Doing exercises to train your leg muscles can be very exhausting as your lower body contains some of the largest muscles of your body. To train these muscles you can either perform weight training or strength training exercises. Weight training exercises are great for building muscle mass but are not suitable for everyone. Lifting weights have a high risk of injuries and their effects depend upon the technique of the exercise. On the other hand, strength training exercises can be performed by anyone irrespective of their fitness level. They are known for building a strong muscle foundation and require minimum equipment. With strength exercises, you can perform a high number of repetitions without any risk of injury.
Today I’m going to tell you about some of the best leg exercises that are less intensive but they work as effectively as others. The lower body workout that I have created has 5 main exercises that target your major lower body muscles. The other 2 exercises are for warming up your muscles.
You don’t need to go to a gym for performing this workout. You can do the following workout anywhere you want whether it’s your home or a nearby park. This workout has some of the best body weight leg exercises meaning it doesn’t require any equipment. The best part about this whole workout is that it just requires 20 minutes from your daily schedule.
Warming up your body before any workout is very important as it reduces the chances of injury and soreness of your muscles. To warm-up your body you can perform cardio and stretching exercises.
The oldest and the most common cardio exercise ever existed is running. According to ancient history, our ancestors developed the ability to run over 2.6 million years ago probably to hunt animals. Running is the most accessible exercise in the world.
Studies have shown that running for 10-15 minutes every day can reduce the risk of chronic diseases and increases your life expectancy. Running is a great option if you want to warm-up your body before any intense workout. It also burns a large number of calories by engaging your major lower body muscles. For this workout run at your normal pace for 3 minutes without stopping.
Quadriceps are a large group of muscles that are present in the front area of your thigh. The quadriceps are formed of four muscles. The movement of your knee joint like flexion or extension is the primary function of this muscle.
The exercise to specifically stretch this muscle is known as the quadriceps stretch. This stretching move can increase the flexibility of your quadriceps to perform your workout more effectively. To do the quadriceps stretch, Stand tall with your back straight and feet hip-width apart. Bend your left knee back and hold the ankle with your left hand. Now stretch your quad muscle by lifting your ankle towards your hips.
Hold the position and lower your leg back to the ground. Perform the same procedure with your other leg. This is the correct technique to perform the quadricep stretch exercise. Do 2 minutes of stretching before performing the main workout.
Every exercise in this workout is performed for 3 minutes. 30 seconds for performing each set and 30 seconds of rest in between. These exercises target’s every muscle of your lower body and will deliver you the perfect muscle pump.
The walking lunge is a dynamic variation of the standard lunges that targets your quadriceps, hamstring, gluteus, and core muscles. During this exercise, your stability and balance are challenged. Adding this strength-training move to your workout will increase muscle growth and agility. You can perform this exercise anywhere as it does not require any equipment.
How To Perform
1) Start this exercise by standing on the ground with your back straight and hands by your side. With your feet, hip-width apart activate your core and look in front.
2) Take a large step forward with your left leg while keeping your other leg in the same spot. Bend your knees and lower your back knee towards the ground. Keep your torso upright throughout the movement. Breathe in while lowering your body.
3) Stop the movement when your left thigh is parallel and right closer to the ground. Lift your body back to the starting position. Breathe out while returning to the start. Perform the same steps with your other leg.
4) This is one repetition of walking lunges. Continue stepping in the forward direction with every lunge till you reach your desired distance. Perform 3-4 sets of either counting the repetitions or distance for one set of this exercise.
The squat jump is a plyometric variation of the traditional squat exercise that target’s all the major lower body muscles. While performing this move, your core and lower back muscles are also engaged and work to stabilize the movement. This exercise is the combination of both squat and jumping which increases your metabolism and burns fat from your overall body. The squat jump can be difficult for beginners as it requires good form which helps in connecting the squat with a jump.
How To Perform
1) Begin by standing tall on a flat surface with your hands by your side and feet wider than your hip width. Engage your core and look in front.
2) Lower your body while keeping your back straight. Move your hips back as your go down and knees not further than your feet. Breathe in as you lower your body towards the ground.
3) Hold the movement when your thighs are parallel to the ground. Lift your body with a full thrust by pressing into your feet to perform a jump. Breathe out as you lift your body from the ground.
4) The repetition ends as you land on the ground after the jump. This is one repetition of the squat jump exercise. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions to deliver maximum benefits.
Your inner thigh muscles help in the abduction of your legs and are very difficult to target. Sumo squat is a very effective and functional lower body exercise that isolates your inner thigh muscles. The difference between the sumo squat and the standard squat is the positioning of your feet. Your feet are kept wider during this move which resembles the form of a sumo wrestler. No equipment is necessary for this exercise as its bodyweight version gives amazing results and has a very low risk of injury.
How To Perform
1) To perform this exercise stand tall on the ground with your feet wide and hands at your side. Point your toes slightly towards each side.
2) Engage your abdominal muscles and perform a squat by lowering your body till your thighs are parallel to the ground. Breathe in while going down. Move your hands in front of your chest as you go down.
3) Keep your back straight throughout the movement. Don’t move your knees ahead of your toes as it will shift the tension from your legs to your knees.
4) Hold the position and raise your body back to the start. Breathe out while raising your body. This is one repetition of the sumo squat exercise. Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions.
The wall sit is an isometric move that primarily target’s your quadriceps. This exercise builds strength, endurance, and muscle mass in your quads. Players of different sports like football, hockey, martial arts, and athletics perform this exercise to improve their performance and develop strength after an injury. Wall sit is performed by keeping your body against a wall at 90 degrees from the ground. The intensity of this move depends upon the maximum duration for which you can hold the position of your body.
How To Perform
1) Start this exercise by standing tall with your back against a wall. Place your feet hip-width apart and away from the wall. Move your hands in front of your chest or on the wall if you’re a beginner.
2) Activate your core and slowly lower your body till your thighs are parallel to the ground. Keep your knees aligned to your feet so that they appear right above your toes.
3) Hold the position for at least 15 seconds. Raise your body back to the starting position. Remember to keep breathing throughout the exercise.
4) This is one set of wall sit exercise. Perform 3-4 sets with 30 seconds of rest between each set.
The most accessible lower body exercise is the calf raises. This exercise is specifically performed for training your calf muscles and promoting muscle growth. Your calf muscles help in doing mostly every leg movement like walking, running, jumping. Sports involving maximum leg movement require strong calf muscles to propel your leg faster and for a long duration. Calf raises can be performed anywhere while doing daily activities for example while brushing your teeth, standing in a lift, waiting for the kettle to boil, etc.
How To Perform
1) To do this exercise stand tall on the ground with your feet hip-width apart and hands at your side.
2) Engage your core and look in front. Press your toes to lift the heels off the ground. Breathe in while raising your heels.
3) While standing on your toes stretch your calf muscles. Keep your back straight and body balanced throughout the movement.
4) Hold the position and lower your heel without touching it to the ground. Breathe out as you lower your heels. This is one repetition of calf raises. Perform 3-4 sets of 20-25 repetitions.