Did someone say leg day?
Want strong-toned legs that don’t quit? Of course you do. And this means working up a sweat when it comes to #legday. Creating a powerful lower body not only looks great, it helps to build functional fitness that makes everyday life easier. From running up those stairs at work to lifting a big basket of laundry – your legs are always working hard. But despite this, many people neglect the muscles that quite literally carry them around. Focusing instead on abs, biceps, or booty because they think that these are the areas that matter the most. The truth is that to be truly strong and fit you need to look after your whole body – not just the bits that Instagram tells you to hit.
The good news is that it’s easy to do a leg workout anywhere. And these are five leg exercises that you should add to your greatest hits list.
Plié Squat Calf Raises
Squats aren’t just great for your bum, they offer a brilliant leg workout and this new twist on an old classic is a great addition to your routine. Assume a wide squat position (think sumo squat) and turn your toes out with your hands on your hips or in front of your chest. Then lift your heels off the ground and hold for a few seconds. Try and complete 10 repetitions – you will really feel this one in your calves.
High Knee Toe Taps
You’re going to need a box or a chair for this one – essentially a flat surface that comes to just above your knees. Now, stand with your hand on your hips, keeping your back and chest straight. Raise your legs one at a time, tapping your toe on the surface before quickly alternating with the other leg. You will get faster as you build strength in your legs.
This may be a simple exercise but targeting the glutes, quadriceps, and hamstrings it offers a lot of bang for your buck. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and then take a big step to your left. Bend your left knee and push your bum backwards. Squeeze your core as you move before returning to the centre and repeating on the opposite side. Try and do 7 per side to start with.
Inner Thigh Leg Raises
Strengthen the often hard-to-reach inner thigh (adductor) muscles with this floor exercise. Lie on a mat on your side with your legs out straight and feet stacked. Cross your top leg over your bottom leg (this feels a little weird but you will get used to it) and put this foot flat on the ground in front of your bottom knee. Now squeeze your core as you lift the bottom leg slowly up off the ground and hold for a couple of seconds. Complete ten reps and repeat on the opposite side.
This is a more advanced movement, but as you build in strength and confidence, it is definitely worth adding to your repertoire. Start standing up tall with your feet together. Now lift your right foot off the ground, extending it forward and keeping your foot in a natural position. Bend the left knee and sit back into a squat, extending and straightening your right leg as you go. If you get that far without falling over (and that’s no mean feat), return to the starting position and repeat on the opposite side. This movement is really effective and definitely worth the practice. Just aim to get a little closer each time.
You should try and schedule in a leg day at least once a week and don’t be surprised if you feel sore after your first few sessions. Keep things achievable but challenging and you will soon see great results. I’ll be back in your inbox next week with some more fitness tips and tricks, until then, stay amazing.