If any of you reading this article have built your own home, you know a solid foundation makes all the difference in the world. The same holds true when working on your body. Isn’t it funny to see a person at the gym with a great upper body and puny legs. For some reason, men and women alike seem to avoid working on their legs. Believe me when I say this, training legs is a chore! Being a personal trainer, I usually put my clients through a strenuous leg workout first, so they can experience what it feels like to have sore quads, hamstrings and calves. The women I train always want to firm up their butts ( gluteus maximus) so showing them how to do lunges and squats is important. Their primary function is to extend your legs from your hips when your leg is bent. The largest muscles in your legs are called quadriceps, or quads. These are the muscles that form the entire front part of your leg. They are comprised of four muscles that work to straighten your lower leg from a bent position. Leg extensions, squats and presses are the best movements to build powerful quads. Opposite the quadriceps are your hamstrings, which cover the entire posterior aspect of your upper leg. The hamstrings are actually three muscles that work in concert to perform two actions: to extend your leg from the hip when your leg is straight, and to bend your lower leg from the straight position. Lying leg curls and stiff-legged dead lifts are the best exercises to perform when training your hamstrings. Finally, there are your calves. This muscle group is located in the back of your leg, below the knees. One of them is called the gastrocnemius. This diamond shaped muscle works to push you up on your toes. The other muscle, the soleus, is deeper and comes into play when your knees are bent and you need to lift your heel. The third muscle is called the tibialis anterior, which is located on your shin in the front of your leg. Exercises to build great calves include seated calf raises and calf presses on the leg-press machine. Strong leg muscles are the key to injury prevention in sports from cycling to running. Strong legs also protect your hips, knees, and ankle joints from a lifetime of stress from walking, running, jumping and climbing stairs. Squats and lunges are the best exercises to help build and maintain strong, good-looking legs.