The legs are often ignored by gym-goers. If your pants cover them up, what’s the point in working them out if you can’t show them off? First off, this ignores the beauty of shorts! Second off, exercising the legs can actually have more of an immediately positive impact on your body than arm exercises (though by no means are we saying to start ignoring those!) Legs have the largest muscles in the body, meaning the bigger and stronger those are the more likely you’ll have higher metabolism, burning more fat and calories even when stationary. As new scientific research puts the emphasis back on building up muscle mass and power, such as a recent study on the discovery of a new muscle-building protein, we’re going to try to get you off on the right foot with these five exercises:
1. Ball Squats
Ball Squats give added support to your body as you get used to the squat in general. The squat, when done properly (feet shoulder-width apart) is one of the best exercises for the body. In this variation, the ball supports your back as the legs’ bending works the front thigh muscles. Repeat 10 to 12 squats per set.
Bridging is both a butt and hamstring exercise. Lying flat on the floor but your knees up, lift your body with your legs (keep your upper back down and head supported). This should be an easy maneuver. Repeat anywhere from 15 to 35 repetitions per set. Make sure to rest in between each set.
3. Barbell Calf Raises
This one of the calf exercises can be done sitting or standing. While the video sample uses a heavy weight, it doesn’t need to. Make sure that whatever weight you’re carrying can be easily supported. You don’t have to hang your heels over the back of a small step; this is essentially trying to stand on your toes with added weight.
Step-Ups are the easiest exercise in the world, honestly. Try it while holding weights. Make sure to have a secure bench or step and step up (higher than say on your stairs at home), then stepping with your other leg the same way. From there, step off backwards in the reverse of how you got on. This is also a cardio workout, so keep it up for over 15 minutes. Only use light weights at first in order to make sure not to wear yourself out, increasing the weight each new exercise.
5. Chair Lifts are similar to bridging, but isolate the hamstrings. Lay flat but rest your legs on a stable chair. Use your legs to lift you up off the ground and get your butt into the air. Repeat 10 to 12 times for a good set.
Check for more of our other approaches to leg workouts.