The Manual has teamed up with Kisar Dhillon, a personal trainer based in Portland, Oregon, and his team at The Art Of Personal Training to bring you the first in a series of videos to help you ease into a strength training routine. You can do these exercises at the gym, at home, or even at work.
In this video, Peter Fuller, a trainer with over 15 years of experience, shows us how to properly do lunges, calf raises and squats. Though simple, these are the best leg exercises for men who are just starting out with a fitness routine.
A quick note before you get started
Though these are introductory leg exercises, proper technique is important in order to prevent injury and make sure you get the most out of your workout. Dhillon, who has been in the fitness industry for over twenty years, let us in on the secret to proper breathing technique:
- Inhale on the eccentric and exhale on the concentric. For example, when you are doing a leg squat: when you are squatting down toward the floor (eccentric contraction) you will want to inhale, and when you are rising and going into a straight position (concentric contraction) you will want to exhale.
- Do not hold your breath. This will cause intra-abdominal pressure, or a Valsalva maneuver. This can result in seeing stars, passing out and even vomiting. In addition, you do not want to reverse your breathing because you will lose integrity in your core and surrounding muscles, which are usually activated when you are breathing correctly while moving a resistance load.
- If you’re still having trouble, try counting under your breath. When you are completing a repetition, count underneath your breath. This is an involuntary way to move air or exhale. For example, when you are doing a chest press and you are pushing the bar away from your chest, say the number “one” softly and when you are doing your second rep, say “two,” etc.
Okay, on with the show.
Though we’re using three very simple exercises, the goal of this workout is to increase in difficulty as you go on, and, again, keep Fuller’s advice in mind. As always, listen to your body. We suggest starting out by doing one set each of the exercises in this circuit and going from there.
Reverse lunge with TRX: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Reverse lunge without TRX: 2 sets of 8-10 reps
Calf raises with both feet straight, either holding onto wall or arms out: 2 sets of 10-15 reps
Duck-footed calf raises, either holding onto wall or arms out: 2 sets of 10-15 reps
Calf raises, one foot at a time: 2 sets each of 10-15 reps
Squats*: 2 sets of 10-15 reps