Workouts that are good for overall conditioning will tone your legs, but if you want to focus specific muscle groups there are great exercises to help you do it. You’ll be ready for shorts and swimsuit weather before you know it. As your legs get into condition, you should increase the intensity or number of repetitions to get the fastest results.
What exercises to avoid and why that donut jumps out of your hand and directly onto your thigh.
When women store fat, it’s normally on the thigh and buttocks area. Sadly, when they lose it, it’s also the last place they lose fat. Steer clear of the leg extension and leg press machine if you don’t know how to adjust them for your body size or know the right amount of weight to use. Without proper instruction, they can cause injury. There machines are effective, but in untrained hands, potentially harmful.
What to use in place of the leg extension and leg press machines.
Try the body weight exercise, the single leg squat instead. Lift one foot off the ground or with the toe barely touching if you need more balance and do a squat to replace the leg press. Then do the other side. You’ll get great results without the need for equipment. One and a half squats—doing a full squat, followed by only squatting half way, can substitute for a leg extension machine. You don’t need any machinery, just motivation and you can do them anywhere. You’ll be working the quadriceps—the front of the thigh, the soleus and gastrocnemius—the calves, the glutes, hamstrings and hip adductors.
Step ups are great for the leg muscles and can be adjusted for all levels of fitness.
One of the simplest exercises to do is the step up. It’s just as the name sounds, you step up onto a platform that’s anywhere between the height half way up the shin, to one that’s high enough to make your thigh parallel to the floor when the foot is on the platform. The higher the platform, the more challenging it can be. If you want an even bigger challenge, hold weights in your hand while doing the exercise.
- Remember, there are no spot exercises that take off fat just from the leg area. To reduce the amount of fat from the legs, you have to have a program for overall weight loss.
- There are a number of different types of lunges that help tone the leg muscles. You can do them to the front, back and side. The walking lunge is one of my favorite leg toners.
- Doing combinations like the weighted step ups followed by Romanian deadlifts use a push, then pull action. It lets the quads rest while it trains the hamstrings.
- When you first start toning, learn the basics and learn them well. As you get more proficient, start switching your routine to ensure you avoid plateauing and work all muscles.