The Three Best Exercises For Stronger, Leaner Legs
Legs that are worth showing off aren’t necessarily easy to come by. If you want to work toward strong, toned legs that say “fit” as you walk by, you’ll have to get tough and be ready to feel the burn. High intensity exercises are the very best way to efficiently burn fat and build muscle. These four exercises are tailor made for melting fat and building muscle in the legs. They’re meant to burn, and burn good, but remember you can always modify!
Just as they sound, squat jumps are your basic squat amped way, way up with a jump in between each rep. Begin standing with feet hip distance apart. Perform a basic squat by pressing your hips out and back behind you as if you were going to sit on a short stool. Once you’ve reached the deepest squat you can, jump straight upwards with as much force as possible. Remember to land soft on your feet and return to your squat as quickly as you can. Just 20 seconds of these leg blasters are sure to have you feeling the burn.
Modifications: If jumping is too hard on the joints, try coming into a calf raise or small hop instead of a full jump. If you are a beginner to exercise, try starting your first round with basic squats before adding to the intensity level.
It doesn’t get any easier from here. To perform switch lunges, begin in a full lunge position with knees as close to 90 degree angles as possible. From this lunging position you will jump both feet off of the floor while switching your feet positions in the air. You should land with your feet in opposite positions and immediately come into a lunge on this side. Focus on keeping your upper body steady and try to switch between lunge positions with speed and finesse.
Modifications: Reverse lunges are a great way to build the strength necessary to perform the higher intensity level of this move. You can also try doubling up your jumps by jumping your feet together in the middle first before jumping to the opposite lunge position.
Jumping Jack + Calf Raise
To round out your killer leg workout, these jumping jack calf raise combos will surely finish off the muscles you haven’t already murdered. Begin standing straight with feet close together. Perform three standard jumping jacks immediately followed by 2 slow and controlled calf raises. Really focus on squeezing your heels upward as you lift onto your toes and slowly lower to the floor. Switch back and forth between the two moves for a 20-30 second round of leg-working fun.
Modifications: Jumping jacks can easily be done one leg at a time to eliminate the jumping element. Simply step one foot out to the side each time you bring your hands overhead. Remember to switch which leg you start with each time! You can also use a chair or the wall if balancing on the toes is difficult.