Though often underrated, legs are among the most important parts in a body and it is only healthy to keep them at their best performance through recommended leg exercises. In most cases, legs are not included in a fitness program, which is why it is crucial to give them some attention at home. They bear your weight when you are walking and when you carry something they absorb the pressure and the weight. The muscles found on the legs are responsible for the proper function of the hip and protect the lower back and the knees from injury.
There are 5 main muscle groups found on the leg and they should be kept toned, strong and in good health. There is basically no excuse to not exercising your legs as the best leg exercises can be easily done at home due to their simplicity and the fact that they don’t require complicated equipment, and if they do, they are just simple machines. Below are 20 of the best leg exercises that can be easily done at home without risking leg pain.
1. Lunges –These involve standing with your feet hip-width apart while holding weights at your side. Take a giant step with your left leg and bend the knee at 90 degrees making sure it is behind your toes and your left leg bent towards the floor. Push back to the original position and do the same with the left leg. This will greatly work out he calves, quads and glutes.
2. Calf raises – Stand with your heels hanging off a step’s edge while holding weights. Push yourself to your toes and slowly come down. This exercise is geared towards enhancing the calves.
3. Leg Curls – climb on a leg curl machine and grip the handlebars with the foot pad slightly above your heels. Bring your heels towards your buttock by bending your heels and slowly bring them back to the original position. This works out the calves.
3. Leg extensions – Sitting on a leg extension machine, bend your knees and have the foot pad on your shins. Straighten your legs so that they are parallel to the flow and then slowly let them fall back to the ground. This works out the quads.
4. Dead Lifts – With your feet at shoulder with apart, hold some weight with your palms facing down and elbows not locked. Your back should be straight. Bend forward with your waist and bring the weight near your ankles. Use your buttocks and hamstrings to go back tope the original position. This exercises glutes and hamstrings.
5. Glute Machine – Get on a glute machine and hold the handlebars, place one foot on the platform and use your glute muscles to push it until your thigh is in line with your buttocks. Change legs and do the same. Works out glute muscles.
6. Squats – Squats are the easiest and the best way to exercise leg muscles and are widely used in sports. Be in a standing position and bend your knees to make your thighs parallel to the floor. Align your knees with your ankles to prevent leg pain or injury. Go up to your starting position and repeat this. Weights can also be used. Works out all leg muscles and lower back.
7. Split squats – Stand with your legs hip-widths apart and hold weight on both hands if desired. Bend your knees such that one leg is in front and the knee at 90 degrees. The other knee should be close to touching the floor. Get back to the standing position and repeat with the other leg. This exercises glutes, calves and quads.
8. Sumo Squats – Stand in the cage and load a barbell with weights across your back. Stand with a width wider than your shoulders and then sit back until your thighs are in a parallel position with the ground. This exercises inner thighs and quads.
9. Squat Jump – Stand with your feet at shoulder width. Jump a bit and land into a squat. The movement can be modified in terms of squat depth, and height of the jump.
10. Single Leg Squat – Stand on your right foot wit the left being in the air and behind you. Lower the right leg into a squat position as far as you can handle while counterbalancing the left leg. Go back to the original position and repeat with left leg.
11. Single Chair Squat – Sit on a sturdy chair with your feet flat on the floor. Extend the left leg out and stand on the right leg and then sit and change legs.
12. Mountain Climber – place your hands on a stable table and your feet as far away from the table as possible and your back should be straight. Jog or run in place with knees being brought as close to the table as possible.
13. Repeaters – Use a study chair and place your left foot on it and then stand on it and then get down while keeping one leg on the platform. Use the right leg and repeat the first step.
14. Stool Jump – Jump up and down on a stable platforms quickly as possible to exercise your leg muscles.
15. Tuck Jump – This involves jumping as high as you can bringing your feet high under you while you jump.
16. Walking Lunge – Be in a lunge position and start lunging while walking from point A to point B. Set a timer and include both forward and backward lunge walking exercises.
17. Outside Crescent kick – With your left foot forwards and the right one behind, swing the left foot towards the right foot towards the right foot and then away into the air and do the same with the other leg.
18. Leg Press – Get on a leg press machine and place both feet on the platform at a hip width and lower the platform such that the knees are at 90 degrees, press the platform until your legs are almost straight and do not lock knees. This will work out glutes, quads, claves and hamstring.
19. Jogging on the spot – This involves jogging without moving as fast or as slow as possible lifting each leg as high as you can.
20. Stretching – Stretching your legs is also a great form of leg exercise and is recommended after all workouts to tone the worked out muscles.