Image by: Carly & Art
By London Foster
Legs! Most of us have them. They’re great when we want to add a little sex appeal to an outfit and most importantly they take us where we need to go.
Remember those Nair Commercials where the “We wear short shorts” song played by the Royal Teens aired, showing off bare legs? You may be too young to recall, but despite that , we can all agree that they all had a great set of gams that could make anyone jealous.
Although, you can’t really change the makeup of your body type ( also known as somatotype), there are some ways to slim down or thicken up your legs so that they’ll look their best, regardless if you’re an endomorph, ectomorph or mesomorph.
The simple truth is that good old working out will get you to your best advantage at building a nice, strong set of legs, along with a proper diet. If strong, healthy legs is your ultimate goal, then read on. Here are 4 workouts to lead you in the right direction.
Start your workout routine with a warm up of 5 to 10 minutes of cardio. These exercises tend to be more difficult, but is well worth it in the end. Pay close attention as you perform these moves, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth.
#1) Single-Leg Touch Downs
This workout is always a challenge and is a great way to build muscle as well as strength.
Stand on one leg, making sure that your posture is neutral, neither leaning or arched. Slowly begin to to bend at the hips, knee, and ankle. Reach down and touch the side of your supporting leg’s foot with the opposite hand, while keeping your torso tight.
Repeat this step on both sides and remember to keep your torso tight as you move throughout the workout s-l-o-w-l-y, sustaining your balance.
Tip: If you are unable to reach all the way down to your foot, try reaching to the middle of your shin or as far as you can possibly go without falling over.
#2) Stability Ball Draw-ins
If you’d like to increase your hamstring definition while putting your core to the test, then this is the workout for you!
As a starting point, lie on your back with your heels and lower half of of your calves on a ball, toes pointing upward. Your arms should be at your sides, and palms on the floor.
Squeeze your glutens and press your hips towards the ceilings so your body is in a straight line. Next, keeping a tight torso, slowly exhale simultaneously bringing the ball towards your body by bending the knees. Bring in the ball as far as you can and repeat.
Keep your knees lined with your ankles and do not allow your hips to sink or hike. Attempt to stay leveled throughout the entire workout.
#3) Balance Lunges
Lunges are known to be the best exercises for the legs and should be included during any workout regimen.
At the starting position, stand with legs shoulder-width apart with hands on hips. Take a large step forward and lower your hips towards the floor. The objective is to lower your hips to a 90 degree ankle, this keeps your leg and core muscles taut.
Do not allow your knees to extend beyond your toes and do not touch the ground with your back knee. Your torso should be tight with upper body straight.
As you lung, exhale as you forcefully push back off of your front leg. Pushing through your heel, back up to the original standing position. However, instead of letting your foot touch the ground, hold your knee within a 90 degree angle for about 4 seconds, then return to lung position. Repeat.
Gently sink down into the positions instead of letting your body lung your forward, past your knees.
Deadlifts are an optimal workout for the hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It’s important to use proper form. When first attempting these, it is a good idea to watch yourself in the mirror.
Stand with a dumbbell in each hand with arms hanging straight down and legs shoulder-width apart. Keep your knees slightly bent. Keeping your chest high, squeeze your shoulder blades together. Keep your upper body in this position throughout the entirety of the workout.
While tightening your torso, inhale slowly, bending forward with the hips. Push your buttocks back, keeping your shoulder blades pulled back and chin tucked. Slide the dumbbells down your legs and bend down as far as you can go-no further than mid-shin though, until you feel a stretch in your hamstring.
Pause, for a second at the bottom, then squeeze your glutes and return to the starting position, while exhaling. Repeat.
Go slow. Deadlifts should not be done quickly. Don’t let your back round and keep it arched the entire exercise. If you are unable to arch your back or keep your shoulders rolled back, you might be going down too far.
These exercises should keep your legs in top shape, strengthening and toning them. It should be noted that results are different for everyone and you should give yourself at least couple week to see improvement.
Did these exercises work for you? Which one do you feel is most effective. Everyone is different, so we would like to get your opinions!