Lower-body strength offers far more advantages to your everyday life than you might typically expect - from supporting you as you walk and run, to ensuring you have enough endurance to get through a hard shift at work. Building lower-body strength can even help you to avoid knee and shin injuries by helping to reduce the amount of pressure your legs have to cope with on a regular basis.
Combined with a set of calf compression sleeves for support and improved circulation, the right ways to build lower body strength will allow you to benefit from better balance, comfort, and durability in the future.
1. Work Your Calf Muscles
If you've recently purchased a calf compression sleeve because you're concerned about the possibility of suffering from shin splints during a run, building your calf muscles using free weights, or even your own body weight can be a good idea.
Use your body weight by standing on an elevated surface, the ball of one foot against the ground, and the heel hanging over the edge of the step, stair, or block. Slowly lift your other foot away from the floor, and use the stable leg to push your body upwards, then back down into the starting position.
Another way to build lower-body strength is through free weights - simply stand on a level surface, with a dumbbell on each shoulder, then rise up on your toes and back down eight to twelve times.
2. Perform the Perfect Lunge
Another important muscle to focus on when you build lower-body strength, is the gluteus maximus. Lunges are ideal for this purpose, and they can be done either with your own body weight, or using weights to add an extra challenge.
Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart, and your arms relaxed by your sides. Step forward with one foot, while keeping the other foot as steady as possible. Once your foot is properly situated, bend your knees so that you lower your body slowly towards the floor, then push gradually back up into the starting position.
3. Use Weights to Build Thighs and Hamstrings
The best way to build up the muscles in your hamstrings and thighs - the areas that help to support you throughout the day and take some of the pressure away from your shins and knees - is with a leg extension machine.
At your local gym, sit at the leg extension machine, placing your legs behind the bar, so that it rests against the front of your ankles. Push forwards against the weight until you can extend your legs fully in front of you, then lower carefully back to the starting position.
You can also try using the supine machine to improve the strength in your lower legs. Remember that supine machines require you to lay on your stomach at an angle, so don't try the exercise with a full stomach. Place your ankles underneath the bar, and push against it slowly so that it raises towards the ceiling. Carefully lower your legs back towards the starting position, and repeat.