Image by: Watch Mojo
By Bailey Campbell
Are you ready to get your legs into serious shape? Like cover a fitness magazine ready? Then here are some of the best, most effective exercises you are going to want to start doing.
#1) Choose a Cycling Class For Cardio
One way to tone up the muscles in your legs really quickly is to make sure that all your cardio activities are really supporting your toned leg goals as well. If you regularly run for example, you might want to start incorporating in some spin classes as well. Running is a fantastic workout so don’t quit it completely, but in a spin class you are going to get some variety of moves that you might not on a run. When you ride on a spin bike you have control over the resistance knob, and your teacher will tell you when to keep it low and run and when to turn it up high and climb.
On a bike you will be able to run faster than you can on your legs, and you could never create the resistance that a bike has using your legs alone. (Unless you were truly trying to run through some mud!) The classes are generally 45 minutes, fun, and fly by leaving you super sweaty and eventually with really toned legs. Not to mention, stepping up your calorie burn to shed excess fat is going to be the fastest way to get your muscles showing, and spin class is a notorious calorie scorcher.
#2) Do Some Chair Squats During Your Work Day
If you can get away with pulling out some fitness moves in your office, you can use your desk chair to help you get your squat game on point. Squats are great for working your glutes, and when your rear end is looking perky then everything else will start to come together as well. Do do a chair squat, all you need to do is stand in front of your chair with your legs hip width apart and your arms extended up over your head. Lower into a squat position by making like you are going to sit into the chair, but instead of actually sitting hold the pose right above while keeping your core engaged. Try to do 3 sets of 15 reps. Easy enough on a quick break, right?
#3) Practice Your Yoga
Each yoga class is going to be a little different based on teaching style, pace, and the body part that is being focused on that day. (If any.) Most yoga classes will work your legs out quite a bit, but you can also do some yoga poses on your own that are going to be specifically focused on the legs. Mastering your warrior poses can give you the basics of what you need to make your own sequences to do at home.
Warrior I starts with being in the downward dog position, and then stepping one foot through into a lunge position with the front foot between the hands. The front food should be angled forward, while the back foot should have a slight turnout, and your arms will be directly raised to the ceiling next to your head.
You can either repeat on both sides from downward dog or transition directly into Warrior II. Warrior II is a similar setup to Warrior I, except that you windmill your arms open to the side while opening up your torso, as opposed to shooting the arms up to the ceiling. Warrior III is a standing bend forward where you lift one leg back and balance on the front leg while you hold your body perpendicular to the floor. This is a great way to stretch out the lower leg, and can be taken even deeper into a standing split.
Here’s a video of the Warrior poses so you can have a visual.
#4) Go Harder & Faster
Some studies have found that people shape up quicker when they step up the intensity of their workouts even when they workout for shorter duration’s over all. Meandering through a workout isn’t going to be very helpful, in other words. What this means is when you commit to a workout you should really commit to getting your sweat and burn on. Instead of opening up with a gentle jog for example, start with some dynamic jumping jacks or frog jumps and notice how quickly your heart rate spikes. (A pounding heart in fitness is a good thing, as long as you’re healthy!)
If you have reached some plateaus in your leg toning, it might be time to go harder by adding on more weight or resistance. If you don’t keep mixing things up or continue to add weight onto your routine you aren’t going to continue to see the changes that you really want. The muscles in the legs are naturally pretty strong, so don’t shy away from testing out heavy lifting on the weight machines. You won’t bulk up, you’ll just tone up, especially if you’re keeping up with your cardio to keep the fat down.
It takes about four to six weeks for your body to get used to a workout, so if you start to see plateaus in any area of your workout you just need to make some small changes. Adding intervals to a run for example, will be more effective than just running for a longer period of time. Plus, it will get you home faster to tackle everything else you need to get done!
Are you hoping to tone up you legs? Let us know if this tips are helping you out whether you’re a fitness beginner or if you’re trying to take your workout to the next level!