Who doesn’t need stronger legs?
For you and me, leg strength is one of the things you must have if you want an active, vibrant life. Without adequate leg strength, your joints suffer, your balance will be short lived, and your quickness will fade.
Most people know or assume that the way you get stronger is by lifting weights. Resistance training. And that’s one way to get there.
But there a couple of other ways to boost your leg strength without using heavy loads.
I’ve written about one way to increase your strength. And now, I’ll share with you a startling finding published this year in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. ((Aguilar, A. J., L. J. Distefano, et al. (2012). “A Dynamic Warm-up Model Increases Quadriceps Strength and Hamstring Flexibility.” J Strength Cond Res 26(4): 1130-1141.))
We know that static stretching before you train is detrimental to performance and strength gains. But no one had looked at how a dynamic warmup – what we call priming – effected strength or flexibility.
So, the researchers examined 45 volunteers. They divided the participants into three groups. One group did static stretching, one did a dynamic warmup, and one did nothing. They measured hamstring flexibility, quadriceps strength and vertical jump before and after the three conditions.
And here’s what they found (DWU means Dynamic Warmup, SWU means Static Warmup):
“The DWU significantly improved eccentric quadriceps strength and hamstrings flexibility, whereas the SWU did not facilitate any positive or negative changes in muscle flexibility, strength, power, or vertical jump. Therefore, the DWU may be a better preactivity warm-up choice than an SWU.
Eccentric quadriceps strength is what you need when you squat, descend stairs, or have to move quickly, change directions or decelerate a movement. It’s the most important kind of strength to have so using a DWU that improves your eccentric strength is a hugely important thing.
Are you still using static stretching before you train?