At Home Leg Strengthening Exercises

by Kimberly Caines, Demand Media Google
    Strengthen your legs so you can show them off with confidence.

    Strengthen your legs so you can show them off with confidence.

    If you're considering a fashion makeover because your shapeless legs are making you insecure, consider a workout makeover instead. You don't need fancy equipment or a gym membership to do leg-strengthening exercises -- you can do them right at home using just your body weight. These exercises increase your muscle tissue so your metabolism goes into overdrive. You'll find that everyday activities become easier and your legs get shapely and toned. Before you know it, you'll be stocking up on fashionable skirts, shorts and high heels to show off those killer legs.

    Squats

    Squats target your legs, tush and tummy and can be modified to meet your fitness level. To do them, spread your feet to a shoulder-width stance, suck in your tummy and keep your back straight. Slowly bend your knees, sit your tush back and lower your hips as if you're sitting down on a chair. Push through your heels to return to the starting point. Start with quarter squats, in which you only lower down about 45 degrees. As you get stronger, lower down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

    Split Squats

    Split squats are a slightly more challenging squat variety that can be done with a sturdy chair or a staircase. Stand with your back facing a chair or staircase and step about 2 feet forward. Raise your right leg behind you and place the front of your right foot on the chair or staircase step so you're balancing on your left foot. Tighten your tummy, bend both of your knees and lower your hips down until your left thigh reaches a 45-degree angle. Push yourself back to the starting point. As you get stronger, lower down until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Do the exercise eight to 12 times before switching legs. Complete three sets.

    Side Lunges

    Side lunges emphasize your inner thighs and also engage your tush. To do these lunges, start standing with your feet in a hip-width stance and place your hands on your hips. Brace your core, step your left foot out to the side, bend your left knee and sit your tush back as if you're sitting on a chair. Make sure to step out far enough so your left knee is directly over your left foot as you lower down. Keep your right leg straight the entire time. Push through your left foot and return to the starting point. Repeat the lunge eight to 12 times before switching sides. Complete three sets.

    Calf Raises

    Calf raises can help shape your calves so they look great when you wear high heels. Hold onto a wall while standing with your feet hip-width apart. Raise your heels off the floor and come up on the balls of your feet -- imagine trying to make yourself look taller. Slowly lower your heels down to the floor. For an extra challenge, do this exercise while standing with the balls of your feet on the edge of a thick phone book or staircase step. Slowly lower your heels as far down as you comfortably can before raising them up as high as you can. Do eight to 12 calf raises and complete three sets.

    About the Author

    Kimberly Caines is a well traveled model, writer and licensed physical fitness trainer who was first published in 1997. Her work has appeared in the Dutch newspaper "De Overschiese Krant" and on various websites. Caines holds a degree in journalism from Mercurius College in Holland and is writing her first novel.

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