy Howell, a personal trainer, Aspire Fitness, Medford

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