Target your legs: Want to strengthen all the muscles of your legs? Here’s how to get started.
Warm up: It’s important to warm-up before you get into your exercises. Get your blood pumping with a brisk walk before you start.
Reps: Start out easy with eight to 10 repetitions of each exercise, and gradually increase to 12 or create a circuit of all six exercises by doing them one after another in single sets for up to one minute each. Repeat the circuit up to three times and do it two to four times a week for best results.
1. Step lunges
Works: Calf and thigh muscles
Equipment: A step or stair
How-to: Keep your back straight as you take a big step forward onto the step. Make sure your whole foot is on the step and it’s pointing straight ahead. Lunge down, keeping your front knee above your ankle and your back knee hovering just above the floor. Push up through your front heel to return to the starting position. Alternate legs after each rep.
2. Inner thigh lift
Works: Inner thigh muscles
Equipment: A mat or towel
How-to: Lie on your side with your bottom leg extended straight, and your top knee bent and resting on the floor in front of you. Support your upper body on your forearm. Flex the foot of the extended leg and lift the leg a few inches off the floor. Hold before you slowly lower the leg back down, but avoid resting on the floor in between each lift.
3. Outer thigh lift
Works: Outer thigh muscles
Equipment: A mat or towel
How-to: Lie on your side with your bottom knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your top leg extended straight. Support your upper body on your forearm. Flex the foot of the extended leg and lift the leg off the ground to hip height. Hold before you slowly lower the leg back down, but avoid resting on the floor in between each lift.
4. Narrow squats
Works: Bottom and legs
How-to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and parallel. Bend your knees as if you were about to sit back into a chair, aiming to bring your thighs parallel to the ground and extend your arms straight in front of you. Keep your knees above your feet and your weight evenly distributed through your heels for stability. Squeeze your bottom and push through your heels as you straighten back up, arms returning by your side. Repeat.
5. Calf raises
Works: Calf muscles
Equipment: Hand weights
How-to: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and feet flat on the floor. Hold the weights by your sides. Lift and lower your heels, keeping the movements slow and controlled.
6. Wide squats
Works: Bottom and thighs
Equipment: A weighted bar or broomstick
How-to: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart. Hold a bar across your shoulders. Bend your knees as if sitting back into a chair, coming down towards a 90-degree angle at the knees. Keep your heels pressed into the floor, chest open and knees behind your toes. Squeeze your bottom and push through the heels to return to the starting position. Repeat.