Right, let’s start with a bit of fun. How quick is Quickenden? The H&B guys dug out the speed gun and challenged me to see what animals I could outrun. Take a look how I got on in the video below.
I was well happy with that!
Right, enough of that, this week I’m focusing on legs and triceps. A lot of people I see in the gym neglect working on their legs in favour of their upper body. But you need strong legs to support your upper body work and to keep your physique in proportion too. If we’re honest, a massive upper-body and toothpick legs isn’t a great look is it? So don’t overlook the leg muscles. Stronger leg muscles can actually help increase your strength on upper-body lifts and leg exercises such as squats and deadlifts have been shown to increase the release of natural muscle building hormones.
I’ve managed to maintain a good level of core strength in my legs from regularly playing football over the years but I’ve always found it useful to supplement this with some of the exercises below.
And why train your triceps? Well they’re two thirds of your arm, need I say more. If you do not train your triceps, you are only training third of your arm. So if you want to build or tone your arm muscle then training your triceps are a must.
Check out my short video here which demonstrates my legs and triceps routine in action.
This is a favourite session of Danielle’s and mine when we hit the gym together – she’s much better at lunging than me, I’m sure that’s not a surprise!
- Squats: Okay, now this is one exercise where boy do you feel it the next day! That’s because it’s so powerful. The great thing is that it’s free too as you can do squats (and lunges below) practically anywhere – at home, outdoors (or even at work if you’re keen). So no excuses about not having a gym membership. Firstly, make sure you are wearing comfortable, loose fitting clothing – no tight pants. Now to start, stand tall with your feet hip width apart and your arms down by your side. Start to lower your body down, bending your knees steadily as you do and pushing your body weight into your heels. As you are lowering into the squat your arms will start to raise out in front of you for balance. Keep a neutral spine at all times and never let your knees go over your toes. The lower body should be parallel with the floor and your chest should be lifted at all times not rounded over. Pause, then lift back up in a controlled movement to the starting position. I love squats and an advanced option on these is to incorporate weights – you can use dumbbells but I like to use a barrel weight which I hold over my shoulders. (You can see what I mean in my video above).
- Lunges: Start as you would with a squat but rather than going down on both knees, lunge one knee forward at a time and then back to your starting position. When doing a lunge it’s important for your knee not to go past your big toe to avoid injuries to the knee and the hamstrings. Lunges tone your thighs which including the quadriceps (front upper leg muscles) and hamstrings (back lower leg muscles), plus your glutes (butt). They are challenging but they do really get results.
- Lunges and squats are for all levels of ability but if you have any knee problems, these two exercises are not recommended.
- Tricep extensions: Okay, so grab your dumbbells and stand hip width apart and with one knee slightly bent forward to balance out your weight. Now pull (extend) your bells backwards, swiping past the sides of your hips, really working those rear upper arm muscles. Slowly pull them forward and repeat.
- Tricep pushdown: Attach a straight or angled bar to a high pulley and grab with your palms facing down at shoulder width. Standing upright with your back straight, bring the upper arms close to your body. The forearms should be pointing up towards the pulley as they hold the bar. This is your starting position. Using the triceps, bring the bar down until it touches the front of your thighs and the arms are fully extended. The upper arms should always remain stationary next to your body and only the forearms should move. After a second held in this position, bring the bar slowly up to the starting point. That’s all there is to it.
See you in a week for my best tips on doing the perfect press up – a true test of core strength!
Bye for now.
Disclaimer: Before undertaking any exercise or fitness programme please see a doctor or medical professional if you have a medical condition or physical restriction that may make some of Jake’s tips and work out suggestions unsuitable. Jake is not a qualified fitness instructor but a dedicated, fitness enthusiast. If you require advice from a professional fitness expert we recommend you contact your local gym or health club.