How’s Your Physique?
Many times men tend to work the upper body, chest, and arms to the neglect of the lower body and midsection. This is a mistake for a number of reasons, not the least of which is how it makes the body look unbalanced. There are many guys, whether they work out at the gym, or at home, who have spent a lot of time hitting the bench or push ups, and have made some substantial progress, but, their legs look like they belong to someone else. In addition, I have heard several women make comments about how this very fact is a turn off when it comes to the area of physical attraction. While women do like to see a guy with big guns, they also like symmetry. While they may not talk about it openly to men they are very much impressed with how a guy’s jeans fit him.
Now two lower body exercises that will definitely address this are the dead lift and the squat. These exercises are targeted specifically to the lower trunk, hips, quads, and hamstrings. They both are excellent ways to build muscle mass and improve the appearance of the lower body. Before you start doing these, contact a health professional or professional trainer to determine if you are ready to start either of these.
Exercise #1: The Deadlift
The dead lift is about as primitive an exercise as you can find. It primarily involves movement at the hip, and that’s all. You basically lift something heavy from the floor to your mid thigh level. It’s typically done in the gym with a barbell and is a concentric motion only. Once you pick up the object, you don’t lower it back down, you simply drop it back in place. The deadlift can be done with anything really. It doesn’t have to be a barbell. However, using a barbell does make it easier because of how it’s made. But, creative people can come up with other options. To do this particular movement correctly, the low back needs to be kept straight and in the “neutral position”. This means that your hamstrings need to be fairly long to do the exercise correctly and avoid injury. A stretching program may be needed. Also, when beginning, one should concentrate on form rather than resistance. This means avoid using much weight at all until your body is accustomed to the movement.
Exercise #2: The Squat
The Squat is a more dynamic exercise than the dead lift in that you lift and lower the weight. You’ll be getting movement in the ankle, knee and hip with this one. In addition, the upper body works to a degree because the weight rests on the upper back and shoulders or the upper chest and shoulders. Because the squat is dynamic, the amounts of weight may be limited due to things like knee pain or ankle or knee tightness. As with the dead lift, you will want to start off pretty conservative when it comes to weight. Again, because you need to know how your body will respond. Using your bodyweight, or the weight of the Olympic bar will be fine for this. To do correctly, whether using a bar or not, stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider. Then, lower your body toward the floor bending at the hip and knee. Your hips will move backward as you keep your knees above and slightly in front of your feet. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground and then rise to the starting point.
Your chances of avoiding injury are greatly increased when either of these exercises are done in a controlled and consistent fashion. Because of the nature of these exercises and the muscles targeted, they are a great way to increase lower body muscle mass and add symmetry to any physique.