Want toned, lean mini-skirt worthy legs?
These top 10 leg exercises will strengthen and tone all muscles throughout the legs and get you the legs to kill for.
Pick a few of these moves, or try them all to sculpt your legs, tone your thighs and shape your glutes.
Some of these "leg workouts", you may already be familiar with, squats, lunges are workout staples, and they will effectively tone your entire bottom. But no one will ever notice the toning effect if it's hidden under the layers of thigh fat.
This is why we included moves like jumping rope and jumping jack, so you'll not only tone your legs, but burn the layers of fat on your thighs to reveal the sleek toned leg muscles you've worked hard to get.
Get ready to reshape those legs and firm up your butt with these top 10 leg exercises for strong and sexy legs.
10 Best Leg Exercises
Lunge is one of the best moves you can do to work the leg muscles. It trains your glutes, thighs, and hamstrings. When you lunge, you’ll not only strengthen and tone your legs, but you’ll also improve your balance and gain core strength. I explained here more in depth. Plus you can add weights to make the move more challenging overtime.
1. To start, stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips, pull your shoulders back, and look straight ahead.
2. Take a controlled step forward with your right leg. Keeping your torso straight and your weight in your heels. Lower your body until both your front and back legs form a 90-degree angle and your knees are directly over your ankles. Pause, then bring your right leg backward to return to start. Repeat on the other leg.
2. Side lunge
If you're anything like most women, the inner thighs are your trouble spots. So are mine. That's exactly why any moves that can target them specifically, I'm up for. This side lunge does just that - toning and strengthening the hard to reach inner thigh muscles. And these muscles are also critical in hip stability and fending off running injuries.
1. To start, stand tall with your feet together. Place your hands on your hips or grab some weights and hold them by your sides. Take a nice big and controlled step to the left with your left leg. Make sure to land flat on your foot.
2. Keeping your chest up and the weight in your heels, push your hips back, bend your right knee and lower your body until your right leg is almost parallel to the floor, and your right knee is directly over your ankle. Your left leg should stay straight throughout the entire movement. Pause, then bring your right leg back to start. Step sideways with your right leg and repeat.
3. Dumbbell RDL
This move targets the muscles of your hamstrings, glutes and lower back. It's the perfect exercise to get rid of cellulite in the back of your legs, and give your backside the toned, smooth look.
1. Grab a pair of dumbbells with an overhand grip and hold them at the arm's length in front of your thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your knees slightly bent.
2. Without changing the bend in your knees, bend at your hips and lower your torso until it's almost parallel to the floor. Pause, then raise your torso back to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times for 3 sets.
4. Hip bridge
This backside move works the hamstrings and targets the glutes. With no equipment involved, it's one exercise that's easy to do in your living room or even in the hotel room.
1. Lie flat on your back, and place your hands on the floor for balance as you bend one leg and lift the other leg off the ground.
2. Pressing your heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up, keeping your body in a stiff bridge position. Slowly lower your body to the floor. Complete 15 reps on each side for 3 sets.
5. Lunge to skip
This lunge variation does what other leg exercises don't. It combines both cardio and strength into one move and strengthens and torches fat all at the same time. If you are trying to lose weight and burn fat, this move is a must-do.
You’ll move quickly from the lunge position, so make sure to pay close attention to proper form to keep your knees safe.
1. To start, stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart. Chest up and shoulders and look straight ahead. Keeping your upper body still and core tight, take a large step back with your right foot, then lower both knees to lower into a lunge.
2. Swing your arms to jump off of your right foot, lift upward, and drive your left knee high into the air. That’s one rep. Upon landing, immediately return your left leg to the stating position and repeat. Aim for 8 to 12 reps. Switch sides and repeat.
6. Wall sit
Wall sit or wall squat is a simple body-weight exercise that will test the strength and endurance of your lower body. But be warned. This exercise works a little different than the typical bodyweight squats since you’re holding your body in a static position for a certain period of time. It’s simple as that. You’ll hit the calves, hamstrings, and glutes. Even your core has to work to keep your body straight.
1. To start, lean against the wall with your feet hip-width apart planted firmly on the ground. Your feet also should be about 2 feet away from the wall.
2. Now brace your abs and slowly slide down the wall with your back pressed against the wall until your legs are bent at the 90 degree angle. This angle is very crucial because if your thighs are not parallel to the ground, your leg muscles will not get a workout.
Knees should be directly above your ankles and your back should be touching the wall at all times. Hold this position for 20-60 seconds.
7. Skater lunge
This move works your calves, quads, hamstrings, and glutes. Besides it hits almost all part of your lower body, it adds fun to your daily routine.
1. Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and the arms at your sides. Take a large step backwards with your left leg and cross it diagonally behind the right leg. At the same time, extend your right arm out to the side and swing the left arm across the hips.
2. Hop about 2 feet to the left and come back to the beginning stance. Repeat with the other leg. That's one rep. Do 10 reps for 3 sets.
8. Jump rope
Jump rope is not just a fun exercise, it also has great fitness benefits for grown-ups as well. Jumping rope workout is an excellent total-body exercise to condition and strengthen the heart, tone the arms, legs and core. It's also a great cardio to shed some extra calories and fat.
1. To start, grab the handles with a comfortable grip. Turn the rope by turning your wrists in circular.
2. Swing the rope over your head and jump as it passes your feet (near right illustration). You don’t have to jump high - just enough to clear the rope (far right). Land evenly on both feet. Continue for one minute, then rest for one minute.
9. Jumping jack
Jumping jacks is a full-body conditioning exercise that strengthens your legs, arms, and core. In addition, this exercise also conditions your heart and lungs. It's one exercise great for getting your heart rate up and burning calories.
1. Stand with your legs together and arms at your sides.
2. Jump to move the legs outward and raise the arms above your head. Jump again to return to the starting position. Repeat for 10-15 repetitions.
Squat is one exercise that benefits your entire lower body and core. They target the thighs, butt, hamstrings, and even engage your core. No wonder people are in love with the 30 day squat challenge. It simply works!
1. Start by standing with your feet a hip-width apart, back straight, and arms straight out in front of you.
2. Slowly lower yourself as you were to sit in a chair. Once in the sitting position, slowly raise yourself up to the starting position. Squat is a great exercise for your core and leg muscles.