Exercises To Tone Your Legs

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With summer upon us, the focus on physical appearance has reached fever pitch. While focusing on having a toned upper body and abs, people, especially men, tend to neglect their legs. Not so much for women though as it is the season of shorts and skirts.

To get toned legs you need a combination of two things – not too much fat and strong shapely muscles. Running is a fantastic way to burn fat and keep legs trim, so it’s good to do that a couple of times a week. But for those non-runners out there, there are other ways, from squats to yoga moves.

Squats
Squats are great for thighs and bums as well as strengthening your lower back.

– Keep your heels down, your back fairly upright, your chest open and your knees in line with your toes.
– Push the weight into your heels as you squat, making sure your knees don’t travel too far forward and that they don’t go in front of your toes.
– Raise your arms in front of you to shoulder height, keeping your fingers pointed.
– Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
– You can add repetitions each week to improve your fitness.

TIP: You can also add weights. Hold them in your hands with your arms out to the side or at shoulder height with your arms tucked in near your ribs.

Lunges
– From standing, keep the knee of your rear leg firmly in line with your hip and lunge forward with the other leg.

– Make sure the knee of your front leg stays over the ankle.
– Keep your arms hanging loosely by your sides for balance.
– Lower your body until the knee of your rear leg is an inch or two above the ground and then return to the original position.
– Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
– You can add repetitions each week to improve fitness.

Tip: You can also add weights to this. Hold them with your arms held to the side.

Calf raises
– Stand with the balls of your feet on a step and your heels sticking over the edge.
– Lower and raise your heels to get a full range of movement in your calf muscles.
– Keep your arms hanging loosely by your sides.
– Do three sets of 10 repetitions.
– You can add repetitions each week to improve fitness.

Tip: To increase intensity you can do one leg at a time, holding on to a wall or banister for balance.

Pilates moves
Moves for glutes and hamstrings:
Lie on your side with straight legs, then raise your top leg. Do three sets of ten raises.
Then circle your top leg from the hip. Repeat on the other side.

Moves for abductor muscles:
Lie on the floor, face down with your arms by your side. Raise one leg up straight behind you. Do three sets of ten raises. Repeat on the other leg. Then raise both legs at the same time.

Moves for your inner thigh muscles:
Lie on your side with both legs straight. Lift your top leg, then lift your other leg up to join it. Repeat this three times then repeat on the other side.

Yoga moves
Yoga is great for strengthening and toning your leg muscles. The following dynamic poses help to build your leg muscles as well as stretching them”.

Warrior one:
– Start in the downward dog position. Step your right foot up to your hands.
– Bring your torso into an upright position, facing forward. Keep the heel of your back foot off the floor. Make sure that your front knee is in line with the ankle.
– Engage your abdominal muscles. Then bring your arms slowly up. If you can point them up to the ceiling do that, if not leave the pointing slightly forward at an angle.
– Repeat everything with your left leg.

Chair pose:
– Stand upright and turn your palms to face ahead.
– Bend your knees, allowing our body to lean forward as though you’re going to sit in a chair (hence the name!)
– Place your hands on your legs. Press your heels into the floor. Make sure you’re not arching your back.
– Raise your arms straight out in front of you.

These are some basic exercises to get you started. As always, combine these with a healthy diet for the best results.


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