When putting together a body building program, it is vital that you workout your legs and don’t over concentrate on your arms, chest and abs if you are to have a well proportioned physique. However before you start a leg muscle-building program it is important to have an understanding of the upper leg muscle groups involved. These are:
The Quadriceps Muscles
More commonly referred to as the ‘quads’ no leg workout is complete without spending some time on these large leg muscles. The quadriceps are the muscles at the front of the thigh, which act as the extensors of the leg. The main function of the quadricep muscles is knee extension and to a lesser extent hip flexion. The upper thigh muscles are the largest and most powerful muscles in the human body. The muscles involved include the rectus femoris, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis (inner thigh) and vastus lateralis (outer thigh).
All four quadricep muscles insert into the tibia (shin bone) and with one exception, they all originate from the femur (thigh bone). The exception is the rectus femoris, which originates from the ilium (the highest bone on the pelvis), which allows it to play a role in hip flexion.
The hamstring muscles, also known as the rear thighs, make up the rear side of the upper leg anatomy and like the quadriceps, the hamstring muscle group also contains four separate muscles: The biceps femoris (Long Head), biceps femoris (Short Head), semitendinosus and the semimembranosus. The hamstrings are mainly responsible for knee flexion and rotation as well as hip extension.
The Gluteal Muscles.
The gluteal muscles refer to the individual muscles of the glutes, in other words the ‘butt’. The three main muscles of the glutes are the gluteus Maximus, gluteus medius and the gluteus minimus. It is worth noting that the gluteus maximus is not only the largest muscle in the leg anatomy, but also the largest in the entire body. The major function of the glutes is to perform hip extension and also hip abduction.
Exercises for Upper Leg Muscles
Luckily, many exercises to build leg muscles will workout each of the above three upper leg muscle groups. Squats are great for building overall strong and powerful legs. Other exercises for your quadriceps include leg press, leg extensions, dumbbell lunges and dumbbell squats.
Moving along to your hamstrings, there are three great body building workouts you can perform. The first is lying leg curls in which you lie face down on a leg curl machine and lift up, which will help you to get bigger thighs. The other two exercises are stiff-legged dead lifts and dumbbell stiff-legged dead lifts.
If you consider that your legs make up approximately 50% of your body mass you will see why you cannot afford to overlook leg training.