Strengthening the thighs is important to avoid muscular imbalances. Whether it’s for your health, your sports performance or your figure, strengthening your lower limbs is essential. While women often skip the upper body, men seem to be terrified of having to work on their thighs.
Gentlemen, don’t be afraid. Take a cue from the ladies. Today, we’ve put together two strength training programs for you.
The first one is done without equipment. Based on strengthening and plyometric exercises, it is useful for gaining tone and explosiveness. This dynamic program can also help you lose weight.
The second home training program is done with a pair of dumbbells. With diligence, you can aim for muscle mass or muscle volume. The weight training exercises proposed will allow you to gain strength as well as resistance.
These two workouts are therefore complementary if you want to gain more strength, increase your sports performance or strengthen yourself to avoid injury. For a customized weight training program, contact your Ownsport sports coach. He or she is also a fitness expert and will ensure that the movements are carried out correctly throughout the session.
Session 1 – Strengthen your legs without equipment
This program is useful for gaining power and explosiveness. Physical trainers widely use plyometric exercises to strengthen their athletes. These exercises will allow you to improve your sports performance, tone up and avoid injury.
Adductor Squat sumo
Legs Jumping squat
Buttocks Hip Thrust
Legs Bench press
Session 1 – In detail
#1 SQUAT SUMO
Surely, you know the squat. In fact, let’s break the routine with the Sumo Squat exercise.
It allows you to strengthen the quadriceps as well as the adductors. The idea is to perform a squat but with a wider shoulder width, with the toes pointing outward. This position, worthy of a sumo wrestler, will allow you to feel the adductor muscles of the hip.
#2 SQUAT JUMP
More difficult than it looks, squat jumps will develop your muscles as well as your cardio. Squat and jump high, making sure you land on your toes to break the fall. Our advice is to slowly descend and then perform an explosive vertical jump.
#3 JUMPING LUNGES
The principle is the same as the jump squat, with the difference that this exercise targets your posterior muscle chain more. With each jump, switch legs to get into a lunge.
#4 HIP THRUST
It is undoubtedly the best exercise to build up your buttocks. It has also proven to be effective in improving running performance through better mobilization of the pelvis.
If you are a beginner, the starting position is lying on your back on the ground with your feet flat. The exercise consists of lifting your hips off the ground while holding the position for 1 second at the top of the movement. For experts, perform the hip thrust with one leg to increase the difficulty.
#5 BENCH PRESS
A simple but effective exercise. All you need is a chair or a high support. The principle is to climb on the chair one leg after the other to go down in the same direction. For more dynamism, you can also perform jumps with your feet together.
#6 THE CHAIR
This is a great classic to remind you of your gym classes at school. Against a wall, in a sitting position, thighs parallel to the ground, you have to hold the position during the allotted time. Burns guaranteed.
For the more experienced, this isometric exercise can be transformed into a plyometric exercise. To do this, immediately follow up with 5 jumps with your feet together to gain explosiveness.
The calves can be worked standing without equipment. To do this, go up and down on your tiptoes to give them a proper workout. A stair step will be a plus to increase the range of motion.
Session 2 – Strengthening your legs with a pair of dumbbells
There are 1001 ways to build up your thighs with a pair of dumbbells. Done once or twice a week, you can aim for muscle mass gain. In addition, these exercises will help you gain strength and stamina.
Buttocks – Ischios Bulgarian Squat
Buttocks – Ischios Lunges
Legs Farmer’s walk
Session 2 – In detail
The barbell or dumbbell squat is an excellent multi-joint exercise. In a single movement, you can strengthen your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and abdominal muscles. It is therefore interesting to integrate it into your leg strength training program.
#2 BULGARIAN SQUAT
Less known but just as effective, the Bulgarian squat focuses on your posterior muscle chain. Place your right leg on a bench while the other leg remains stable on the ground. Have a wide enough gap and then lower to the best of your ability. Finally, force your front leg to come back up.
In addition to strengthening your thighs, the Bulgarian squat also improves your balance.
#3 WALKING LUNGES
Walking lunges with dumbbells work your muscles and your endurance. Perform a lunge, stand up with your back flat and then take one step forward. This sequence is performed for about 10 repetitions.
#4 DEADLIFT – STRAIGHT LEGS
The deadlift is one of the best exercises for strengthening your thighs and buttocks in a single movement. Nevertheless, it is rarely practiced in the gym for fear of injury. At home, you have the advantage of being followed by a sports coach who corrects your posture in real time.
Here, we’ve opted for the straight legged deadlift which will focus on your hamstrings and lumbar region.
#5 FARMER WALK
The farmer’s walk consists of walking a certain distance with a pair of dumbbells. The heavy load moved will strengthen your thighs but also the upper body (trapezius, back, shoulders, abdominals). No muscle group is neglected.
Working your calves with a heavy load is interesting to try to develop them efficiently. Indeed, throughout the day, through walking, the gastrocnemius muscles are used to working in long series. A heavy load in a short series (6 to 12 repetitions) therefore makes it possible to break the routine by soliciting different muscle fibres.
Finally, if you want to focus on the quadriceps, you can include other exercises. In the gym, your leg strengthening program will be completed with the thigh press, leg extension and leg curl.
During a leg strengthening program at home, use intensification techniques. Indeed, by carrying out the same training program over and over again, with the same load and the same number of repetitions, the results will not be achieved. Progress is therefore one of the keys to your success.
THE REST PAUSE
This technique consists of performing your usual set almost to failure (10 reps in the jump squat for example), pausing for 30 seconds and then repeating until you fail completely. Opting for a partial recovery will allow you to go further in the physical effort.
Then rest for 1.5 to 2 minutes before starting your next set.
This technique is more suitable for training with dumbbells. Do your squat set with a pair of 20kg dumbbells. When you reach failure, lower the load by 20% to 30% and then start again for new repetitions. This way, you will push your muscles to the limit.
As part of a leg strength training program, we are used to performing exercises one after the other. The bi-set, on the other hand, consists of linking two exercises without resting time. For example, the Bench Climb exercise will be immediately followed by the Chair. In fact, this is an excellent technique to easily gain intensity.