Some people love to exercise; they get into fitness and work out several times a week. Some of us though, would rather watch Netflix and chill out instead of head to the gym.
In defense of those who detest physical activity, it’s not always the most exciting and fulfilling of things to do. What we all share in common is we want to see results from our efforts no matter how minuscule. Whether you’re a gym fanatic who hits the gym multiple times a week or couch potato, who finds all manner of excuses to avoid exercise, thankfully, there are easy and yes, quick exercises we can do to target those troublesome areas. You know, our tummy, inner thighs, and upper body. These exercises we discuss below mainly focus on the legs because we tend to neglect them. We need to develop our leg muscles to have a complete body workout.
Let’s face it, toned legs look good, and they’re a source of strength. We rely on our legs to help us complete the most minor to the more laborious of tasks. Leg workouts can help in weight loss and prevent injury to the lower body. Here are four exercises that will help you build up your leg muscles. They’ll also maintain your overall health.
High-knee exercises target your knees and help strengthen your core, buttocks, your calves and can even help increase your metabolism. Theycan also improve your balance because you’re performing it on one leg at a time.
How to perform the exercise: Stand with: ” your legs about shoulder-width apart. Lifting one leg, bring your knee up towards your chest, holding for a second or two before lowering your leg back to the floor. Seems easy, right? Next, bring your opposite leg upwards in the same motion and continue to move back and forth between your right and left side.”
Don’t arch or round your lower back. Keep your pelvis stationary as an improper form can cause back strain. This exercise can help your inner thigh muscles and your outer hips too. Balancing on one leg helps your calf, quadriceps, hamstrings and buttock muscles on the standing leg.
Deep full squats are better for your knees, and they’re better than parallel squats. Many who do this exercise prefer parallel squats because they either can’t get their butt below their knees or have trouble completing the motion. They might be able to do part of the movement, but they might have difficulty keeping their feet flat on the ground.
Research has proven there’s no difference between parallel and full squats, but full squats can help in knee stabilization when done correctly.
To do this exercise the right way, you almost need to take up a crouching position. You must keep your feet flat on the floor, or you’re not doing it right.
Deep squats can help strengthen the muscles in your ankles. It promotes good flexibility in the ankles and hips too. It’s especially good for your hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and of course, glutes. It’s even been known to help lessen back pain.
Don’t want to exercise on your feet? Here are two repetitions you can do lying down that can be just as effective.
If you’re looking for a challenge, try all four of these exercises. Start with the standing activities and end with these final two. Heck, you can even do them in your bed. It can’t get any better than that.
Lateral leg raises appear to be a natural exercise. Don’t become too confident. You must carry it out correctly else you could risk injury to your lower body. Pay specific attention to keeping one side of your body in contact with the ground or floor from hip to ankle.
“Rest on your elbow, but ensure your back is in line with your legs. When raising your leg, lateral implies movement away from the midline of the body. So, keeping your core muscles tight, lift your upper leg about 45 degrees and lower it in a controlled, smooth manner.
This can also be done standing, but lying on your side will increase ease and comfort. If you want to challenge yourself and do up-right lateral leg raises, your leg needs to move outward as opposed to when you’re lying down on your side and moving your leg upward. Stand up on your right leg with your back straight and keep your knee slightly bent. Holding your left foot a few inches off the ground, lift the leg as high as you can and work towards 45 degrees with the floor.
Lower it back to the starting position and repeat. An important tip is to rest your hands on your hips or the ground (when in a lying position) to prevent your arms from becoming involved or utilized in the exercise.”
The final exercise is inner thigh lifts. These will tighten and strengthen these muscles. This is a perfect exercise if you want to tone your legs.
“Staying in that lying position, make sure to start on your side, lengthening your bottom leg and crossing your top leg over the bottom one while resting either your top knee or the top of your foot on the floor. You can prop your head up on your hand or rest your head on your arm. Keeping your torso steady, concentrate on working your inner thigh while trying not to move your back during the motions. Make sure your pelvis is level and that your waist is pulling away from the floor a bit.
Now that you have the form down, the great part about inner thigh lifts is how many options it offers. Popsugar outlines a few variations: you could do straight-up lifts whereas you exhale you lift your bottom leg and lower it back down as you inhale (without ever letting it touch the floor).
You could also do tiny pulses, where instead of lifting your bottom leg and lowering it back down, keep it in the air and pulse 10-15 times. If you really want to feel the burn, try making small, controlled circles clockwise and then counterclockwise as your bottom leg is lifted off the ground. This is a variation where it is critical to maintaining focus on steadying your back and ensuring your torso remains in position on the ground.”