Many of us want to get into shape for summer or continue boasting a muscular and lean body during the season. While whole-body training is key, many will want to get strong, beautiful legs that we can show off on the beach. Therefore, ensuring we plan one or two leg days in a week is key.
If you’re not sure where to start with training legs, we’ve got 6 great ideas for lower body exercises that will burn and tone! These are great for both the gym-goers and the home workout beasts. For a pro tip, pair these exercises with Maxler 100% Golden Creatine, which can boost muscle growth and strength1.
The most important part of any workout is getting the body warm. This helps increase body temperature and improves recovery afterwards. Dynamic stretches, like 90-90s or inchworms typically work better than static stretches2. Do a few bird-dogs as well to warm up the core and back, as you’ll be using it during the set.
You might also want to get your heart rate up, so feel free to add a few minutes of jogging on the spot or high knees.
Taking on the main set
After getting warm, it’s time to hit the main set. Make sure you have a mix of compound and isolated movements to target every area of your leg. For each of the movements, try to do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
Your first challenge will be squat variations. These provide an ideal challenge no matter your level.
These require a basic movement, where you’ll be lowering your bum down and then pushing up explosively. A tip – keep your feet around shoulder-width. An additional load can be held in your hands or placed on your back for more challenge.
Instead of classic squats, you can also do sumo squats, where your feet will be wider apart. Rotate your toes out and keep your abs engaged. You can hold a weight around your chest or between your legs.
For a true glute-burner, Bulgarian split squats are the way to go. Set up with a bench, placing your foot on it. Lower yourself down to the leg that’s on the bench. Switch legs once you’ve done 6-8 reps.
Lunges are a fab way to improve the strength in your quads, hamstrings and your glutes. You’ll need to make sure that when your body lowers, your legs are forming two right angles. Use the power in your front leg to drive the movement. Additional weights on the sides of your body can help with stability and increase the challenge.
If you want a challenge that will also get your heart working out, try walking lunges. This requires you stepping forward, dropping into the original lunge, exploding back up and taking the next step. It’ll leave you out of breath!
For those wanting a toned butt, curtsy lunges are an ideal variation. Here, you’ll do a step back, bring your leg behind the other one. Your weight will remain on the static foot. Lower the body down before pushing back up.
As a helpful mental aid, think train-tracks, not single lines. Keeping your feet hip width apart throughout, as if you were standing on train-tracks will help with balance.
These can be a great addition to any workout routine, as they target multiple muscles, including your hips, quads, hams, and your bum. You’ll also hit the back with this exercise, a bonus.
The main movement requires you to hinge where your hips are. Push your bum out and grab the barbell or dumbbells. Keep the back straight and squeeze your core muscles. Lift the bar explosively and give your bum a squeeze. Lower the weight and repeat.
For those without equipment, there are a few options. Try doing Good Mornings without any weights. It’s the same movement – as you lower your upper body, push your hips back. Alternatively, try Single Leg Deadlifts, especially if you have access to a household weight, like a bottle of water.
Working on the bum tone
For those needing that extra burn in the glutes, add in a round of hip thrusts. You’ll need some weights and a bench for this one. Place your back against the bench and the weight on your hips.
With your knees bent and the weight firmly in your lap, drive your hips up. You should look like a table at the end of the movement, with the upper body and quads in one line. Then come down to where you started from.
If you’ve not got equipment, try glute bridges, which have a similar movement. Remember to squeeze the bum when you’re at the top position. Doing these on one leg can add challenge to seasoned glute-workers.
If you’re looking for scrumptious strong calves, try calf raises. You’ll need something to step on to get your heel off the ground. Once you’re on the surface, rise onto your tiptoes. Squeeze the calf muscle, then return down.
Add in some weight by holding dumbbells or try the calf raise machine at your gym.
It’s essential to give our muscles a final stretch before wrapping up the training session. Combine a few stretches to relax each muscle group and hold each for 30 seconds. Some great stretches include:
- Standing Quad Stretch;
- Pigeon Pose;
- Heel Drops;
- Crossover Hamstring Stretch.
More helpful tips
Remember that you need a challenge to grow your muscle, so up the intensity of the exercises every so often. You can also pair the strength training with a cardio session once or twice a week, which will not only boost your cardiovascular health, but will also help you burn some calories.
Make sure to get plenty of protein after your session, as that’s the most important thing for recovery and muscle growth. Maxler 100% Golden Whey is a great source of amino acids with a delicious taste – it’ll be a small reward for a great feat!
This training routine can help you build the legs of your dreams or maintain them in great shape. Pairing them with a healthy diet and plenty of protein will help you get the strong and lean legs you desire. What’s left to do is simply get down to your gym or home gym and get the ball rolling!