While those things can be fun, sometimes we wonder if we really need to use a lot of weight to build strong legs. Do we really need to test the strength of our joints to test the strength of our muscles? It does make sense to require a lot of weight, after all some of the biggest and strongest muscles in the human body take residence in the legs.Even so it’s entirely possible to build strong and powerful (sexy too!) legs with minimal weight.
I fell in love with pistol squats (or single leg squats) a year ago and I haven’t used heavy weight since. The combination of balance and control unlocks loads of power and strength you never even knew you had. Plus lifting most of your body weight with only one leg is a lot more challenging than it may seem. It always seems to hit new angles that traditional squats and leg presses miss. I’ve seen lots of heavy squatters give pistols a try and then feel sore the next day.
– Lunge for distance
I got a wake up call, back in my heavy squat days, when I decided to lunge the length of a soccer field as a warm up. I only made it half way across and collapsed in the grass with both legs on fire. While it may seem like it’s more for endurance than strength, it’s important to always remember that endurance and strength are still linked to one another. Improve your endurance and your strength will also improve and vise versa.-Isometrics
– Isometrics combined with movement
If, for some strange reason, isometrics are not much of a challenge (like you’re a super natural being) then try combining isometrics with movement.
I find the best way to do this is to do 10-15 seconds of movement followed by the same duration of isometric. See if you can repeat the cycle 2-3 times. It’s a great workout for even the super natural.
If you’re not new to exercise a light sprint might fit you’re desire. Like jumping, go easy at first. Make the sprints short (no longer than 20-30 seconds at the most) and don’t go all out. It’s not any more necessary to sprint all out any more than to lift the heaviest weight you can possibly lift. Once you get into your grove you can start timing yourself for distance and really putting the hammer down.
– Hill or stair work
– Pushing something heavy
Any one of these ideas will help you improve let strength and endurance. You can use them alone or in combination to any other heavy lifting you may do. Some of these make great off day leg workouts or a workout for a de-loading phase of a program.