I am someone who carries most body fat in her legs, upper thighs to be exact. I have tried numerous leg toning exercises and even made running a regular hobby; however, I was not getting the results I wanted. Recently I began working with a personal trainer and she introduced me to 4 leg exercises that have sculpted my legs in just a short period of time. Now, I’m not going to lie, the day after I do this leg workout, the “OO EE AHH’S” just pour out of my mouth as I attempt simple tasks such as, sitting on the toilet or walking up stairs. But nothing a few Advil and some stretching can’t cure! I’m telling you, the pain is worth the quick results you’ll see! Work through this rotation 3 times, 3 times a week.
1. Walking Lunges with 15-20 lb weight (kettle bell, plate, dumbbell)
Make long, deep strides holding the weight centered with both hands, in front of your belly button. Get LOW! Try not to stop in between each lunge, rather alternate lunging feet and keep moving forward. I usually do walking lunges for the length of a basketball court and back but for starters try and do 15 walking lunges in one direction and then turn around and do 15 back. If you don’t feel the burn by the time you’ve turned around, add more reps or increase the weight. Your legs should feel a little fatigue after the first round.
2. Squat with Jump
Squat Low, legs shoulder length apart. Stand straight up then squat down low again. This time, jump up to the upright position and land in a deep squat. Every other squat should be followed by a jump. Repeat this until you have jumped 20 times. JUMP AS HIGH AS YOU CAN!
3. Step-Ups with 15-20 lb Weight (kettle bell, plate, dumbbell)
If you have a step up at your gym adjust it to right above knee level. If you don’t, you can improvise with a few steps or bench (make sure it’s sturdy). Holding the weight centered below your chest, step your entire right foot (no part of foot should be hanging over ledge) onto the step. Bring your left foot up following your right foot so that both feet are on the platform. Then step down with your right foot and follow with your left foot. Do 12 reps with each foot.
4. One Legged Dead Lifts
Using a 15-20 lb weight held with both hands centered below your chest, keep one foot stationary on the ground as you slowly kick back the other leg as high as you can, lowering your chest toward the ground to get more of a stretch. Repeat this action 10x and then alternate legs and repeat another 10x. You should feel the burn in the stationary leg hamstring. This exercise requires a lot of balance but it is great for your core!