Obviously no exercise will change the overall shape or length of your legs. Long, skinny, short, solid – it doesn’t matter, give them some love with the right workout and they will look and feel better.
There are many ways to get stronger legs. Here are four exercise groups to try:
Looks simple but works wonders – as always, take care with your technique. Don’t let knee get more than slightly over ankle, keep your core muscles engaged and your back straight. If you want to do some lunges in a spare five minutes, that’s fine, but never do them barefoot.
Here is a quick video demonstration of the lunge:
This is another simple exercise that keeps on giving. The squat tones the core and upper leg muscles as well as building strength for everyday life. No workout should be without a few sets of squats.
Again, watch your technique and take note of the hints for a perfect squat.
There’s nothing better for strong and toned lower legs than calf raises. You can do these on the Smith machine at the gym. Calf raises can also be done at home, with no equipment other than a step.
There’s no need to fear the machines at the gym; here are more ways to use the gym equipment to exercise your legs. Any of the staff will be happy to help you set things up or demonstrate correct use.
Finally, add some cardio work to your leg workout. Plyometrics are explosive jump-training exercises and achieve a lot in a short time. The forces involve give legs a great workout, and are also used as part of High-Intensity Interval Training sessions. Make sure you are thoroughly warmed-up before trying these, and they do need a reasonable level of fitness.
There are plenty of ways to tone your legs. Whether it is for strength, appearance or training for next summer’s events, get those legs looking and feeling good!
believe me it is well worth looking after your knees - once they start playing up, you really know about it. But exercises that build up the surrounding muscles are valuable because they support the joint. Strong muscles for strong joints - and (I hope) mobility into old age!
Thanks Clare, that makes sense. I don't have dodgy knees (yet) but I guess it is a lot of pressure on the knees when you go into the lunge so the more support the better.
I do 50 squats every morning and it makes a noticeable difference to my thighs. It doesn't take long and is part of my routine so i don' even think about it. But over the year....that's a lot of squats.
as I understand it (hopefully a real expert will comment) the lunge is more complex than you think and needs a stable foot position. This is trickier barefoot, whereas trainers provide proper support. With my dodgy knees, every little helps!
I have damaged my calf muscle by doing lunges before. Can't remember if I was doing them barefoot or not though. It was the kind with a 'jump' in the middle so tougher than normal but very effective.
Why would you never do lunges barefoot? I sometimes do this in the morning but never thought it would be bad for me! Why?