Practical Tips for Building Leg Muscles At Home
Warming Up before a Leg Workout
What’s the point of trying to lose weight by sticking to various exhausting diets and taking dubious pills that destroy your body from the inside out, if you can resort to the natural way – physical exercise. The only thing you need is to overcome laziness and force yourself to exercise regularly.
If you do a warm-up every morning, you will incorporate these exercises into your workout program much easier, and the effect will be visible in a couple of weeks. You should remember that proper diet increases the effectiveness of your workouts several times, while unhealthy eating habits reduce their benefit to almost nothing
A warm-up should not last long and it may include different exercises and activities, such as squats, push-ups, stretching, etc. The main thing is to warm up the body and prepare the muscles and heart for the exercise, improve blood circulation to provide the body with energy.
At first, it is performed slowly, with a small range of motion, gradually increasing it. This technique helps prevent premature muscle stress and body fatigue in general. So, let’s begin:
|1||Forward Bend with Stretching Up||
The s. p. (starting position) – standing, with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed slightly outwards, arms raised up, and your head straight: bend forward and down, lowering your upper body along with your arms and stretching the latter as far as you can between your feet, without lifting your heels off the floor. Straighten up and return to the s. p., repeat for 10 times.
The back muscles, shoulders, and the muscles responsible for flexion and extension of the hips are involved.
|2||Backward (Reverse) Lunges with Arms Up||
The s. p. – standing, with your feet together and hands on your waist: take a large step backward, slowly lower your body toward the floor to form the right angle (do not touch your knee to the floor during the exercise), and stretch your arms upwards. Return to the starting position. Repeat for at least 10 times.
Shoulders, thighs, and gluteal muscles work in this exercise.
|3||Standing Oblique Twists||
The s. p. – feet shoulder-width apart, arms spread to the sides, parallel to the floor (palms should be turned towards the ceiling). Keep your head straight and tense your abs: while keeping your head, feet and hips fixed, slowly turn your shoulders to one side and then to the other until one of your arms is in front of you and the other is behind you. After each twist, take a short pause, and then return to the starting position. Perform 10 reps.
Body twists are perfect for working out the back and abdominal muscles.
|4||Lying Back Arch||
The s. p. – lying flat on your stomach, with your arms and head slightly raised, and your abdominal muscles tensed: lift your chest off the floor as far as possible and spread your arms to the sides, creating the flying effect, and then return to the s. p. Perform 10 reps slowly at first, and gradually speed up the pace.
The s. p. is lying on the floor, with your legs stretched out and feet close to each other, lift your head a few centimeters off the floor and raise your arms up above your head: use your abdominal muscles to rise up and sit down, while simultaneously bending your knees and placing your feet on the floor. Stretch your arms forward in front of you while performing it, and then return to the initial position. Be sure your head does not hit the ground. Repeat for 10 times, gradually increasing the speed of performance.
This exercise works the abdominals.
The s. p. – lying on the floor face down, with your feet close together and your head in line with the spine, your elbows slightly bent and your hands placed wide apart: bend your elbows to lower your body down, make sure to keep your lower back straight and avoid arching it, then return to the s. p. Repeat for 10 times, starting slowly and gradually increasing the pace.
This exercise warms up the chest muscles, triceps, and shoulder muscles.
The s. p. is standing, with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, arms spread out to the sides, and your abs tensed: bend forward while keeping your back straight and touch the fingers of your right hand to your left foot, then return to the s. p. Afterwards, do the same in reverse order. Perform at least 10 reps, gradually increasing the pace.
The abdominal and back muscles are involved.
|8||Running in Place||
The s. p. – standing, with your feet close together and your elbows slightly bent: start to run in place, trying to raise your knees as high as possible. Run for 1 minute, gradually increasing your speed.
This activity is perfect for warming up the entire body.
The Best At-Home Exercises
You should change the order of the exercises each workout to allow your muscles to rest. Start with two or three workouts per week, and then you can gradually increase the load. But the main thing is regularity of your workouts, because it is the only way to achieve significant results.
This is one of the main workouts that have a complex effect on all body structures. It seems to be quite easy, but due to the fact that it involves almost all muscles of the body, the benefits of squats are simply invaluable. The main thing is to perform the squats correctly. The number of reps depends on your physical health.
Let's consider the main types of squats that can be performed at home:
- Classic – these squats are performed with your back straight, your feet placed wider than shoulder-width apart, hands freely alongside the body: on the exhale, slightly move your pelvis backward and lower down until your hips are parallel to the floor; on the inhale, return to the s. p. and then exhale;
- Deep squats – the starting position and all the rest are the same as in the previous squat variation, with the only difference that your legs should not form a right angle, and your pelvis should be lowered far more than the level of your knees. This technique greatly works the muscles of the buttocks and develops the knees;
- "Chair by the wall" – this variation is also called a "wall squat". Lean flat against a non-slippery wall, relax your arms and slowly slide your body down, imitating a chair. Pause and hold this position for as much time as you can and then return to the s. p. It greatly works the thighs and buttocks, and the rest muscles are involved while "sitting". Inhale as you squat down and exhale as you stand back up. Keep your back and neck straight;
- Close Feet squats are performed with your back straight, feet close together, arms by your sides or in front of you: perform the squat as usual. The muscles of the buttocks are involved in this exercise;
- "Plie" squats (target the gluteus muscles and quadriceps) – you should keep your back straight, place your feet shoulder-width apart with the toes pointing outwards, and put your hands on the waist: you should squat as usual;
- "Curtsy" (this squat variation provides a good load on the buttocks and helps get rid of excess fat deposits in the hips) – start by standing upright, place one foot forward and rest the toes of your other foot on the floor behind you: squat by smoothly bending the front knee and shifting your body’s center of gravity to the front leg, and then slowly return to the s. p.;
- Weighted squats (positively affect the muscles of the lower body and glutes, help get rid of fat deposits in the hips and thighs) – start by standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your heels pressed to the floor; grab the weights, such as dumbbells, a kettlebell, a barbell, or plastic bottles filled with water or sand as an alternative: perform the squats, using one of the variations mentioned above. Move your pelvis backward and down to rest mainly on your heels, until your hips are parallel to the floor, make sure your knees do not pass over your toes.
You should note that not everyone can use a barbell. Therefore, you should perform these exercises carefully and preferably under supervision of an expert, because you risk injury. So, dumbbells are the safest equipment for home use: it is easier to perform squats with them and their use does not require the coach’s assistance.
If you are a complete beginner in squats and have never done sports before, we suggest you try this program first:
Classic Lunges. The starting position: standing straight, feet shoulder-width apart, hands on the waist or alongside the body to keep balance during the process. Next, you need to take a very wide step forward and lower down by bending the front knee at a right angle while the other leg remains straight.
When the lunge is done and the pose is fixed for 5–10 seconds, tense your thigh and return to the starting position. You don’t have to exhaust yourself with this exercise – just perform about 5–15 repetitions for each leg and feel the work of your thighs and buttocks. Some people find it difficult to keep the balance at first, but there is nothing odd in this. Gradually, your coordination will improve, your legs will get stronger, and it will be easier to hold the proper position.
Side Lunges. As the name implies, this exercise is performed in the same manner as the classic lunges, but you need to step to the left and to the right instead of placing your foot forward. You should try to step to the side as wide as possible and squat as low as you can. Return to the starting position by pushing up from your feet.
If you cannot squat deep, do not despair and perform the exercise by putting most of your efforts into it, and you will see the progress each workout. As well as in the first exercise, do 5 to 15 lunges for each leg and proceed to the final exercise.
Reverse Lunges. Finally, when you are almost exhausted, you need to change the muscle mode and perform about 20 backward lunges on each leg. The full lunge complex promotes the development of the leg muscles, tones the joints and vessels, and also provides a good stretch.
Just three easy exercises, if performed two–four times a week in the morning or in the evening, will improve your mood and help you get lean and sexy legs without fat and cellulite. Moreover, it takes only 5–20 minutes to perform the full complex, even if you rest between the exercises and do them without haste.
Resistance Band Exercises
Physical exercises with this simple sports device are effective and quite popular today. They provide a good warm-up for the entire body and work certain muscle groups.
There are several kinds of resistance bands:
- Xertube (an ordinary jump rope with handles) – it is used to tone the arms, shoulders, etc.;
- Elastic resistance band is a universal tool that helps strengthen and build different muscle groups; such bands regulate the motion limit;
- Figure 8 resistance band is designed to work with the problem areas, for example, it can be used in the exercises such as arm extension to work out the triceps, and lateral leg abduction to work the thigh muscles;
- Sports rubber band is a ring-shaped band that provides different ways of working the upper and lower body.
These kinds of sports equipment come in different colors to indicate their strength, thickness, and resistance level. Thus, blue resistance bands are stiff and do not stretch easily, therefore, they are intended mostly for physically strong and fit men. Red bands are medium resistance and they stretch a little easier than the blue ones, so, they are used mostly by beginner men and fit female athletes. Most women prefer to use the easily stretchable resistance bands of green color.
The ring rubber bands of yellow or pink color are designed for the beginner women and teenagers. Also, they come in black and purple colors that provide the maximum resistance, so if you are a beginner you should not purchase them yet. Before you buy such device for home training, you need to pay attention to its color and decide whether it is suitable for you according to your physical fitness level.
There are the following resistance band exercises:
- Lunges (strengthen the biceps) – step on the resistance band with one foot, hold the ends and stretch the band. Step backward with your other leg and start to squat down. Perform 10–15 lunges on each leg;⦁ Glute Kickbacks – get on your hands and knees, hold the handles of the expander in each hand, hook the band on your left foot, and push your leg back to stretch the band. Then switch the legs;
- Hip Abduction (works the front and rear thigh muscles) – loop one end of the resistance band around a sturdy object and the other end around your ankle. Lift your leg up to the side as far as possible and return it to the starting position. Then do the same with your other leg. This exercise can be done both standing and lying down;
- Side Lunges (work out the glutes and inner thighs) – fold the rubber band in half and either fix its ends on each leg, or place your feet into the loop. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart to slightly stretch the elastic band. Slightly lower down, step to the right, shifting your body weight to the right leg, and then do the same with the other leg;
- Resisted Booty Bridge – lie down on the floor, bend your knees, and rest your feet on the floor. Place the band across your pelvis and press the ends into the floor by the sides to stretch it. Start to move your pelvis up and down, pausing in the highest position for 1 count;
You can make your legs look leaner and sexier without any equipment, but with the help of some effective exercises. Here are some of them:
- Standing Calf Raises – this exercise is quite easy, but note that your body weight should be distributed evenly over both legs. It can be achieved by leaning against the wall with your arms extended. You should perform 4 sets of 30 raises. If it is too difficult for you, you should gradually increase the number of sets and reps;
- Donkey Calf Raises – this exercise is similar to the previous one, but with some difference. To perform it, you need a table to lean on it to form a right angle;
- Running and Jumping Rope – if you don’t have the opportunity to run at home, you can definitely find a place to jump rope, you should just choose the suitable length of the tool. You can use different jumping styles: landing on both feet or only on toes, jumping on the left foot and then on the right foot, etc.
Calf workouts require regularity and patience. Start with one minute and add 30 seconds every day.
One More Interesting Static Exercise
There is an easy exercise to strengthen the ligaments that should be performed 4–6 times a week at any convenient time of the day. You need a dumbbell or a kettlebell – from 2 to 16 kg, depending on your physical fitness level.
- So, find a comfortable place where you can stand and hold onto something with both hands, for example, between door jambs, or you can use sturdy chairs;
- Place the dumbbell on your foot and lift your toes to keep it from falling down. Slowly lift your leg and hold it above the floor. The benefit of this exercise is the constant tension of the thigh muscles and buttocks while making a single motion;
- You should hold the weight in the air for as long as possible until your leg feels fatigued and can’t hold the weight any longer;
- Do the same with the other leg.
Thus, perform 4–7 sets per workout and have no more than one training session per day. This exercise helps not only build muscles, but also strengthen the ligaments, so it can prepare your body for heavy loads.
Exercises to Get Rid of Excess Weight in the Legs
The following exercises will be more interesting for girls, because they are aimed at building lean and sexy legs and focus the load on the thigh muscles, calves, and buttocks, thus helping the body supply the problem areas with blood faster and promoting fat loss.
- Dress comfortably and lie down on a soft mat. Lie down on your back and place your hands under your buttocks. Lift your legs up and spread them apart;
- Get on your knees, but do not use your hands to support yourself. Gently sit down on your left buttock, leaning to the left, then quickly come back up to the starting position, and repeat for the right side;
- Slowly perform the plie, squatting down as deep as possible, and hold this position for some time;
- Lie down on your side, lift your upper leg, and bend the knee. You need to move the lower leg only – raise it slowly and with the largest range of motion, keeping it as straight as possible (without bending the knee). Change the side for every 10 raises;
- Start the following exercise from the same position. Lean on your elbow. Now lift and lower your upper leg. Change the side for every 10 reps;
- Lie face down on your stomach and bend your knees. Without tensing your upper body, lift your thighs and pull your toes up and back – this movement works your buttocks.
If you incorporate these exercises into your full-body workout routine, it will increase the effectiveness of your workouts and boost the weight-loss process. Also, you should try to use special weight-loss underwear to create the “sauna effect” during exercise.
Use various creams and massage to relax and restore your muscles, smooth your skin and maintain its elasticity during weight loss. Lean, smooth, and strong legs are a realistic dream that can be achieved by regular exercising and following a proper diet. Much depends on healthy eating habits, so no exercise can help you on your way to success if you eat fast food day and night.
Chase your dream and remember that the harder the way, the more valuable the goal!