Everyone wants the look of toned, muscular legs that look great in shorts and swimsuits for the summer months. Legs are easy to tone, either at home or at the gym. Because legs have large muscles, exercising them burns more calories, for an added benefit. Consistent exercise at least 3 times a week will help you to have the curvy, toned legs you admire.
Walking is the easiest and often the most enjoyable way to tone up the muscles of your legs. You don’t need special equipment beyond a good pair of walking shoes, and you don’t need a gym membership. Walking not only strengthens thigh, calf and butt muscles, it provides a cardiovascular workout that improves overall endurance and health. Mark out a short, 10-minute route around your neighborhood and gradually add 5 minutes to it over a period of time.
Lunges have always been a good way to exercise thigh muscles for a strong and toned appearance. When you add the additional feature of weights, you increase the amount of stretch through the quadriceps and down the shins. Stand with your feet apart about the width of your hips. Hold a 5-pound dumbbell in each hand. Lunge forward on your left leg, allowing the knee to go down to within 1 inch of the ground without touching it. Keep the torso perpendicular to the ground, holding the weights to distribute the weight evenly. Keep the weight on the heels instead of the toes to provide a stretch along the calf muscles. Continue the lunges for 30 seconds, and then, do 30 seconds on the other leg.
Heel raises are one of the simplest exercises, yet yields big dividends in toning calf muscles. Stand with feet slightly wider apart than shoulder width. Place hands on hips and rise up on the ball of your feet. Hold the lift for 5 seconds, then lower heels down to the floor. Repeat this exercise for 3 sets of 25 repetitions for quick shaping of the calf. You can intensify the effect of this exercise by placing the balls of your feet on a slight elevation, and lowering the heels onto the lower surface.
Squats are good exercises for working the glutes of the backside, as well as the quads of the front of the leg and the calves at the back. They also help to strengthen muscles of the abdomen when stabilizing the movement. To do squats effectively, you must position your feet about at the width of your shoulders. Flex the knee until the hip joint is slightly lower than the knee joint. Straighten up again. Continue for 3 sets of 10 to 15 squats. Always be careful of overworking the knee joint when doing squats. Work up to the required repetitions gradually. You may wish to use a chair behind you as a support when first beginning a routine of squat exercises. As your legs become stronger, you can add more challenge to the exercise by raising one leg and doing squats with the other.
Whatever way you choose to exercise to tone your legs, always remember to warm up the muscles before giving them a hard workout. Replenish your fluid levels as you exercise, and never exercise to the point of pain.