All our movements- walking, running, sitting, standing, dancing are supported by legs. They help us remain flexible, improve our athletic performance, and most importantly help us remain mobile.
Which are the main muscles in the legs?
Do we know that when we do leg exercises, we work on the longest muscles in the body in our thighs and calves? When we do leg workouts, we exercise these muscles:
- Vastus lateralis
- Vastus medialis
- Vastus intermedius
- Rectus femoris
- Biceps femoris
3. Calf muscles:
Why should we not skip leg day?
There are good reasons why people are obsessed with leg days. Leg workouts have tremendous positive effects on the strength of the entire body. Here are some of the most important benefits of leg exercises:
- Through leg exercises, you are working on the longest muscles of the body, your metabolism levels increase. This results in burning more calories, improving insulin sensitivity, and reducing fat.
- Leg workouts coupled with strength training helps you to focus on other muscle groups that may be neglected or underworked. This helps in preventing imbalances and injuries in these muscles.
- Leg exercises, especially deadlifts and squats, help in releasing testosterone and cortisol that helps in building muscles, and reducing fats, and fighting stress respectively. They trigger the production of growth hormones that help fight age, reducing body fat, increasing bone density, etc.
- A strong pair of legs that you get through leg workouts have a huge impact on our athletic performance and activities like jogging and swimming, etc.
- Regular leg exercises help in alleviating joint and bone pains. They also help in preventing recurring aches and pains.
- You can easily do leg exercises at home with minimal equipment.
- And lastly, for the aesthetics, leg exercises help you get toned and sculpted legs that look great and make you feel confident.
Which are some of the most effective leg exercises that I can do?
Here is a rundown of some of the most effective leg workouts that are not only interesting but also challenging enough to keep you engaged. We have included the best leg workouts for men and women both.
1. Squats: The squats are considered to be amongst the best leg workouts at home to build strong legs and a firmer butt. How to:
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Drive your hips back in a sitting position keeping your chest and shoulders back.
- Allow the knees to bend till you reach a comfortable depth.
- Strive to reach an angle of 90-degrees with your knees.
- Press into your heels and return to the standing position.
- Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.
2. Lunges: One of the best exercises at home for women's legs, abs, and butt that work out both legs at the same time. These are amongst the most effective leg exercises at home for preparing your body for games like basketball and tennis and also yoga practice.
- Stand straight.
- Step forward with one foot till you reach a 90-degree angle with your leg.
- Your front knee shouldn't go beyond your toes.
- Hold for 2-3 seconds and return to the standing position.
- Do 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps on each leg.
3. Resistance band leg press: This is a great alternative to a leg press machine and is amongst the best leg workouts at home. This works a great deal on your hamstrings, calves, glutes, and quads.
- Lie on a mat with face up.
- Lift your feet off the mat and bend your knees at a 90-degree angle.
- Flex your feet towards the ceiling.
- Wrap the band around your feet and hold its ends.
- Press your feet against the band till your legs are straight.
- Bend your knees to return to a 90-degree angle.
- Do 3 sets of 8-12 reps.
4. Step-ups: One of the most functional and effective leg workouts at the gym, this works on your glutes and quadriceps. This is one of those leg exercises that can be varied according to your fitness levels. You can use your body weight, wear a weight waist, or hold a dumbbell to do this leg workout at home.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand in front of your knee as you stand in front of a step, bench, or platform.
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart and step forward with one leg on the bench.
- Use your thigh to propel your body upward.
- Bring your other leg up and stand on the platform.
- Step back with either leg to return to the starting position.
- Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps with each leg.
5. Bulgarian split squat: One of the best leg workouts for men and women, this is a great exercise for strengthening your leg & thigh muscles and inducing stability.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand and step forward with one foot as you rest your rear foot on an elevated bench or platform.
- Bend your front knee at a 90-degree angle to lower yourself while making sure that your knees stay above your toes.
- Return to the starting position and repeat on the reverse side.
- Do 3 sets of 8-10 reps with each leg.
6. Setu Bandha Sarvangasana (Bridge pose):
This is one of the best yoga poses that serve as a great leg exercise at home. This is one of the best leg workouts for easing leg pain and stiffness.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
- Keep your arms at your side.
- Engaging your core and glutes, press your feet into the floor and lift your hips off the floor till your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Hold for 30 seconds.
- Do 4-5 sets of 7-8 reps.
7. Walking meditation: This is one of the best leg workouts that incorporate the benefits of meditation like improved mental health.
- Draw an imaginary straight line on the floor.
- Walk slowly along the line slowly and mindfully focusing on your legs and the sensations in your feet.
- Start by walking for 5 minutes and increase gradually.
What are the things to keep in mind while doing leg exercises?
- Instead of just concentrating on building muscles, you should concentrate on how to increase stamina to improve your overall fitness.
- Including yoga exercises like Surya Namaskar helps in adding a variety to your routine of leg exercises.
- The best leg workouts are the ones that exercise all these muscle groups.
- Leg workouts at the gym must be done under a trainer's guidance.
- Even the best leg workouts for men and women don't work if consistency and discipline are not maintained.