You want to lose weight and tone your body, but you likely need more time. Everyone is extremely busy these days, but you must make time for the things that keep you healthy. Leg exercises should be essential to your routine because your legs are important and take you to many places.
You can boost your metabolism, enhance your immunity, and elevate your mood when you work out frequently. Since the legs are the largest muscle group in your body, it’s only fitting that you give them proper attention. Another benefit of working your legs is that it will help burn fat quicker because working such a large group benefits your entire system.
Harvard University Health warns that your muscle mass begins to decline by age 25, so you need to help your system by working out more. Are you giving your legs the attention they deserve?
Simple Leg Exercises for Strengthening
Oh, the places your legs will carry you in life. It’s only natural that you want them to be stronger than ever. Here are ten simple exercises to help melt fat and strengthen your leg muscles.
1. Glute Bridge Exercise
This exercise will hit many areas, including the lower back, glutes, and hamstrings. It would help if you had a yoga mat. Here’s how:
Start by lying down on your back.
Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Bring your knees up and place your feet flat on the floor.
Next, you want to tilt your pelvis. To do this, rotate your hips backward and ensure your hips are touching the ground. If you’re doing this right, you can place your fingers onto your sides and feel the core muscles engaging.
Once your pelvis is tilted, squeeze your glutenous maximus muscle hard. Push until your core lifts off the mat and is pointed toward the ceiling.
Hold this stance for five seconds and return to the starting position on the mat.
Release the pelvic tilt and then reset it. For each rep, you need to release and reset that pelvic tilt.
2. Bulgarian Split Squat
When it comes to strengthening those legs, the squats reign supreme. These leg exercises engage many muscles, and you’ll immediately feel the burn of a good workout. It helps to add dumbbells for resistance. Here’s how:
Start by putting one knee on the ground and elevating the foot onto a stable surface.
Move your hips until the front of your body makes a 180-degree angle with your core stabilized.
Bring the other foot back so that it forms a 90-degree angle.
Put your arms down straight at your side and lean your body forward.
Your body should be in the proper position when your hands are at the side of your foot. You should feel a burn in your leg muscles as they get stronger.
If appropriately done, ninty percent of your weight will rest on the foot placed on the ground.
3. Landmine Goblet Squat
These leg exercises can strengthen the quadriceps, femoris, and gluteus maximus muscles. There’s a big difference in the landmine squat from a traditional one as the center of gravity is moving towards the weights, so there’s stability and support. It would help if you had a barbell with an appropriate weight you can handle. Here’s how:
Set your barbell so that the weights are on one side only. It shouldn’t be more than you can comfortably lift.
Stand straight, holding the dumbbell in your hand.
Go into a squat, bringing the dumbbell down with you into this stance.
Now, bring yourself back to the standing position, use the dumbbell and push against it for stability.
The leg exercises here will give you an incredible workout, but this is also very taxing on the arms and shoulders. The key is not to put more weight on the bar than you can safely handle.
4. Curtsey Lunge
This exercise goes by two names: the curtsey and drop lunge. It’s widespread in Tai Chi and among athletes. It’s helpful to make two 18-inch boxes on the floor with tape to help with your positioning. Here’s how:
Start standing with your hands in front of you like you’re praying.
Make sure you stand at the top of the boxes with your feet close to the inner edges.
Your legs should be a shoulder’s width apart.
Cross one leg behind you and do a curtsey.
Now, return to the center position and curtsey with the other leg.
You can add some resistance to this move by holding dumbbells as you move. Strive to do five reps on each side. While it doesn’t seem like you’re doing much, you will feel the muscles burning, so you know they’re getting stronger.
5. Leg Lifts
There are a couple of variations of leg lifts, but for this exercise, the position will be on your back. Here’s how:
Start by lying flat on your back on a yoga mat.
Place your legs together and ensure your feet are touching.
Lift your legs until they’re in the upward position and your body makes a 90-degree angle. Make sure your hips don’t leave the mat.
Hold the stance for 3-5 seconds and bring your legs back to the ground.
You can do other variations by turning on your sides, lifting one leg into a scissoring position, and lowering it back to the floor.
6. Nordic Hamstring Curl
These leg exercises will train your hamstrings, and they’ll be stronger in no time. It’s best done with a partner. Here’s how:
Place your knees on a pillow for support and get into a tall kneeling stance.
Have your partner hold onto the backs of your legs near your feet. You need a stronger person to do this, as they will fight against your resistance.
Now, push your body forward while your partner holds firmly to your legs. Ultimately, your goal is to reach the ground in a push-up position.
If done correctly, it helps strengthen your calf muscles and the glutes, but the hamstring is the most beneficial muscle in this maneuver.
7. Side Lunge
If you want to feel the burn and strengthening power in your legs, this Pilates move is often used with great success. Here’s how:
Stand in the middle of your mat with your hands together and roll your shoulders backward.
Sweep your leg to one side. Make sure your toes are pointing forward.
Now, lunge your body by shifting your weight towards the side where you swept your leg.
If done correctly, you will feel the burn on the opposite side as it stretches during these leg exercises.
Using the straight leg, lift up and return to the starting position.
Now, do the other side. Strive to do 3-5 repetitions on each side.
8. Fire Hydrants or Crossover Extensions
Leg exercises that work the glutes and the legs are always beneficial. Stronger, firmer legs and buttocks can be achieved with maneuvers such as this. Here’s how:
Start at a tabletop position on all fours. The hands should be aligned with the hips underneath the shoulders and the knees.
Engage your core and keep your chin tucked. Now, place your feet till they’re resting on the tiptoes.
You want to raise one leg, like a dog peeing on a fire hydrant. Hold this stance for 30 seconds.
Now, lower that leg and engage the other one.
Strive to do 5-10 repetitions on each side.
According to Dr. Nicholas A. Cooper from The University of Iowa, working the series of glute medius muscles can help with hip issues, which is directly related to how well your leg functions. Additionally, it can improve back function too. So, using these leg exercises, you’ll target some essential areas.
9. Hip Circles
This is a simple exercise that will help strengthen your legs and make your core stronger. You don’t need any equipment. Here’s how:
Start in the standing position with your hands on your hips.
Next, move your hips around in a circular motion going clockwise.
Now, switch and rotate your hips, going counterclockwise.
If you need some more resistance, add some barbells to your hands.
10. Pendulum Lunge
In this exercise, you need a strong core, glutes, and quads to do this properly. Your posture is also essential. If you have balance issues, try doing this next to a wall you can grab for support. Here’s
Start by standing beside the wall with your hands at your side.
Lift your right leg and lunge forward.
Now, bring your knee to the floor while keeping your core straight as you inhale.
Exhale as you come up and back to the standing position.
Now, inhale, and take the same leg back into a lunge.
Again, touch the knee to the floor.
Bring yourself back to the starting position.
Strive to do five reps on each side.
Make sure your knee is at a 90-degree angle, and for more resistance, add some dumbbells.