Working on your legs can improve your stamina, shape and overall fitness. If you don’t work on your lower body as well – you won’t see the kind of ‘whole body’ benefits that you CAN achieve and the body shape and won’t be in proportion. Great leg and butt exercises are a must. Here are my current top 10 leg exercises:
1. Step Calf Raises
This exercise is great for toning the calf muscles – you’ll need a step and some dumbbells. Stand on the step and position your feet so that the heels are slightly off the edge. Hold the dumbbells to the side and push up on to your toes.
Stand holding dumbbells at your sides with your feet about a hip width apart. Step forward with one foot – when the foot hits the floor bend it and lean forward so that your other leg bends towards the floor.
3. One Legged Squats
Stand sideways next to a wall and place the palm of your hand on the wall just under the level of your shoulder. Extend your arm and position your body so you feel comfortable – you’ll use the wall for balance and support. Make sure that the foot that isn’t next to the wall is at a 45 degree angle and bend the leg nearest the wall back. Keep upright and lower your body until the knee that isn’t bearing your weight is close to the floor then push back up again.
4. Hamstring Bridges
Lie down flat on your back. Keep one foot on the ground and lift the other one up and hold it there. By using your hamstrings in your leg you can lift your body and then lower it back down again.
Using either dumbbells or a barbell, stand with your feet a shoulder width apart and lower yourself down until your knees are fully bent at a 45 degree angle and you are squatting. Push up until you are upright again.
6. Dumbbell Step Ups
Take your dumbbells and use one leg to step up on the step. Then step up with the other leg and step down again.
7. Dumbbell Plie
Squat down with your legs around a shoulder width apart. Hold your dumbbells in front of you with the palms of your hands facing inwards. Move into a standing position whilst opening your arms in a T position.
8. Leg Presses
Sit on a leg press machine – your feet should be around a shoulder width apart. Without altering the position of your hips bend the knees to a 45 degree angle while lowering the weight, then push it back up, extending and straightening the legs.
9. One Legged Press with Exercise Ball
Sit on your exercise ball and walk/roll forward until your knees are bent. Straighten out one leg, keeping the other one bent. Use the heel of the bent leg to push up on the exercise ball and push down on the heel of the extended leg as it drags in the movement.
10. Leg Circles with Exercise Band
Lie flat on the ground with one knee bent and the foot placed flat on the floor. Then extend the other leg straight up toward the ceiling. The band should be wrapped round the foot that is pointing upwards. You need to hold both ends of the band in the hand on the side of the leg that points up – keeping your leg straight, start to make circles with your leg at the hip in a counter-clockwise direction. Reverse and switch legs.