Looking to get your legs ready for beach season? Add these exercises to your gym routine for a slimmed and toned look.
#1 Barbell Squats
This exercise targets all of the muscle groups in the leg, as well as your hip and core muscles. Use a squat rack or spotter for safety.
With a barbell of a weight appropriate for your strength and skill level held on your shoulders just below the base of your neck, engage the core and bend at the knees, ensuring that your toes are pointing straight ahead and are shoulder width apart. Return to a standing position, keeping the knees over the toes.
#2 Barbell Romanian (Straight-Legged) Deadlift
In addition to engaging your hamstrings, the barbell Romanian deadlift also targets the lower back.
Step up to a barbell and get a firm, overhand grip with your hands just slightly wider than hip-width.
Pushing through your heels, lift the barbell with your legs and hips, keeping your chest out and pulling your shoulder blades together. Make sure to lock your core and keep a slight bend in your knees.
#3 Dumbbell Lunge
Dumbbell lunges are great for strengthening the quads and glutes.
Standing with a dumbbell in each hand, take a large step forward with a 90-degree bend in your knee (make sure that the knee stays even with the toes). Your back leg should bend as well, with your knee almost touching the floor. Push through the front leg to return to standing.
#4 One-Legged Dumbbell Calf Raises
This exercise targets the muscles in your calf, specifically.
Hold a dumbbell in the hand opposite the leg you wish to work. Stand at the edge of a low step, bench, or block, balanced on the ball of one foot (if this is too hard, feel free to balance your non-weighted hand on a wall or other stable object).
Lower your heel as far as you can, hold for a moment, and then lift up onto your toes. Repeat and switch legs.
#5 Walking Lunges
Similar to the barbell lunge, this exercise targets the glutes and quads.
The general form is the same as the barbell lunge. However, on the way up, instead of returning to your original standing position, you will instead push through the heels, bringing the rear leg even with the front leg. Then, the rear leg will become the front leg for your next lunge forward.
#6 Step Ups
This is a fantastic exercise for toning the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.
Choose a step, bench, or box with a height appropriate to your strength and skill level. Place one foot on the edge of the step, ensuring that you will be able to balance on the ball of your foot.
Pushing through your lead quad and foot, raise yourself up onto the step, hold for a moment, and lower yourself back down. Keep your core locked and your back straight. Complete however many reps you desire, and then switch feet.
What exercises do you use to tone and sculpt your legs?