Exercises For Legs

Submitted by Kevin Pederson on February 17, 2012

Most people concentrate their workout on the upper body since it shows noticeable results. In reality, if you focus on exercises for legs, the leg muscles, which include the thighs, glutes, hamstrings, and heel, respond fastest to training.

Here are a few exercises to sculpt lean, long legs:


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Effective Lower Body Workouts

  • Cardio:
    • Benefit: Strengthens and builds muscle. It is inexpensive and offers a total body workout
    • Posture: A simple cardio routine, which includes brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or jumping rope will build leg muscle strength and burn more calories, making these great exercises for the legs. Incorporate them into your regular workout to firm up the legs.

      Advance to lunges, raises, and extensions as your leg muscles shape up and rise to more challenging workouts
    • Tip: Play out your cardio and weight training routine on separate days to avoid exhaustion and give the leg muscles a chance to recover after weight training
  • Lunges:
    • Benefit: This single move workout flexes every muscle in the leg, making it one of the most effective of all exercises for the legs
    • Posture: Stand with your feet, shoulder width apart. Take one step forward with your right foot. Your hands should be placed on your hips for balance. Lower your body straight down until your back leg forms a right angle at the knee. Raise yourself back up slowly using your leg muscles. Resume position and step forward with the left foot. Increase or decrease the distance of the lunge according to your comfort
    • Tip: While lunges are a great exercise for legs, they are best avoided if you have a bad knee. The pressure on the knee as you perform the lunge can incapacitate it and will do more damage than good
  • Heel Raises:
    • Benefit: To avoid putting pressure on the knees, try heel raises as a part of your workout. Simple in practice, they are an excellent exercise for the legs as they concentrate on the calf muscles. The calf muscles also respond quickly to training. Besides, you can practice heel raises anywhere
    • Posture: Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width apart. Place your hands on the hips for balance. Raise your body onto your tiptoes and hold it for few seconds. Lower back slowly
    • Tip: Avoid fast or jerky movements. Since the small of your heel supports the entire body weight, you do not want to injure or fracture it
  • Yoga:
    • Benefit: Improves balance, flexibility and core strength. In short, a total body workout
    • Postures: Yoga poses like the Adho Mukha Svanasana or Downward Dog, Tadasana or the Mountain Pose, and Utkatasana or the Awkward Chair require strong legs to maintain balance. Practicing them will improve leg strength and build muscle
    • Tip: Train with a qualified instructor and ensure that you master the beginner poses before you perform the more difficult advanced poses

As with all workouts, ensure that you are in good physical condition to perform the exercises and let your instructor know if you face any pain or discomfort. Do not try and concentrate solely on exercises for legs, but concentrate on a full body workout.

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