The legs contain some of the body’s strongest muscles, and it’s smart to incorporate leg exercises into any workout routine. If you’re just getting started with exercising, learning these skills at a weight loss camp can help you perfect the moves, but all of the following exercises can be done at home.
Squats are perhaps the perfect exercise for the legs. They work the quadriceps, the hamstrings, the glutes and the muscles in the calves. Proper form is essential, though. If you don’t have a mirror or a personal trainer to help you attain that form, try putting a chair behind you and move like you’re going to sit in the chair, but stop just before sitting. The traditional foot position for squats is shoulder-width apart, but you can work slightly different muscles by changing the position of your legs.
Plies aren’t only for ballet dancers. They are an ideal exercise for building the thing muscles. Plies help to exercise the muscles in the inner thigh and the calves. Hold on to a chair to help keep your balance as you bend down, and try to keep your feet flat on the floor for as long as possible before going on your toes. To properly execute the move, your entire leg should be “turned out” by rotating it from the hip.
A classic move from calisthenics videos from the 80s, traditional leg lifts still have what it takes to sculpt your legs. Whether you’re lying on your side on the floor or doing the move while standing, leg lifts work your abductor and adductor muscles — the inside and outside of your thighs. For a double workout, create resistance both when lifting the leg and pushing it down.
If you’re trying to lose weight and keep your heart healthy, you’ll need to do cardiovascular exercises as well. Fortunately, most cardio exercises also provide your legs with a good workout. Walking, running, stair climbing and the elliptical machine will all work on building your leg muscles. Boost the challenge by increasing the incline or the resistance whenever you can.
Perhaps the best thing about these leg exercises is that they’re easy to perform almost anywhere. If you don’t have a large chunk of time to dedicate to exercise, simply do a few at a time whenever you can. For example, try doing them during the commercials of your favorite shows.