Are you self-conscious about your legs? Do you dread the thought of wearing shorts-let alone a swimsuit?
Maybe you think your calves are too skinny or you hate that your thighs rub together and your buns jiggle when you walk.
Whatever you don’t like about your legs, it isn’t going to fix itself. So how can you fix it? Include strength training for your lower body in your regular routine.
To sculpt and tone your legs, try the following five exercises two to three times a week and see the difference they make. You’ll be showing off those legs in no time.
Arguably the best leg exercise, the lunge works pretty much every leg muscle as well as your buttocks. There are many variations to the simple lunge, but to do the basic lunge, stand up straight and tighten your core.
Step forward several feet with your right foot, landing heel first. Bend your right and left leg down until both legs are bent at 90 degrees (never more) and your left knee is about an inch above the floor. Make sure your knee doesn’t extend further than your toes. Keep your body upright and work to keep your balance by not wobbling from side to side. Lift your body up and bring your hips forward until you’re standing straight again. Then repeat, lunging forward with your left foot.
Perhaps the second-best full-leg workout is the squat. This powerhouse of an exercise works your glutes, hips and thighs all in one shot.
Here’s how to do a beginner’s squat. Stand between two chairs (if needed for balance). Place your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, chest up, and core tight, squat down like you’re going to sit in a chair. Bend at the knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Hold this position, and then stand back up. Repeat without resting.
#3: The Mountain Climber
This leg exercise mimics the movement of climbing a steep mountain. The faster you climb (move your legs) the more of a cardio workout you’ll get as well.
Get in a push-up position: hands and toes on the floor holding up your body. Holding in your abs, lift your right foot, bringing your right knee toward your chest. Tap the floor with your right foot then extend your leg back to starting position. Then lift your left leg, bring your left knee up toward your chest and tap the floor. Return to starting position. Repeat right, left, right, and left for 20 repetitions.
Step-ups are great because they mimic movements you perform on a daily basis. This exercise works your legs and gets your heart pumping. When you do this exercise you can hold a dumbbell in each hand to increase resistance. In addition, you’ll need some sort of step. This could be a bottom stair, sturdy box, or low stable chair.
Step up with your right foot, and then bring your left foot up. Step back down so both feet are on the floor. Then repeat, stepping up first with your left foot. Continue doing this 20 times.
A little more complicated but worth the effort, the carving curtsy works the abs, buttocks, and legs (including your inner thighs).
To do the carving curtsy, stand up straight with your arms bent and hands by your chest. Lunge back and to the right with your left leg so your left foot lands behind your right foot and to the right of your body. Bend both knees to a 90-degree angle like you’re performing a curtsy.
Swing your left arm forward and up and your right arm back by your side. Then stand up straight, lifting your left knee out to the side, and tap your left knee with your left hand. Do 20 reps on each leg, and then switch sides.
A solid strength training routine will tone your legs, lift your buns, strengthen your core, and will result in healthy weight loss.