Sports That Require Lower Body Strength

Strong legs help you balance on and leap off the beam.
i Ronald Martinez/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Strong legs are helpful in any sport, but they’re particularly important in sports that include running, jumping or kicking. Sports that require lower body strength include a variety of individual and team sports, some of which require special training, while others are open for you to begin playing at almost any stage of your life.


    There’s a reason the sport is called football across the world. Soccer players not only do plenty of running up and down the field, but they must control the ball with their feet, whether dribbling or kicking the ball to a teammate. Shots close to the net may be struck with your head, but most shots are performed by kicking the ball. Obviously, therefore, strong legs are required to shoot the ball as hard as possible. Goalkeepers remain close to the net, so they don’t run as much as the other players; but their position often requires them to kick the ball far downfield, so their legs must be as strong as any field player’s.


    Gymnasts are often small in height, because a lower center of gravity is helpful for performing many gymnastic maneuvers. But gymnasts cannot be weak. Strong legs are required for numerous gymnastics moves. The vault, in particular, calls for a fast run-up and a strong jump. Running is also a key element of floor routines and jumping is required for flips performed on the floor or the balance beam. Strong legs are used for both of those movements as well as when gymnasts stick their dismounts and landings.


    Basketball players do plenty of running up and down the court, jumping to rebound, block and shoot, changing direction, and starting and stopping quickly, which can only happen efficiently with strong legs.

Track and Field

    No matter which track and field discipline you choose, you had better be prepared to strengthen your lower body. Sprinters need powerful legs to explode out of the starting blocks, and hurdlers, who also push off blocks, need to leap over 10 barriers during their 100- to 400-meter races. Distance runners keep their legs moving for a mile or more. All the jumping events begin with a run and, except for the pole vault, end with the participant heading into the air with a boost from the legs. Throwing events require a different kind of lower body strength, as the competitors use their legs to push off the ground and help power their throws.


    Swimming involves a combination of pulling and pushing yourself through the water. You pull yourself forward with your arms and hands, and push your body ahead through your leg kicks. Different swimming strokes require different types of kicks, but the kick is a key element in every stroke.

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