Toning & Strengthening Leg Muscles

words | Fitness Expert Andrea Allen | @deliciouslyfitnhealthy

photography |  Isaac Bailey

Exercises that focus on toning and strengthening the leg muscles are easy to do anywhere-anytime using body weight. The major leg muscles are the hamstrings (back of thigh), quadriceps (front of thigh), glutes (buttocks) and calves. These muscles are the largest and most powerful in the body. When targeted they burn calories faster and get results. If you’re looking to see greater strength and definition in your legs, along with tighter skin, complete the following workout: repeat this circuit three times doing the repetitions allowed in each move.  Perform three times per week.

Butterfly Glute Lifts: Hamstrings, Inner thigh, Glutes, Lower Back

Lay with your back flat on the ground knees bent.  Place the bottom of your feet on the ground allowing your knees to bow to the sides.  Your arms are down by your sides, palms down. 

Raise your hips as high into the air as you can while trying to press them into the sky.  Squeeze glutes at the top. Lower hips back down to the ground. Complete 20 repetitions.

180 Squat Jumps: Hamstrings, Quadriceps, Glutes, and Calves

Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and lower yourself into a squat position; glutes should be parallel to your knees.

Powering through the balls of your feet jump into the air and rotate your body 180 degrees to the opposite side.

Plant your feet firmly as you bend your knees while re-entering the squat position. Repeat doing the 180 jump to the opposite side. Complete 10 repetitions.

Donkey Rainbows: Glutes & Hamstrings

Begin in a table-top position with your palms and knees on the ground. Lift your right leg out to the side to tap the ground.

With your toe, draw a pretend rainbow over to the other side and tap the ground. Repeat the movement going back. That counts as one repetition. Complete 20 repetitions and switch legs.

Lunge Kick OutsQuadriceps, Hamstrings, Shoulders, Abs

Begin in a standing position with feet shoulder width apart. Step back with one leg placing your toe on the ground and bending your knee towards the ground into a lunge position. Tip: Make sure you step wide enough back so that your front knee stays behind your front toes as you lunge down.

Return to a standing position and lower your hands and glutes towards the ground creating a crouching position.

With both hands on the ground kick back both feet behind you into a plank position. Your weight should be evenly distributed between the palms of your hands and the balls of your feet. Bring your feet back into the crouch position, stand up and repeat the motion with the opposite leg lunging back. Complete 10 repetitions.