What are the 3 best leg toning exercises?
There are so many leg exercises to choose from, how do you narrow it down to the ‘3 best leg toning exercises‘?
I’ll do it for you…
Any kind of leg work should be using compound movements. By this I mean, you shouldn’t be seated anywhere, and you should be using more than one muscle group. If you go to a commercial gym, you’ll see a ton of leg equipment. Some equipment is fine, like the leg press and hack squat. These machines use more than one muscle group and are metabolically challenging.
But, especially if you’re interested in fat loss and getting lean while on a tight time budget, you should stay clear of things like the adductor/abductor machine, extension machine or the hamstring machine. These machines are fine if you put them in a workout correctly, but if they’re all you’re using to tone and tighten your legs, don’t expect it to happen any time soon.
Do home gizmos and gadgets count as one of the 3 best leg toning exercises?
Absolutely not! Steer clear of them and save your money. They’ll do nothing but get your bank account leaner.
So here are my 3 best leg toning exercises:
SQUATS – This is the mother of all leg toning exercises. In fact, I’d venture to say that it’s more than a leg toner, it works your entire body. You can start out with body weight and you’ll be challenged if working out is new to you.
Once body weight doesn’t make you sore, it’s time to add a load. This can be done with dumb bells held at the shoulder or a barbell. Make sure you center the weight over the hips whether you’re using dumb bells or a bar bell. It’s very important to keep the head up, so look up. Your head controls your spine and as soon as you drop the eyes, when you get tired, you’re likely to bend at the waist.
The most common error when doing the squat is to bend at the knees first. Ensure that you SIT YOUR BUM BACK, the knees should not go over the toe or you’re in for some knee pain.
And for those of you that have pre-existing knee conditions, you still can squat. In fact, you need to squat to build up the quad and hamstring strength. Refer to this blog to avoid knee pain. Here’s another post for you to read to avoid and alleviate knee pain.
REVERSE LUNGE – Here’s another one of my 3 best leg toning exercises. Refer to the video for correct form here. It’s important to maintain a ninety degree angle at the hip, knee and ankle for each lunge. As well, push off the front heel and don’t transfer any weight to the back toe, just use it for balance. I prefer to do a reverse lunge, that is, stepping back versus stepping forward to help with this.
STIFF LEG DEAD LIFTS – The third of my 3 best leg toning exercises is the stiff leg dead lift. This is brilliant for hitting the hamstrings, or the back of the legs and bum. It tones and tightens (lifts and separates!). It’s important that you bend at the hip and maintain a flat back. Keep the chin up and keep the chest high as you lower the dumb bells to the knees. Don’t let the shoulder blades fall forward because when you tire, you’re likely to round the back and put pressure on the lower back (not good!). Watch the video for more tips. You can do this exercise one legged (pictured) or standing on both legs.
Check out this video on the 3 best leg toning exercises:
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