Are you giving your legs the love they deserve? Think twice before skimping on stilt strengthening exercises at your next sweat session. A tree is only as strong as its roots and trunk. Similarly, the human body requires brawny muscular beams to protect our skeletal structure from instability related injuries.

Exercises that encourage lean legs dramatically boost our metabolisms, increases endurance and enhances core strength. Get a leg up on your fitness with the following shank strengthening exercises.

Beginner.  If you are a resistance training rookie, focus on stability first. Form always comes before function, therefore it is important to practice the proper posture with each pose to prevent yourself from weekly physical therapy sessions for the next three months relearning the fundamentals of how to touch your toes. The heel should always bear the brunt of your body weight when performing leg exercises. A simple rule of thumb to follow - carrying your weight in the heels works posterior muscles, while pressure on the balls of the foot work the anterior part of leg. Most squatting related injuries are a result of too much sheer force on the knee joint, which often is caused by shifting weight to the front of the foot rather than the hind when lifting weights.

15 Squats10 Lunges per leg10 Reverse lunges per leg

{Repeat 3x}

Intermediate.  Now that you have mastered your form, advance to the next level by adding higher repetitions and speed to each exercise. Weak leg muscles are injury prone muscles. The knee and hip joints are responsible for carrying the burden of your day, and as a result tend to fall victim to injury. It is for this reason that it is important to focus on exercises that aid in strengthening the muscles surrounding the knee, hip and ankle joints, such as lunges and squats.

60 seconds of jump squats

10 lunge leg lifts per leg

10 weighted single leg stands per leg

{Repeat 3x}

Advanced.  Most men and women prefer exercises that sculpt showier muscles such as the arms, abs and back. However, a disproportionately light bulb shaped physique and chicken legs are far from fetching when you work strictly upper body muscles. Additionally, multi-joint compound exercises like squats and lunges burn more calories than working the upper body alone. To prevent a top heavy body, start incorporating lower leg exercises that amplify your assets, plump your rump, torch calories and will take you from Jennifer Slowpez to Lopez in no time.

8-10 reverse lunge bar pull-ins per leg

15 weighted squats

15 weighted squat pull-ins

{Repeat 3x}

Stretch your legs by trying new, challenging exercises.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.

Earn it.

Read more Sports Doc for Sports Medicine and Fitness.