One of the main aspects that we must take care of to avoid injuries when we exercise or sports activities is the state of our muscles. Learn to enhance muscle tone with a series of simple quadriceps exercises.
There are multiple strategies to enhance the muscle tone of the so-called lower body or lower extremities. This is essential to perform any sports activity or recover from a musculoskeletal injury. Exercises to strengthen the quadriceps is a preventive practice to avoid future knee injuries.
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Benefits of well-toned muscles
If we have well-toned muscles, our joints will be more stable and less susceptible to trauma or injury. Likewise, it will give us greater agility, toughness, firmness and speed and better sports performance, not failing to mention the aesthetic benefit that it gives us. From the vascular point of view, the increase in muscle tone will make the muscle contraction much more effective, which will favor the venous return against gravity thanks to the pump effect achieved with the contraction. When the muscle is toned, it has more resistance to exhaustion.
Depending on the sport that you want to practice. We will emphasize the empowerment of one or another muscle group more insistently, but we will not forget the rest of the muscles in our sports routine. Obviously, in achieving our goal of strengthening the legs, the gluteal region plays an indisputable role.
The main muscle groups of the legs are, in a descending direction: glutes, hamstrings and crural biceps, quadriceps, calves and soleus and tibialis anterior. It is not necessary to work with every group daily. To achieve adequate muscle tone, repetitions performed ideally three times a week are sufficient.
We cannot forget, under any circumstances, the warm-up phase before training that will allow us to elongate the muscle fibers and prepare them to adequately respond to requests during sports activity. The previous warm-up exercise will only require a few minutes, and it will be enough to stretch the legs or perform low-power exercises, but repeated or walked (if you have a treadmill, it will be fantastic). A disciplined stretching is essential to avoid the classic overuse muscle injury and even fibrillar rupture, which we have all heard of and which can cause a serious traumatic problem. Of course, warm-up exercises are also recommended at the end of the sports session to progressively decrease muscle work to avoid possible fasciculations or sustained mini-contractions.
We can mention the most classic repetitions such as squats, stride, steps, toes and triangles or bridges (lying on the floor, we flex our legs and raise the spine and pelvis). Although multiple tutorials show us the correct technique, we will mention some peculiarities of each type of exercise.
- Squats should be done with your back straight and your legs apart to flex your knees and hips.
- The stride also requires a straight spine with hip and knee flexion of the front leg and hip extension and knee flexion of the leg that we leave behind.
- The correct performance of the steps would be through the specific device that, most likely, we will not have at home, but we can perform them on a step.
- The tiptoe position held for a few seconds will allow us to work the muscle fibers of the posterior groups.
- Other actions can help us strengthen the muscles of the legs, such as going up and down stairs (forgetting about the elevator), walking for at least one hour a day (ideally with suitable footwear), running on the treadmill, practicing running, dancing, swimming.
After an injury
Likewise, we will mention the exercises that should be practiced after suffering a sports injury that requires prolonged immobilization, especially in those knee injuries that involve a long break in our sports habit. In these situations, isometric exercises of the quadriceps are recommended. At the same time, we are carriers of immobilization and consisting of stretching and raising the limb approximately 20 cm from the plane, holding it elevated for 10 seconds and having to do several repetitions. Once the immobilization is finished, we will have to sit down and hang a weight on our feet so that when we stretch the knee. We raise the weight. These exercises will minimize the dreaded muscle atrophy during immobilization.
In short, it is not necessary to have a gym to work the tone of our legs. Dedication of 30 minutes for three days a week will be enough to show off your legs and, above all, your buttocks.