Legs aren’t just for show. Leg strength is required for even the most basic of daily activities, such as walking. As a result, it is critical that you include leg exercises in your fitness regimen.
Creating an effective leg workout doesn’t have to be difficult, whether you’re working out in the comfort of your own home like a pandemic or in the heat of the gym. There is no time to waste, so let’s get started.
When it comes to creating a leg workout that works, less is more. Most of your training should consist of squats, hip hinges (deadlifts), and lunges, which are all lower-body exercises.
Glutes, quads, hamstrings and calves are the primary leg muscle groups targeted by these exercises.
Once you’ve mastered these moves, there are countless variations and ways to progress that will keep you on your toes.
Consider this simple breakdown when planning your leg workout: After a squat, move on to a hip-hinge movement, and finish with a single-leg movement.
Why do Leg Exercises?
Leg exercises include squats, lunges and step-ups. These types of exercises help to improve your balance, agility and posture. Leg exercises can also improve cardiovascular fitness, lower back health and promote better sleep. If you don’t stretch regularly and strengthen your leg muscles, your risk for pain and injuries is higher.
How Many Sets and Reps To Do In Your Leg Workout?
The answer to this question is different for everyone. The most important thing is that you work hard and get a good workout. Here are some basic guidelines to help you achieve maximum results: Perform three to five total workouts per week (three- to five-day cycles). Complete two to four total sessions per week, working each muscle group at least three times per week. Work out a specific body part (quadriceps, hamstrings, calves, etc.) each day.
How To Warm Up Your Legs Prior To Working Them Out
The warm-up is an essential part of any fitness routine. It gets your body ready to work, and it’s also a crucial part of your safety. Proper warm-up will keep you from hurting yourself during a workout.
Your warm-up doesn’t have to be complicated. You can use a foam roller, a treadmill for a quick jog or even yoga. The key is to stretch the hip flexors, and use lateral movements like band walks to activate the hip muscles. These are also great to relax the lower back muscles.
Stretching the hip flexors and incorporating lateral work, such as band walks, into your warm-up will help to activate the hip muscles, which will also help to relax the lower back muscles.
What is the point of focusing on these? Muscles that are too tight harm their opposing partners. It will be difficult to perform a squat, press, or lunge if tight hip flexors prevent the glutes and hamstrings from firing properly. A tight lower back will make it difficult to contract your core during the exercise.
What Are The Best Leg Day Workouts For Women?
If you don’t have time to go to the gym, or have the bare minimum in terms of equipment, don’t fret. These leg exercises don’t require gym equipment and can be done at the comfort of your own home.
This move can be performed without the use of a jump rope. If you have one, feel free to bring it out.) Small, continuous jumps in place vertically or laterally while moving your arms like you’re throwing a rope under you are all that is needed to get the hang of this technique.
This exercise not only works your legs hard, but it also raises your heart rate, providing a well-rounded cardio workout.
Place your hands on your hips and then take a large step forward with your right leg, maintaining your torso’s upright position throughout. Kneel and lower your body into the lunge position, coming to a complete stop when your legs are forming 90-degree angles with one another. Continue to step forward with your right foot, pressing through it so that you land in the same position as you did with your left, as if you were “walking.”
In addition to increasing your range of motion, balance, and posture, walking lunges help to loosen up your hips and hamstrings.
Side Lying Plank
Sit up straight with your legs stacked on top of one another on a one-sided mat. Lie down on the floor with your forearm parallel to the ground, elbow below your shoulder, and forearm parallel to your mat. Lifting your body weight off the mat requires you to engage your core, glutes, and legs while pushing off your elbow.
This is primarily a core exercise, but your glutes, quadriceps, and lower legs are also working in tandem to support your entire body as it is lifted off the ground.
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and a weight in front of your chest, with your elbows pointing toward the floor. To lower into a squat, push your hips back and bend your knees. Make a conscious effort to return to the beginning. That’s one rep for you.
This beginner-friendly method of loading your squats also helps to strengthen your core.
Standing with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and your toes pointed out, hold two kettlebells or dumbbells in each hand. Weights should be placed in front of the thighs with the palms facing in. Maintaining a slight bend in your knees, press your hips back as you hinge at the waist and lower the weights toward the floor. Return to standing by squeezing your glutes. That’s one rep for you.
This deadlift variation is particularly effective at targeting your glutes, hamstrings, and back muscles.
Standing with your feet hip-width apart, hold dumbbells in either hand at your sides for this exercise. Begin by taking a step back with your right leg, bending both knees as you lower yourself until both knees are at 90-degree angles. To get to your feet, push through with your left foot. That’s one rep for you.
The quads, hamstrings, and glutes are all worked out in this classic unilateral exercise.
To begin, stand with your back to a box or a step and your dumbbells in front of your chest. Place your left foot on the bench and your right foot on the ground. Lift the body up until it is standing on top of the bench by pushing through the left foot. Drive the right knee up until it forms a 90-degree angle with the left knee. Pause for a moment, then return to the beginning. That’s one rep for you.
When it comes to everyday activities, this single-leg move (which works your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes while also testing your balance) can be extremely beneficial.
Lying Lateral Leg Raise
Lie on your right side with your right elbow resting on the ground just below your right shoulder and your left hand resting on the floor in front of your chest for stability. It is important that the right leg is straight on the ground and the left leg is bent over the right leg. Slowly raise your right leg as high as you possibly can without moving any other parts of your body. After a brief pause, the player returns to the starting position. That’s one rep for you.
This underappreciated bodyweight exercise targets the inner thighs in particular.
Granted, you’ll need a leg curl machine for this one, but we included the workout here anyway since it’s such a great exercise that can do wonders for your calves and hamstrings.
Enter the leg curl machine by lying flat on your stomach with the roller pad just above your heels and pressing down on the pedals. Take hold of the support bars that run along either side of the machine.
Pull the pad closer to your buttocks by engaging your core and lifting your feet. When you reach the top, take a moment to breathe and then slowly return to the starting position.
If you want to isolate your hamstrings and calves, this exercise is ideal for you.
In conclusion, the list above is a great place to start if you want a great leg day workout for women. You can certainly modify the exercises to better fit your needs and your fitness goals. If you’re looking to build a bigger, stronger, and more muscular pair of legs, you can always combine these workouts with others that target your core.
For the best results, make sure you incorporate the above exercises into your routine at least twice a week. The muscles in your legs and feet will thank you.