Did you know that your legs have some of the biggest muscle groups in the body? It’s true! Your thighs, hips, quads, hamstrings, and calves make up the lower half of your body. Leg strengthening exercises are essential for women because they build muscle and endurance while also burning more calories (bigger muscles mean more calorie burn!). Not only do leg exercises give you shapely legs, but they also enhance your range of motion and reduce your risk of injury.
So, whether you’re looking to tone up your thighs or increase your range of motion, working out your lower half is non-negotiable. Keep reading to learn the most effective leg exercises for women.
This one will give your legs a good burn and get your heart pumping too! Bring your knees up to waist level and slowly land on the balls of your feet. Alternate legs and pump your arms for 60 seconds to get your heart rate up. High knees will give you the feeling of running in place, creating a fast-paced exercise that’s going to loosen your entire body and strengthen your leg muscles. High knees are also great for endurance training, so keep going!
Talk about feeling the burn…I love this one! This move sculpts the thighs, calves, and even your lower abdomen. Stand with your back against the wall and your feet about hip-width apart. Bend your knees and keep your thighs parallel to the floor so that you look like you’re sitting in a chair. Push your back firmly against the wall to help keep your balance and stability. Try to hold this position for 45 seconds for each rep.
Lie on your back with your arms by your side. Bend your knees while keeping your feet on the floor. Raise one leg in the air and lift your hips as high off the ground as you can and hold for 30 seconds. Make sure your neck is supported and not being strained when you lift your hips up towards the sky. Lower your hips back down to starting position and switch legs. Repeat with the other leg. You’ll start to feel the burn soon.
Lean forward from a standing position and keep your back flat. Jump to the right and bring your left foot behind you and your left arm in front of you. Reverse the movement by jumping to the left and bringing your right foot behind you and your right arm in front of you. Repeat this sequence for 45 seconds and you will feel your heart rate skyrocket and your legs burn. Not to mention, this exercise is so much fun! You’ll feel like you’re ice skating or rollerblading without having to worry about slipping on those skates.
Start in a standing position holding a pair of dumbbells (optional). Step forward so that you are in a split stance with one leg in front of you and the other behind you. Lower your body down until your front knee reaches a 90-degree angle. Exhale and stand back up to the starting position.
Another great variation of the basic lunge that’s a bit easier on the knees is the backwards lunge. Stand with your feet together and instead of stepping forward, step one foot behind you and lunge back, distributing the weight of your body on your back leg and glutes. Give it a shot and see how much better your knees feel!
If you’re looking to tone your legs, increase your leg strength, or just feel more active, try doing a few sets of each of these exercises on your next fitness day. You’re going to really be able to feel the difference in your body in no time. These are just some of my favorite exercises for women to work their legs, and there are so many more out there!
If you want to see how I can help you reach your fitness goals, contact me!