The legs by far have got to be one of the least liked muscle groups in fitness training. In fact, in all of the years that I have been a fitness trainer, manager, and coach, seeing underdeveloped legs, particularly among men, is common.

The legs by far have got to be one of the least liked muscle groups in fitness training. In fact, in all of the years that I have been a fitness trainer, manager, and coach, seeing un-proportioned physiques, particularly among men, is common. Men, and many women too, will typically have well-developed upper bodies with noticeably underdeveloped lower bodies. If you ask them why they don't train and exercise their lower bodies, many will simply say "because it's difficult. It often hurts and recovery time takes much longer."

Now here's the thing, if you want to lose weight, lose body fat, or simply have a symmetrical, toned physique, you have to train the legs. You're basically doing yourself a disservice by not making your lower body a focal point to your fitness training.

There are many secrets our leg muscles hold. One of them is that they are the largest muscle group and increase our growth hormone levels when they are trained, which helps to increase our lean muscle mass. Working the legs also helps to increase our metabolism, further allowing our bodies to more easily burn calories and body fat, and lose weight.

Another benefit of working the legs, particularly in the spring and summer, is that strong legs will help to increase your endurance, and for anyone that loves to run, jog, or simply power walk, you definitely will understand the importance of strong legs.

Best leg exercises

Some of the best exercises to develop the legs are squats, and lunges. You can do these exercises almost anywhere. The added resistance you receive from gym equipment, like barbells and dumbbells, do help with increased development; but, if you do not have access to gym equipment, you can successfully do these exercises with your own body weight. Other effective exercises include leg extensions, lying leg curls, and split squats. For anyone unfamiliar with these exercises, spending time with a personal trainer and learning how to effectively execute these exercises will do you a world of good.

As with anything, if you want to successfully receive all the benefits that properly working your legs will provide you, a personal trainer will ensure you are not only doing the exercises properly, but that the workout program you are doing also is effective for the goals you have in mind, whether it be weight loss or muscle development.

If you find yourself relating to this article, then this is a perfect time to make a change. Opening ourselves to new things is something we should always do. Understanding the importance of what leg exercises can provide you can significantly change your way of thinking and the way you've exercised, or not exercised, up to this point. Imagine yourself on the beach with a well-toned, well-proportioned physique. Symmetry equates to beauty; it always has.

Imagine losing weight faster, or gaining lean muscle easier. Making these things happen isn't always about doing something completely different or taking a magic pill; it often can be about making small changes to your daily routine. We can only receive as much as we put out. Life, like a mirror, never gives back more than we put into it. Enjoy the benefits your legs will provide you today.

Michael Shaw is a certified fitness trainer, sports performance nutrition specialist, owner of Shaw Fitness, a member of the Maryland Advisory Council on Physical Fitness, and a fitness model manager. He can be reached at