As we get older, our strength and balance begin to deteriorate in one major area: our legs. If you are not already practicing leg-toning workouts, you may be at risk for loss of muscle mass, strength, balance, and function over time. Health blogger and founder of Healthifying World, Deep Shikha, finds that these simple, yet active exercises are best for women looking to tone their legs.
As one of the best exercises for beginners, the glute bridge targets both your leg strength and hip mobility. If done correctly, it can help build your core and with added weight over time can increase hip durability. Additionally, it is safe to do if you have chronic back pain.
- To do a glute bridge, start by lying on your back with your legs bent up.
- With your arms by your side, raise your hip off the ground until your shoulders, hips, and knees form almost a line all while squeezing your core.
- Repeat this for about two sets of 10-12 reps, and aim to do this exercise at least 2-3 times a week. Over time, you can place a resistance band on your thighs to increase endurance.
Performing a single calf-raise on both legs can build leg strength and improve balance. As a result, your calves will become more toned and strong.
- To start, stand up straight with your legs hip-width apart and your arms either on your hips or by your sides.
- Starting with your left leg, bend your left knee up and bring it to your hip or around hip level.
- With your left knee up, lift your right heel up so that you are on your toes and balancing on the ball of your right foot.
- After pausing for a moment, bring your heel down and then repeat.
- Remember to switch sides, and aim to do 3 sets of 15-20 reps on each leg. Consider using a flat weight to use as a step to make it more difficult.
Side lunges are excellent ways of targeting your glutes, quads, and even hips. Not only does it work on toning your glutes, but lunges are a great way of promoting stability.
- To perform a side lunge, stand straight with your feet hip-width apart and your hands folded in front of your chest.
- Starting with your right leg, take a big step to your right hand side, until your knee is bent about 90 degrees all while pushing your butt back. Make sure your left leg is straight in the process.
- Resume the former position before taking that big step again. Aim to do this for at least 3 sets and about 10-12 times on each leg.
Much like the side lunges, forward lunges are a great way to strength-train and target almost all of the major parts of your body: glutes, hips, abs, butt, and can even improve posture. Including a dumbbell into your lunges can also help you get the best out of your routine.
- To start, stand with your feet hips-width apart and your hands on your hips. If you’re performing this with a dumbbell, include one in each hand.
- Starting with your right leg, take a big step forward to the point where your right knee is bent 90 degrees.
- With your left leg slightly bent, try to touch the floor with your left knee.
- Then, using your front foot, push off of the floor to bring yourself back to your starting position.
- Switch to your other leg, and repeat the same exercise.
- Shoot for 3 sets of around 12-15 reps on each leg.
Plank Leg Lifts
Planks can be a tough, demanding part of our workout routine. However, it challenges many facets of our own body’s capabilities including strength and endurance and tones your whole body in doing so. Planks are also a good form of improving posture and reducing belly fat. To challenge yourself, consider lifting your leg while in a plank position.
- Begin by getting into a plank position: make sure your body is flat and all of your weight is shifted into your forearms.
- Lift one leg off of the ground all while tightening your core. Make sure to pause for a moment.
- After pausing, resume the plank position and switch to your other leg.
- Do this for about 2-3 sets and 15 reps on each leg.