A Beginner Leg Workout Routine

by Kaitlin Condon, Demand Media
    Adding weights will help give your legs better tone.

    Adding weights will help give your legs better tone.

    If you are looking to tighten those jiggly thighs, the best way is to use weights to gain strength and muscle tone. You won't develop slim thighs just by doing leg exercises at the gym, however. Eat a balanced diet of complex carbs, lean proteins, low fat-dairy and a variety of fruits and vegetables and focus on an effective fitness routine to really achieve the look you want all over your body, not just your legs.

    Warm-Up

    The most important aspect of any workout is a proper warm-up, which helps prevent injuries, particularly to your muscles. When choosing a warm-up, opt for exercises that will get your heart rate up as well as loosen your muscles. Examples include walking or jogging on the treadmill for 10 minutes or doing jumping jacks and jumping rope until your muscles feel warm and limber.

    Body Weight Exercises

    When beginning a leg workout routine, start with body weight exercises so that you can learn proper form and get accustomed to the movements. Body weight exercises require you to support the weight of your own body. Try the squat, lunge, calf raise and glute bridge. The squat, which is one of the most basic exercises, has the ability to tone and shape the entire lower body even without weight. Begin with your feet shoulder width apart. Squat down by bending your knees and pushing your hips back behind you as if you were going to sit in a chair. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Stop for a moment and then push through your heels to stand back up.

    Lower Body Exercises with Weight

    When beginning a strength training routine with weights, it is important to first start with the basic exercises. Lower body exercises such as the squat, lunge, step-up and hamstring curl target several lower body muscles at once. The lunge is a great exercise for beginners to start with because adding weight to the move doesn't complicate it too much. To perform a weighted lunge, stand with your feet together while holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lunge forward with your right leg. Lower your body down by bending your back knee until it almost touches the ground. Slowly push back up and step back to the beginning. Switch legs to complete a full repetition on each leg. Start off with three sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise and build from there.

    Precautions

    A newcomer to strength training needs to be careful about lifting too heavy and too fast. Especially with exercises such as the squat, you could injure your back and knees. Start with light dumbbells that weigh no more than ten pounds until you have built up enough strength and endurance.

    About the Author

    Kaitlin Condon is a holistic health coach and certified physical fitness/wellness specialist. She is a contributing health writer for the teen magazine "Miabella," as well as several online publications.

    Photo Credits

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