Here are five great exercises you can do anywhere, anytime and get great results. They'll work just about every part of your legs, and you don't even need any extra equipment - just your own body weight. Aim to do this leg workout two to three times a week. Do one of these exercises or do them all. You'll like the way your legs will feel and love the way they look after a few weeks.
Start by standing with your feet about hip-width apart. Step one foot out about two to three feet in front of you (the longer your legs, the further you step out). Bending your front knee, and dropping your back knee closer to the ground, go into a lunge position. Keep your back straight and don’t let your front knee extend beyond your toes. Return to a standing position. Alternate legs, or repeat continuously on the same leg.
Good Results: 3 sets of 10 - 15 on each leg
Great Results: 3 sets of 20 on each leg
This exercise is great at strengthening the inner and outer thighs. Begin standing in a modified plié position, with heels about hip-width apart, toes point out at about 45-degree-angle. Drop down deep into a squatting position while maintaining foot position. Make sure your knees stay out over your toes (think of pushing your knees out). Concentrate on squeezing your bottom as you come to starting position.
Good Results: 3 sets of 20 - 30
Great Results: 3 sets of 40 - 50
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, toes pointed forward and arms folded out in front of you. From this position, bend knees and come into a squat position with your thighs as close to parallel with the ground as possible. Think of sitting into a chair as you come down – keeping your hands back straight. Just as you come down into this position, jump up off the ground about two to three inches (not too high - this will get tough!). Land and go right back into it.
Good Results: 3 sets of 20
Great Results: 3 sets of 30
The hips are often a neglected part of the body that can make the legs look great. When you think of working your hips, think of working the sides of your bottom. Now doesn't that sound like something we'd all like to manage a little better? Lateral jumps, or jumping side to side, are a really great way to keep the joints of the hips mobile while strengthening the muscles that surround them. Simply start in an athletic stance - feet about hip-width apart, knees bent - and spring off your right foot, jumping to your left side and landing on your left foot. As soon as you land, spring off your left foot to your right side, landing on your right foot. If you're new to this exercise, start with smaller jumps, getting wider as you get the hang of it.
Good Results: 3 sets of 20 jumps
Great Results: 3 sets of 30 jumps
This is probably the simplest exercise (and most self-descriptive) you can do. Because the focus is on the smaller muscles in the calves, save this exercise for last. It's always a good idea to work from the biggest muscles to smallest, as all those small muscles support the work you do through the exercises. You can do this as a single or double leg exercise. In my opinion, it's more effective if you do it with just one leg as you'll isolate all the muscles in that leg, and the muscles from the opposite leg won't be able to take over when you start becoming fatigued. Stand on a step, either balancing on one foot with your heel hanging off, or both feet with your heels hanging off. Standing on the edge of a step with your heels hanging off. Simply raise your heel up and let it drop down. You'll feel this work the back part of your calf right away.
Good Results: 3 sets of 20 on each leg
Great Results: 3 sets of 30 on each leg
Want more tips like this? Traci D Mitchell is a healthy living and fitness expert. Follow Traci on Facebook. She’d love to see you there! Interested in working with Traci? She works privately with clients specializes in nutrition coaching and weight loss as well as functional fitness and personal training. All sessions are done via Skype or telephone if outside of Chicago. For more information, contact Traci here.
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