Get Great Looking Legs with Easy Leg Workouts
Toned legs not only have a sleek and sexy appearance but also help to provide the body with flexibility and strength; crucial elements for a fully toned body and overall health that can be attained through various leg workouts. Performing easy workouts on a regular basis that stimulate specific muscle groups on different areas of the leg as well as working the entire leg muscle system will result in great looking legs from ankle to hip. The best news is that these leg workouts can be done throughout the day at your convenience, broken down into segments to suit your schedule, with no special equipment needed. Begin making strides toward your overall health with these exercises designed for the legs.
Lower Leg: Ankle Workouts
Ignoring the important of our ankles often leads to weak muscles in that area, resulting in painful injuries. Stretching the ankle muscles regularly keeps the ankles toned and strong; an important feature that will impact the performance of the rest of your body. A simple series of ankle exercises will improve your overall strength and balance, and you can do them from the comfort and privacy of your own home. There is no need to buy expensive exercise equipment, either.
Beginners: Ankle Stretch: Sitting on the edge of a chair, lean back and stretch your legs in front of you. Keeping your heels on the floor, point your toes away from you until you feel a stretch on the front of your ankle. Hold the position for 1-5 seconds; relax the foot. Repeat 3 to 5 times.
Advanced: Toe and Heel Raises:
Toe raises: Use a 1” thick hardcover book or piece of wood for these exercises. Standing with legs together, place the toes and front pad of your feet on the book or wood. Now simply raise up on your toes, lifting your heels in the air and keeping knees together. Repeat until the muscles feel tired, and then rest for a minute. Try to do a second set.
Heel raises: Again using the book or wood, place your heels on the item with your toes on the floor. Raise your toes off the floor with repetitions as above.
Lower Leg: Calf Workouts
The calf muscles are the most visible part of the leg, and very active muscles as well. We use these every time we walk or run, so it is important physically as well as visually to develop and strengthen them through calf/lower leg workouts. Anytime we use our toes, we are working the calf muscles.
Beginners: Jumping Rope: Bring out the inner child within you with a simple inexpensive jump rope or even a length of clothes line. Besides being great for toning the calves, the added benefit will be weight loss from this aerobic activity! Start by jumping for as long as possible the first day and then add as many extra minutes as you are able on the following days. No jump rope? You can substitute skipping (remember when you skipped everywhere you went as a child?) for the jump roping; wear shoes with good support and skip with abandon!
Advanced: Ankle Hops: Standing straight with legs together and arms at your side bend the knees as you jump up a few inches in the air. This is a plyometric exercise, which can put stress on joints and ligaments so begin with 10 jumps per day, wearing good shoes with plenty of support and bending the knees upon landing to cushion the joints as much as possible.
Upper Leg: Thigh Workouts
Every woman has her “problem” area; some specific spot on the body they are just are not happy with. The upper legs often pose just such issues for many women. It is possible to focus on these specific muscles to tone, strengthen and lose fat at the same time; improving the appearance of those trouble spots while also becoming stronger and fit. No special equipment is required, unless you count resolve and determination as tools. Two sets of muscles are worked on separately; the inner thigh and the outer thigh. Since these muscles are among the largest on the leg, performing these leg workouts builds strong muscle which in turn burns more calories.
Beginner: Leg Lifts: Lie on your side on the floor, with your head resting on one arm. With your other arm, reach down and pull your top leg toward you by holding the ankle, placing your foot on the floor in front of your hips. In small movements and using the inner thigh muscle, pulse the bottom leg by lifting it off the floor and lowering it. Repeat 5-10 times as you are able. Switch sides to work the other leg.
Advanced: Walking Diagonal Lunges: Stand with your feet hip width apart and hands on your hips. Keeping your upper body erect, step forward in a lunge motion with your left leg; bending the knee so that it is over the left ankle. Your right leg will be bent with the knee facing the floor and the right heel lifted. Hold briefly, then push up with and lift the right foot; balancing on the left leg for just a moment before stepping forward on the right foot. Continue to alternate for best leg workouts. (continued...)