Not all of us share the same dedication and love for exercise, and many do find it too hard to make it a habit. Yet, as soon as you do, exercise offers a myriad of benefits and a “feel good” feeling that becomes an addiction.
Most people usually focus on strengthening and toning the upper body part and the abdominal area, but having strong, flexible, and toned legs is something you should aim at too.
Strong legs look amazing and boost the endurance that is much-needed during the day of working and running errands. Moreover, leg exercises prevent injuries and play a huge role in weight loss.
If you are a beginner, we recommend you to compile a short workout set out of the following exercises, and try them out. They take only a few minutes before bedtime but offer fantastic effects.
Here is how to get started:
High knee exercises
Start with this exercise to tone the buttocks, calves, and core, improve your balance, burn calories, and boost metabolism.
Stand with the legs about shoulder-width apart, and raise one leg. Bring the knee up towards the chest, hold for a few seconds, and lower it to the floor.
Then, repeat with the second leg, and move back and forth between the right and left side. While trying to maintain the balance on the standing leg, you will tone its calf, quadriceps, hamstrings and buttock muscles.
This move will tone the inner- and outer-thigh muscles in a short time.
Start standing with the hands on the hips, the heels pressed together, while the toes should be rotated out to the sides. Then, step the left foot out into a deep “plie”: bend the knees out over the toes, lowering the body straight down to the floor.
The back should remain straight. Then, rise up out of the plie, and slide the left heel back in towards the right, straightening the legs. Return to the starting position, and repeat with the other leg.
This exercise will activate the gluteal muscles and tone the leg muscles. You should get the butt lower than their knees while keeping the feet flat on the ground. It has been found to be great for the knees, strengthen ligaments, and to promote good flexibility at the ankles and hips which soothes back pain.
Plank to Stand Up
This exercise is not too easy, but it will significantly boost the flexibility in the hamstrings and hips and tone the legs, back, and core.
Start in a full plank position, and step the right foot in between the hands. Bend the knee in order to make the right thigh parallel to the floor, and push the body weight into the right foot while slowly standing up out of the lunge.
Lean forward with the upper body, and tap the left foot on the floor behind you. Bend the right knee and lunge back down to the floor. Put the hands flat on the sides of the foot, and step the right leg back to return to the initial position. Repeat with the other leg.
Lateral leg raises
This exercise targets multiple muscle groups and offers numerous functional advantages.
Lie on the side, from the hip to the ankle, resting on your elbow, and raise one leg, while keeping the core muscles tight. Lower it in a controlled manner, and repeat on the other side.
Prone Hamstring Curl
This exercise will target the hamstrings and the hard-to-reach area where the glutes and hamstrings meet. Start lying face down on the ground, with the elbows bent, and the hands stacked under the forehead.
Extend the legs straight out behind you, point the toes and squeeze the heels. Then, press the shoulders down and raise the legs off the ground a bit. Bend the knees, and curl the heels in towards the body. Slowly extend the legs back out straight.
Inner thigh lifts
They can easily tighten and strengthen the inner-thigh muscles.
Start in a lying position, on the side, lengthening the bottom leg and crossing the top leg over it. Rest on the top knee or the top of the foot on the floor, while keeping the torso steady. Concentrate on working the inner thigh while not moving the back.
Scissor Power Switch
This exercise will help you burn more calories while targeting the power (fast-twitch) muscle fibers in the legs.
Start standing with the right foot forward. Lower into a runner’s lunge, reach the left arm towards the foot and stretch the right arm behind you. Push off the floor with both feet, jumping straight up, scissoring legs midair, and land back into a runner’s lunge with the other leg forward.