Feeling strong, mobile, and flexible in your legs gives you a certain buoyancy. It’s emotional as well as physical. You feel strong legs all day long and with nearly any activity you do.
So, the question is, how to develop strong, flexible legs–with plenty of mobility?
In my mind, the way to do this is with simple exercises, done with plenty of emotional content–that is, focus.
Here’s what it looks like:
- Workout 1: Swings/squats (4 sets of 5 each exercise)
- Workout 2: Swings/pistols (4 sets of 5 swings, 4 sets of 4-5 pistol)
- Workout 3: Dynamic stretching (throwing a lot of kicks – front, side raise, crescent) (2 sets 10 reps each movement)
Note: This workout excludes the upper body work I do, one workout would be horizontal push/pull and the other would be vertical push/pull. See the Movement Based Training page for more details.
A couple things I really like about the exercises. One is that by doing the same exercise over and over, you develop the deep skill. I keep getting deeper into the movements, learning to control more of my body, developing increased range of motion, positioning my body more effectively. Two, you don’t need variety if you master the basic exercises. Although, it’s good to occasionally do different leg exercises, the majority of your time is spent on the basics in this routine. To me, that means simplicity. I stave off boredom by taking breaks.
I don’t do heavy weights. Steve Maxwell says he never hears older men telling him they wished they had lifted heavier when they were younger. You don’t need to. I do a few goblet squats with the 88 pounder but mainly the 70 pounder. Swings I’ll occasionally do the 106 pounder but mostly a 60/40 split between 70 and 88 respectively. The pistols I don’t add any weight to. Soon, I’ll be doing single leg deadlifts and those I’ll keep to 36 pounds. This goes to the question, how strong do you need to be? There is a risk/reward ratio with the pursuit of strength–I like to stay practical here, and I’ve had my share of injuries.
With these exercises and the focus—and with reasonable weights, I’m training my legs very effectively and they feel great. A long walk or a jog caps off this program nicely.