Find out why you should train legs to improve in sports. Try these explosive leg workouts.
Everyone enters the fitness world for a different reason. Some people just want to lead a healthier lifestyle, whereas others want the confidence that comes along with having a muscular physique. There are, however, instances where the weight training is put to a more practical use, such as sports. Coaches will often require players to train with weights in addition to traditional practice for their team. But with a different goal in mind than bodybuilding, someone who is looking to train purely to benefit himself on the playing field (or court) will want to use a different routine. If there is one constant throughout all of the popular sports, it has to be the emphasis on the legs. Legs play a critically important role in just about every major sport, and as such we are going to cover 4 popular sports and why leg exercises are important for them.
For the average gym rat, training your legs may not be the biggest priority, but anyone who is in sports will want to do it. In basketball for example, increasing your vertical leap can prove to be very beneficial, as it helps your game in numerous ways: from dunking to making a jumper. With a leg routine that is built around increasing your vertical jump, you will find your game improving drastically. Calf raises are also a great start, but the growth of your quads will have the greatest impact on your vertical jump. By adding front squats (a variation of the traditional squat where the bar is in front of you) and calf raises to your leg day, you will soon be on the road for a much higher vertical jump.
The benefits of training legs aren’t limited to basketball. If you’re a lineman for a football team, then your hamstrings and glutes play a huge role in determining how much force you are going to be hitting with. In this case, there really is no better option than squats, as they are going to train everything you want, with the intensity you need. Simply put, training your legs will allow you to have more momentum when you are running, which is a good thing in football for two reasons. For one, it means that you will be hitting your opponents with far more force, making sure that those who have been tackled stay on the ground. Secondly, having more momentum when you’re running the ball means you will be harder to stop.
Training legs for basketball and soccer is a little different than training for soccer. Firstly, soccer players do the most running out of any other athletes (except track-related sports), so training for pure strength is not ideal here. With that in mind, you’ll want to strike a nice balance between having a light frame that won’t slow you down and powerful legs that will let you kick the ball with a lot of force. Compound leg exercises like squats and deadlifts will be a good course of action in this scenario, and going for the higher reps like 12 will come in handy because of the sheer endurance training high rep routines provided. Uphill sprints are also an excellent way to increase your running speed, as they require an enormous amount of both lower-body strength and endurance to complete. Find a small hill in your area and get a friend to time how long it takes you to run up it. You may start out slow, but with practice your times will start to drop, and your effectiveness as a soccer player will increase dramatically.
Baseball is similar to soccer in regard to the leg training it requires. If you’re batting you want to get to the next base before the ball does, and if you’re in the outfield you want to get to the ball as quickly as possible. The solution to both of these problems is a training routine that is built strictly for speed. Again, sprints will be enormously helpful for someone in baseball, as there is really no better exercise to increase your sprinting speed. To change things up try weighing yourself down with something when you are doing your sprints, whether it’s an ankle weight or a backpack. This is a great way to help get maximize the effectiveness of your training sessions. Be sure to log your progress to see how far you’ve come—it’ll come in handy when you are trying out new exercises to see if your body responds well to them.