Fit Minute: Getting a leg up with Marblehead Fitness Center

St. John’s Prep sophomore and football player Ryan Kaye demonstrates a dumbbell split squat. Photo by Ryan Vermette

As we saw with the storm that took place on Monday, winter weather can put a halt on exercise plans if you were going to the gym, or just wanted to walk outside. However, if you are still looking to get a quick workout from the comfort of your own home, Luke Behn from Marblehead Fitness Center has the perfect exercise to build up your leg strength: split squats. 

For this exercise, Behn had one of his athletes, St. John’s Prep sophomore and football player Ryan Kaye demonstrate a dumbbell split squat. 

Holding the dumbbell vertically and standing with his left foot slightly bent in front of him, and his right foot stretched backwards with the ball of his foot touching the turf, Kaye began the exercise while Behn talked about the proper form for a split squat.

“He wants his knee to go directly over his ankle, keep his shoulders back, abs tight, and loading the weight in the front,” said Behn.

Squats are a classic, yet great way to build up leg strength, and Behn says by doing split squats, the goal is to work the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and stability. 

Kaye, who is a defensive tackle at the Prep, says while simple, it works a lot of your muscle groups.

“It’s a simple exercise but you can feel it everywhere, so it helps a lot,” Kaye said.”

Though Kaye demonstrated a barbell split squat, Behn notes that you can most certainly modify the exercise by lowering the dumbbell weight or simply just doing bodyweight squats, and you can even switch up your stance.

“There’s a million variations, you can do it bodyweight style, you can do it where it’s not stationary, there’s many variables that you can put into that.” 

The benefits to having strong legs aren’t just useful for football players like Kaye, they can be extremely helpful for people completing everyday tasks, and can benefit people in any age range.

“You can use it to build size and to build strength, or to just be able to repeat activities of daily living,” he said. “It can go anyone from a high school athlete up to someone in their 70s or 80s just for fall prevention and things like that.”

It may be cold outside, but doing these squats, in any variation you choose, will definitely make you feel the burn and help to build up that leg strength for whatever daily activities await.