Re: leg problems need help
Here is an answer I gave earlier about squats to a women member here. Just adjust being a man. The explanation for doing squats is the same for both. Be sure to stretch and warmup first. Keep good form and you will not have any injury problems:
JUst remember to stand with the bar across your traps (upper back) not on your neck. Some people use the "Manta Ray" which is a plastic device you can attach to the bar and it helps distribute the load abit. The college gym used them but at home I use the bare bar only.
Feet should be about shoulder width. You can go wider or narrower...its up to you. The wider the stance, the more your toes to point out and fine as long as your knees follow. You do not want to have your knees point inwards or forward. Just find what is comfortable for you.
Take a nice deep breath, pushing your chest up and out...putting your back in correct position. The shoulders should be back and a gentle curve in your lower back. Not completely straight up and down. The upper body should lean forward as you descend to compensate for the hips moving back. A forward lean is fine IF it is coming from the hips...not the waist. begin your descent retaining the lumbar arch. Hips sit back and down....like sitting in chair that's not there.
"Parallel squats" is when the thighs are parallel to the ground.
I had problems doing parallel squats at first as my heels would start raising up before reaching this position. I would get close but not good enough. I have never been able to crouch/squatdown flatfooted normally anyway and thought going parallel might be another problem area.
Then I found out about "box squats" and this helped alot. You have a stool/box just at the right height where you can sit down with the weight briefly and rise up. Because of foot position and how you would normally sit...this helped break me of that problem.
To help strengthen/build up your legs, you can do squats starting with the bare bar (Olympic bars weigh 45lbs) as a warmup for about 20 reps or so. If it does feel too light ....and we women have quite abit of lower body strength to start with.....you can add a couple of 10lb plates or more. Whichever is more comfortable to keep in form and be able to do the reps with. This exercise does hit the whole body, particularly the legs, butt, hips and lower back.
It is considered the "Queen" of the exercises with the bench press next. It not only demands and teaches strength. It also teaches balance, coordination, endurance and power. The simple act of standing up under a weight is intensely demanding for your whole body. You are challenging it After a set of squats..even light ones, you might feel abit weak legged ("wet noodle") or have a powerful need to sit down. Maybe even dizzy....this will diminish over time. Beginners often find the squats very demanding until they get conditioned. Just be patient and persist and you will find the rewards are justified.
In conjunction to squats, there are some other isolation leg exercises you can do to help build up the front and hamstrings. Using the leg extension attachment is one...this to build the front of the thighs and the hamstrings. You can do weighted walking or stationary lunges. All these will help isolate and strengthen the legs as well. But for really getting that "rush", up your metabolism and feeling of accomplishment....the squats.
And no, I still cannot deep squat down completely flatfooted. But I can do parallel now well.
There are seperate leg press machines but if all you can afford is the Olympic bench and weights....keep with those.
. Standard bars are about 18 to 21 pounds depending on the company. I have a 21 pound Ivanko for some warmup before using my 45lb Olympic bar. Overall pressing weights is adding the weight of the plates to bar weight. So if I am bench pressing 115lbs, that is two 35lb plates (70lbs) plus the bar itself (45lbs). When I am parallel squatting 215lbs...it is the bar (45lbs) plus a pair of 45s (90lbs) and a pair of 35s (70lbs) At the college gym, I was doing 275lbs but that in a power rack cage. There was another squat rack but preferred to use the cage instead. I also used it to help me through some sticking points in my bench press.