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Creating a lighter, healthier you is a multi-step process. One of the most important steps, and the main focus of this section, is exercise. Here we explore everything from the benefits of exercise to how much and how often it is necessary to promote weight loss.

10 Exercises to Strengthen Legs

Work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves with these leg exercises, including a leg work out that can be completed in the comfort of your own home!


10 Leg Exercises

1. Run
Running is an extremely respected aerobic, leg workout. And not only does running target the leg muscles, but can help strengthen the knees, surrounding joints, and bones. Running benefits more than just physical health, but has shown to improve mental health and increase happiness.

2. Hike
Hiking is a fun way to connect with nature, free the mind, and strengthen the legs. Hike in a scenic route for natural elevation to really accelerate the intensity of the leg workout.

3. Bike
Biking is a low-impact exercise while still stimulating leg muscles. To intensify the workout, add resistance if riding a stationary bike or tackle hills when biking in nature.

4. Squats
If new to squats, focus on form with bodyweight and graduate to dumbbells as strength builds. For added exertion, complete jump squats by explosively jumping as high as you can, squatting down, then jumping back up.

5. Goblet Squat
Goblet squats primarily targets the anterior portion of the legs. Start by holding a light kettlebell or dumbbell close to your chest, squat down until the hamstrings are close to the chest, and stand back up as described here.

6. Deadlifts
While deadlifts primarily target the lower back, the movement also stimulates the quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Learn how to safely complete deadlifts here.

7. Lunges
Lunges improves stability and strengthens the legs. Hold on to a doorframe as needed until the movement has been mastered, moving away from the frame as balance and strength builds, introducing weight as tolerated.

8. Standing Calf Raises
Targeting the calves tends to be overlooked, especially when wanting to tone or grow the upper legs. However, supporting calves can help strengthen and support the entire leg. Incorporate standing calf raises into your workout regimen and add weight and walk on toes to amplify the intensity.

9. Kettlebell Swing
Kettlebell swings work a multitude of muscles, including the hips, glutes, and hamstrings. Along with strength training, kettlebell swings are a significant aerobic exercise to incorporate into workout regimens.

10. Butt Kicks
Butt kicks are an aerobic and leg-strengthening exercise, primarily working to elevate the heart rate and target the upper legs.

Leg Workout at Home

Crunched for time and can't make it to the gym? This leg workout at home is not only convenient, but an effective routine to strengthen legs! Complete 3 rounds of the leg exercises listed below, resting for one minute between each set. Feel free to add weights as comfortable and to challenge your body.

• Jumping Jacks: 40 seconds
• Bodyweight Squats: 10 to 15 reps
• Lunges: 10 reps per leg
• Standing Calf Raises: 12 to 15 reps
• Butt Kicks: 40 seconds
• Rest one minute and repeat sequence

Written By Sydney Lappe, MS, RDN. Published on May 19, 2017. Updated on July 12, 2017.


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