Building up muscle in the legs.

TheCuzEffect

Premiership Player
Oct 22, 2007
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Im not the longest kick of the ball or the fastest runner. and i'vebeen playing footy for 3 years. so i was wondering what's a good way to build up you leg muscles? running isn't a option as where i am is all hills and hard ground. i was thinking of taking swimming up again if that would help?

any info is great.
 

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Souup

Norm Smith Medallist
May 8, 2005
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Im not the longest kick of the ball or the fastest runner. and i'vebeen playing footy for 3 years. so i was wondering what's a good way to build up you leg muscles? running isn't a option as where i am is all hills and hard ground. i was thinking of taking swimming up again if that would help?

any info is great.
It is.

I'm not an expert by any means but i've heard that running hills is one of the best ways to improve leg muscles.
 

RobbieGray17

Brownlow Medallist
Sep 19, 2007
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If you want a longer kick you need to work on plyometrics. If you can find yourself a resistance machine with a leg cable maybe with only 5kg or less go through the kicking motion with that, otherwise just get yourself some thick elastic bands.

As mentioned if you want bigger size, go for deep squats and calf raises.
 

Jubair

Club Legend
Oct 27, 2004
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Work on Squats, Hamstring Curls, Calf raises, leg extension (which has a similar range of motion to kicking a ball, I've found this helps), Deadlifts.

After doing Squats and Deadlifts for a extended period of time, I felt my whole body strength increase overall and its a great feeling!
 

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blues4flag

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 1, 2004
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Would steep incline running and/or HIIT on a treadmill be an effective way of increasing power through the legs (in addition to lower body strength exercises)?
 

jgb99

Club Legend
May 21, 2008
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No, ineffective (although you'd get some improvement if you're slow ... then again anything will give you improvement). Better off doing strength training + full recovery short sprints.
 

matts86

Draftee
Feb 15, 2009
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Western Bulldogs
Would steep incline running and/or HIIT on a treadmill be an effective way of increasing power through the legs (in addition to lower body strength exercises)?

Running in any capacity ie. sprinting, hills, treadmill etc., while good for your fitness, will only improve your kicking minimally- remember that doing anything is always better then doing nothing. However, the best thing for improving leg power is to do power exercises (plyometrics), perhaps weighted jump squats or movements that mimic kicking with additional weight added (try resistance bands as previously suggested). Ideally (depending on your muscle size), you want to build up the muscles in your legs WHILE keeping up power training. Power training on its own may have its limits as will just bulking up on its own. You need to combine both. Think of a powerful kick such as Stuart Dew as a model (you probably don't need the 'extra' weight though).
 

blackhead&boil

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Jun 16, 2007
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I would sugest that as well as building up the "beach" muscles (quads/hammies) that you should specifically target your glutes and hip flexors. the flexors are especially important for kicking, but the glutes are important to balance them out and help with running and posture.

however, as well as sheer strength you will require improved flexibility and freedom of movement. I don't know if you do this already, but standing on one leg and swinging the other one up high forwards and backwards will help with that, as well as protecting you from possible hamstring injuries...
 

enosis7

All Australian
May 10, 2007
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Squats
Deadlifts
Power Cleans
Plyometrics

Squats and deadlifts for overall posterior chain strength.
Cleans and plyo drills for training the application of that strength quickly (ie power). I would favour cleans over the snatch only because it's less technical and easier to push bigger weights - snatches are good if you have inflexible wrists or shoulders.

contrary to an earlier poster, deadlifts will not slow you down. There is no disadvantage to increasing your deadlift. Because of the mechanics of full stride running action, sprinting ability relies on absolute strength in the glutes, hamstrings and lower back more so than the ability to generate power - for which the deadlift is king (I can show you some studies to back this up - strength training for sprinters is increasingly centred around developing 1 rep strength in deadlift). Most elite sprinters would be able to deadlift in excess of 3x bodyweight. Power is much more useful in terms of developing agility and jumping.

Isolation exercises like leg presses, hamstring curls, etc are a waste of time unless you are powerlifting addressing a specific weakness. For the general athlete they are useless - although adding bulk, they do not develop functional strength in any way that squats, deadlifts and cleans do.
 

blackhead&boil

Club Legend
Jun 16, 2007
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melbourne
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Squats


contrary to an earlier poster, deadlifts will not slow you down.

just want to back this up, as well. deadlifts will only slow you down if you do them while you are running. ;)


also, as a general rule you shouldn't do your strength and conditioning work prior to a training session. that will decrease your performance and leave you open to injury. have separate days to do your exercises, or do them after training, but never immediately before...
 

enosis7

All Australian
May 10, 2007
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:D As someone who used to be very quad dominant, my running speed has increased proportionally with my squat and deadlift strength. My vertical leap has increased proportionally with my power clean.
 

blues4flag

Brownlow Medallist
Jul 1, 2004
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Carlton
Whenever I do squats/deadlift, I always seem to hurt my back. My upper right back having been hurting me for days from doing weights (neither of the above two exercises).

I think I'll try do some box squats to get the technique right, before moving onto heavier weights.

Can someone show me a link to learn proper technique for the deadlift? At the moment, I'm thinking of staying away from it until I'm physically stronger (I think my core/back needs some strengthening) - is there any point in doing this, or can I incorporate deadlifts from the get go so long as my technique is right and I don't try to lift too much?
 

enosis7

All Australian
May 10, 2007
865
130
Australia
AFL Club
Collingwood
Whenever I do squats/deadlift, I always seem to hurt my back. My upper right back having been hurting me for days from doing weights (neither of the above two exercises).

I think I'll try do some box squats to get the technique right, before moving onto heavier weights.

Can someone show me a link to learn proper technique for the deadlift? At the moment, I'm thinking of staying away from it until I'm physically stronger (I think my core/back needs some strengthening) - is there any point in doing this, or can I incorporate deadlifts from the get go so long as my technique is right and I don't try to lift too much?
If they hurt your back you're doing them wrong. Both exercises isometrically work your upper and lower back so you willl experience good pain at some point.

The most important thing for safety in a squat and deadlift (and all powerlifting and olympic lifting movements) is proper use of the valsalva manouvre, ie take a deep breath, hold and squeeze. This will increase intra-abdominal pressure, work your core, and help keep your lower back in extension. You don't need to do anything by way of additional exercises to strengthen your core - the deadlift when done properly is one of the best core and lower back exercises there is.

I recommend the book "Starting Strength" by Mark Rippetoe, which is available on Amazon. It has around 60 pages dedicated to proper low bar back squat technique alone. In the last few years, this has become the bible for novice strength training, crossfit, budding powerlifters etc.

In the meantime, check this wiki, which takes some of the most important info from the book:
http://startingstrength.wikia.com/wiki/Starting_Strength_Wiki
 

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