To get bigger legs, you need to perform strength and power exercises to stimulate muscle and tissue growth. The National Academy of Sports Medicine recommends that you perform full-body exercise rather than isolation exercises because this will help you increase your athletic abilities, stimulate higher muscle growth, and improve other aspects of physical movement, such as stability, balance and posture.
Sprinting is running as fast as you can over a short distance or period of time. Because of the high-intensity nature of the exercise, your leg muscles increase in size to adapt to the stress placed upon your legs. You should use a running track, a large field with turf, or a basketball or tennis court as a training ground. Start with a distance of 20 to 30 yards in a straight line. You can use two orange cones as your reference points. After you sprint from one cone to the other cone, walk back to the starting cone while resting for no more than one minute. Increase the distance between the cones by five yards in each set, and repeat the exercise four to six times.
The squat is a fundamental movement pattern that involves lowering your body toward the ground with your feet on the ground from a standing position. It is a common posture that many people in the world use as a resting pose. All squat variations work on all muscles in your legs and hips while stabilizing your upper body to keep it upright. To do a basic squat, stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart and extend your arms in front of you with your palms facing up. Squat down as low as you can while keeping your torso upright and your feet and knees pointing forward. Exhale and stand straight up without losing your body alignment. Body-weight alone will only get your legs to develop so far. Weights can be key in adding size and strength to the lower body. Perform this exercise with a barbell held in front of your body near your collarbone or by holding a dumbbell on each shoulder.
Stepups and Lunges
A stepup involves moving your body from a low position to a higher elevation by stepping onto a platform, while a lunge involves moving your body from a standing position to a lower position with one leg in front of you. These exercises use all muscles in your lower body and can be performed with your own body weight or with a free weight held in one or both hands. For the stepups, use a sturdy platform, such as a stack of aerobic steps, stone park bench or a plyobox — a box designed for high-impact exercises — that is two to three feet high. Keep your torso upright in both exercises. You can also perform these exercises with extra weight to increase the amount of muscle you build. Hold a dumbbell on each shoulder when you do stepups and lunges.
Plyometrics training involves performing quick, powerful, and repetitive movements over a short period of time. Like sprinting, the high-intensity nature of plyometrics stimulates a high rate of muscle growth and also burns a large amount of calories after the exercise for several hours, says Coach Vern Gambetta, author of "Athletic Development." Sample exercises include box jumps, speed jump roping and vertical jumps. Beginners to plyometrics should consult and work with a qualified exercise professional before attempting any of these exercises.
- NASM Essentials of Personal Fitness Training; Michael Clark
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- Athletic Development; Vern Gambetta