Legs are very complicated to tone. However, with proper exercises, you can get good results in no time. Don’t hesitate to take a look at this amazing routine to tone your legs.
Build Muscle to Eliminate Fat
You probably did not know that in order to burn fat, the best option is to make more muscle mass. This is because your body uses a lot of energy to lift weights and this makes you burn calories. Your body will need to use more energy after working out in order to heal the tissues that were “breaking” (or stretching) during the routine. Since your legs have bigger muscles, you should never stop exercising them.
Riding a bicycle (stationary or not), going for a run, or using the elliptical in the gym is not enough.You will also need to do strengthening exercises in order to tone your legs get skinnier. So instead of trying to burn calories, you focus on creating muscle.
Here are some of the best exercises for toning your leg muscles.
The Best Exercises to Tone Your Legs
- Single leg squats: you will work the front part of the upper part. Take a step forward with your right leg and then extend your left leg backwards. Bend your knees and lower your body (from your hips) towards the ground. The idea is to touch the ground with your left leg or stay closer to it. Avoid extending your right leg farther than your toes. To back to the first position, press on your right heel. Do three sets of 12 repetitions on each one. Once you get the technique down, hold a weight in each hand so that it will be another kind of exercise and you won’t get bored.
- Leg lifts: they work the front and back parts of the muscles. Stand in front of a bench or use a staircase. Lift your right leg and step on the stair or bench. Raise your left foot and put it next to the right. First go down with your right leg and then your left. Always keep your back straight and your abdomen muscle contracted (you will get “washboard” abs). Repeat this exercise 12 times and change your first foot. Do this twice on each leg. Then when you get this technique down, you can add resistance weights.
- Explosive squats: you will need to add them to your exercise routine to strengthen and tone your legs. Standing open, with your feet approximately shoulder width apart. Bend your knees and lower your body as if you were going to sit on a chair. Prevent your knees from bending further than your toes. Push against the floor and breath out. Balance your arms and fold your arms over each other while you sit back down. The movement should be controlled and the speed will depend on how you feel. At first it may be difficult, but little by little you will do it faster and hold the position for longer. Do as many reps as you can.
- Jump rope: this exercise will sculpt your legs and also your arms. Your feet should be hip width apart. Your elbows should be bent at a 90 degree angle and your arms turn 45 degrees towards the outside. Do two sets of fifteen jumps. Rest for 30 seconds and begin again. Try to go faster every time.
- Steps: this exercise combines aerobic with muscle building and the good thing is also that you can do it with music at home (buy a step or build one) or go to a class, where it will be more fun and you will share it with other women. They are great to strengthen and also tone your legs. An alternative is a stair. Try to change the steps but never forget that your back should stay straight.
- Heel lifts: it is a effective technique that you can do at home. Stand up with your feet should width apart. Your head and back should be straight. Stand on your tiptoes for as long as you can. Go down slowly and support your foot completely on the ground Rest for a few seconds and repeat. Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each one. Don’t rush. Do it slow enough so that it does not hurt as bad. You will tone your calfs (the side and back part of your legs).
- The “bridge”: this exercise allows you to strengthen your gluteals and legs, which you can do at home or at the gym. It is also great for (most) women that want to fight celulitis once and for all. Put a mat or blanket on the ground. Lay down face up with your arms at your sides. Bend your legs until your soles are completely supported on the ground. Lift your pelvis towards the roof and stay there as long as you can. Try to make a “straight bridge” as much as you can. In order for your exercise to have more results, put a weight disc on top of your abdomen (start with a light one).
Images courtesy of Cherry Point, UNE Photos, Sascha Wenninger, Stephanie Young and Rob Lawton.