Tone your legs without weights or machines with these 5 easy exercises! Whether you’re looking to get toned for swimsuit season or just want to keep your legs healthy and strong, these five exercises will get you there.
1. Practice Basics With Plié Squats
The plié squat is a foundational exercise for toning your legs. This move is simple but effective, working your quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. It can be done with or without weights, making it a great option for people of all fitness levels. To do a plié squat, stand with feet wider than shoulders and turned out, squat down as low as you can, keeping your heels on the ground and your back straight. Hold for a few seconds, then press back up to starting position. Repeat for 12-15 reps.
2. Stacking Stands for Sturdier Stacks
When doing any exercise that targets your legs, it’s important to use heavier weights to create resistance and more impact. This will help you to tone your muscles and see results faster. For exercises like the squat and lunge, using stacks of books, cans or even weights will give you the challenge you need to tone your legs. Make sure that whatever you use is stable and will not topple over as you work out. As you progress, you can make the stacks higher and higher to create more of a challenge.
3. Toning Through Transitions
One of the best ways to tone your legs is by adding in some simple transitions during your regular workouts. This will help to target your muscles in multiple ways and give you a more well-rounded workout. When you’re doing cardio exercises, like running or cycling, try adding in a set of lunges or squats at the end to really target your hamstrings, quads and calves. You can also do this during strength-training exercises. For example, when you’re doing bench presses, add in a set of squats after your presses to really work your legs. Not only will this give you better results, but it’ll also help to keep your workout interesting and prevent boredom.
4. The Toe Touch Hustle
The toe touch hustle is a Pilates move that really targets your hamstrings and glutes. Here’s how to do it: Lie on your back on the floor with your palms flat on the floor and your legs extended. Bend your right knee and place your right ankle on your left knee. Inhale and lift your head and shoulders off the floor, and as you exhale, curl your upper body up towards your right knee and reach your right hand towards your ankle. Keep your back pressed firmly against the floor. Inhale and release, then exhale and repeat. After 10 reps, switch legs and do 10 more reps. This move is great because it’s simple but really effective in toning your legs.
5. Hinging Hip Lifts
The fifth exercise in our series is the Hinging Hip Lift. This move targets your hamstrings, glutes and calves, and is a great way to increase strength and definition in your lower body. To do the Hinging Hip Lift, start by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders relaxed. Bend forward at the waist, and hinge at the hips to bring your torso as close to the floor as possible. Keep your back flat, and engage your glutes to lift your torso back to the starting position. Repeat for reps.
No matter what type of exercise you’re doing, it’s important to remember that strength is just as much about cardio endurance as it is about the muscles themselves. That means if you want your legs to be strong and toned, then working on building up stamina through cardiovascular workouts will prove equally effective in the long run.