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The Top 3 Exercises to Look Great in Shorts This Summer

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I took this picture of my calves last week and forgot to post it, so I’m sharing it now because I have nice calves and I want you to see them so you can validate me with compliments and also I have not trained calves since 2009 and they are probably still better than yours, so please laud me for my superior genetics.

Now, I don’t train calves, but you probably should. You should train your entire legs, actually.

That’s where this article and leg workout comes in.

The workout is metabolic in nature, so it’ll help you burn fat, but it also focuses on exercises that will make sure your legs look strong and well-developed.

I plan on wearing uncomfortably short shorts again this summer. And I want you to join me.

So first, let’s check out the three key exercises you’ll be doing.


Kettlebell Swings

Part of looking really great in a pair of shorts is not what you see, but what you don’t see. In this case, that means the butt. It doesn’t matter how great your legs are, if they’re sitting below a pancake ass, you’ll get no respect.

KB Swings will ensure that not only are your glutes firing properly, and developing on par with the rest of your lower body, but also because they’re the biggest and most powerful muscles in your body, so everything else you do is more effective.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Grasp the kettlebell with a double overhand grip.
  • Standing with feet hip-width apart, begin the movement by hinging — push the hips back and keep the feet in place, allowing a slight bend in the knee.
  • Reverse the movement by creating explosive hip extension — push the hips forward and flex the glutes and quads to generate force.
  • The force generated will move the KB forward and up; as it reverses direction and begins to descend, hinge back with it, and repeat the movement.

The great thing about the KB swing is that in addition to being great for your glutes, they’re also highly metabolic. This means it works just about every muscle in the body (particularly, the posterior chain) and is great for overall development and fat loss.


Walking Lunge

The road to both fat loss and well-developed legs is paved with unilateral exercises; that is, movements that are done one leg at a time. Of all of these, some of the most effective are variations of the lunge. The Walking Lunge, in particular, is a favorite of mine, because in addition to allowing for a significant unilateral load (and, as a result, muscle fiber recruitment), it also requires balance and coordination.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Standing with feet together, begin the movement by taking a long step forward with one leg, firmly planting the lead foot.
  • As you plant the lead foot, create the lunge by bending at both knees.
  • Do not allow the trailing knee to hit the floor.
  • Push forward with both legs into a standing position, and immediately swing the trailing leg forward and past the leading leg.
  • Repeat the movement.

The Walking Lunge is great for anyone wearing shorter shorts because it focuses so heavily on the vastus medialus — the large tear drop muscle hanging over the knee. As an added benefit, it is also metabolic and so great for fat burning.


Single Leg Calf Raises

Even for the most dedicated gym rat, calves are a notoriously stubborn body part to develop; but if you want to have a pair of great looking legs, you absolutely cannot ignore everything below your knees.

While the calves could definitely benefit from a full training program, at the very least, you need one exercise to help build them up. In this case, we’re talking about the single leg calf raise, which, if you can only pick one, is the best.

Here’s how to do it:

  • Holding a dumbbell in your right hand and stand on a step or block with most of your foot hanging off.
  • Cross your left foot behind your right ankle, and balance yourself on the ball of your right foot.
  • Lift your right heel as high as you can. Pause, then lower and repeat.
  • Complete all reps and sets for one leg, then switch.

The important thing with this exercise is to pay attention to the speed when you perform it.

The calves are attached to the Achilles tendon, one of the largest and most powerful tendons in the body; due to the nature of its structure, the Achilles can act like a giant rubber band, both storing and transferring energy in the form of momentum very quickly.

While this is great for athletics, in terms of building big calves, it’s detrimental — rather than force the muscle to lift the weight, the tendon can do a lot of work. To mitigate this, make sure you pause for a full 5 seconds at both the top and the bottom of the rep. You’ll need to lighten the weight, but it’s totally worth it.


The Workout:

A1) Kettlebell Swings – 5×8

A2) Walking Lunges – 5×10-12 per leg

Set Up: Perform A1 and A2 alternately, with minimal rest in between. Use a weight that challenges you, but still allow you to complete all reps. Perform a total of 5 sets for each exercise, then rest 2 minutes and proceed to B.

B) Single Leg Calf Raise – 4×12 per leg

Set Up: Perform 12 calf raises for your dominant leg, then immediately switch to your other leg. Switch back and forth with minimal rest until you’ve completed 4 sets with each leg. Remember to pause at the top and bottom of each rep for at least 5 seconds.

And there you have it.

Armed with these three moves and this quick workout, you’ll be able to burn fat, add some muscle to all the right places, and even build some lower body strength.

In short, you now have every you need to ensure you can bring your A-game every time you rock a pair of shorts and can flash some leg without shame, all summer long.

About the Author

John Romaniello is a level 70 orc wizard who spends his days lifting heavy shit and his nights fighting crime. When not doing that, he serves as the Chief Bro King of the Roman Empire and Executive Editor here on RFS. You can read his articles here, and rants on Facebook.

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