Have you always wanted to strengthen your legs without using expansive exercise leg machine? Do you want a lifted rounder fuller butt? I’ve collected for you the best exercises for shaping your legs, your thighs and your butt and the best part is, you don’t need any workout machine but yourself to hit a whole range of lower body muscles. Another benefit of doing these exercise is that they may help you to prevent painful leg cramps.
Did you know that the leg muscles are some of the strongest and largest in the body and form a significant portion of a person’s mass? And no wonder why – the leg muscles support and balance your body. These muscles move the bones to create movement such as standing, walking, running, jumping and similar activities.
There are many muscles in the leg and they are broken into two groups: the upper leg muscles and the lower leg muscles. The upper and lower leg muscles can be further divided into front (anterior) and back (posterior) leg muscles.
Upper leg muscles – The primary front leg muscles are also called the thigh muscles which are responsible for extending or straightening the leg. The muscles at the back of the upper leg are often called the hamstrings, which are responsible for flexing or bending the leg. Sometimes the glutes (gluteus maximus), or “butt” muscles, running from the pelvis to the upper thigh are also considered leg muscles.
Lower leg muscles – At the front of the lower leg there are the shin muscles which are responsible for bending the foot upwards at the ankle and for sideways flexion and extension of the foot at the ankle. At the back of the lower leg there are the calf muscles which pull up the heel and extend the foot during walking and running.
These muscles can create incredible power while constantly adjusting our balance, and therefore it is important to give them the prime focus to create powerful and toned leg muscles. So lets have a look at these leg exercises:
Lunges are excellent exercise for strengthening and toning the thighs and the butt. Stand with your right leg forward and left leg back. Then slowly bend the knees until both legs are nearly at right angles. Then push back up to starting position. Don’t forget to keep your back straight and don’t let your knees extend over your toes. Perform 1 set for each leg, 15-20 repetitions
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands stretched forward for extra balance. Now bend your knees and lower yourself – your knees should be nearly at a 90 degree angle and your thighs are parallel to the floor (see illustration). Don’t forget to keep your back straight and don’t let your knees extend over your toes. Then get up back to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 15-20 repetition.
3. One-leg squats
If you master the regular squats, then move to the next level. Stand while you hold your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level (hands are parallel to the floor). Lift your right leg off the floor (A) and then lower your body as far as you can (B). Hold for a second and then push your body back to the starting position. Repeat several times for each leg.
4. Heel Pulses
This exercise works the thighs, hips, and glutes. Place your feet so your toes are apart and heels stay pressed together. Bend your knees and lower your hips while you lift your heels a few inches off the floor (see illustration). You will feel that your quads are working intensely. Pulse up and down. Perform 3 sets of 10-15 pulses.
5. Glutes Leg Lift
Hold the back of a chair, your right leg on the floor while your left leg slightly bent (see illustration). Then lift you bent leg behind you towards the ceiling, swinging it up and down. After repeating this movement several times, instead of lifting the bent leg behind you, now move it to the side and swing up and down. Repeat several times and switch legs. Perform 2 sets for each leg.
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