Want to increase leg-strength using a minimal amount of exercises? Well, look no further than powerlifting movements. Unlike bodybuilding exercises, which usually only work a few muscles at a time, powerlifting exercises target a large number of muscles simultaneously and allow you to effectively build overall strength. Two of the best powerlifting leg-exercises you can do are the sumo squat and the sumo deadlift. In addition to working the legs, these exercises target the hips.
Position the barbell over your upper back and rear shoulder region, grasping the barbell using an overhand grip slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
Stand with your torso upright.
Position your feet in a wide stance and extend your knees.
Lower your hips by bending your hips and knees until your thighs are close to parallel to the ground.
Raise your hips up to the start by extending your hips and knees.
Place the barbell on the ground and stand in front of it.
Hold the barbell using an overhand grip a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.
Position your feet in a wide stance and bend your knees until your thighs are about parallel to the ground.
Lift the barbell off the ground until your body is upright by extending your hips and knees.
Return the barbell down to the ground by bending your hips and knees.
- To primarily focus on increasing your strength, do three to five sets per powerlifting exercise. Do four to six repetitions per set using the heaviest resistance possible, but maintaining the proper form throughout the range of motion. If you want to focus on both strength-building and muscle-building, then do six to eight reps per set.
- You must keep your back as straight as possible during both the sumo squat and the sumo deadlift. This is important to minimize the risk of injury to your spine. If you find it difficult to maintain a straight-spine position, then consciously focus on isometrically contracting your abdominal and erector spinae muscles throughout the range of motion. You may want to practice the movements using lighter weights and thus doing higher reps initially until you have achieved the proper form.
Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in Bodybuilding.com and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.