Building muscle in the legs is crucial if you’re looking to develop some serious strength to benefit your overall exercise regimen. However, targeting specific muscle groups with tailored exercises and toning problem areas can be tricky. Below, you’ll find a selection of effective exercises you can begin at home today that each hone in on a specific part of the leg.
Goblet Squat (great for quads)
To really get the benefit of this quad exercise, you need to get seriously low with your squat position. By getting low, you bring a degree of variation to this strengthening exercise. In particular, the variety of motion available to your quads in this low squat gives your whole leg a workout that will definitely help build toward long-term leg strengthening goals. To begin, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart, with your toes pointing ever-so-slightly outwards. Keeping your back flat, move your hips backwards and begin to bend your knees. From this position, lower your entire body until the thighs are pretty much parallel. You’ll know you’ve mastered this move when your elbows make contact with your knees. Once you can feel your body weight anchored in your heels, you can begin to push yourself back to the starting position.
Deadlifts (harnessing hamstring strength)
This is a great exercise that not only strengthens your legs, but raises strength levels for the general back area. You’ll be using more muscle groups than you did with the squat outlined above, while your hamstrings get a particular going over. The end result with this exercise is to encourage muscle develop0ment at the back of the legs that aid in flexibility and give a leaner profile. To begin, stand with dumbbells in each of your hands, with your arms rested at your sides. You’ll also want to ensure your knees are bent somewhat. Next, gradually bend at the hip (not the waist) and lower the weights as far as you can manage. Whilst doing this ensure your arms are kept in a straight position and your knees remain in their bent position. Your back should remain as straight as possible while performing this exercise for best results.
Sumo Squat (target inner thighs)
This simple squat movement will help build strength in the inner thigh region. To begin, form a starting position with your feet placed wide beneath you, with toes pointing outwards. Make sure your knees are bent and begin lowering the hips. This lowering should be deep, with your thighs remaining parallel to the floor at all times. Be sure to keep your weight focused at the rear of your heels throughout. From this, rise back to the starting position until you’ve straightened your legs out completely.
Back Squat and Side Leg Lift (outer thigh exercise)
The outer thigh can be an awkward area to get toned, but this exercise should help. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart from one another, with your feet placed parallel to the ground. For balance,, have your hands held before you. Then bend your knees, before gently lowering the hips. Do this deeply enough that your thighs end up parallel to the ground, while also focusing your weight in the heels. Once that’s done, begin to rise back to starting. Once your legs are straightened out, lift your right leg out to your side. Whilst doing this, give the muscles of the other outer thigh a deep squeeze. When you return your foot back to its starting position at shoulder width distance, descend into another squat. After that, return to standing and perform a leg lift on the other side of your body. Return the leg back to starting position and you’re good to begin another rotation of this exercise.
Heel Raises (for your calves)
Your calves are just as much part of your leg as the rest of those target areas. If you’re keen to build strength in yours, heel raises are an effective exercise. Place your feet in a starting position at hip width distance, then very slowly raise your feet onto the heels until you’re standing on the tips of your toes. Once you’ve done that, slowly lower your heels back to the ground. These rises and returns should last at least three seconds apiece. Repeat twenty or so times in a session to really reap the rewards.