It's Leg Day
“Yes! It’s leg day!” said no one, ever. We know it can be hard to motivate yourself all the way to the gym to work on your glutes, quads and calves, so we’ve come to the rescue with some (kind of) easy leg workouts you can do right at home.
Best for: A warmup for standing multi-muscle exercises
Muscle groups: Hip abductors, glutes
The move: Get on your hands and knees into a table-top position, hands stacked under your shoulders, knees under your hips. Raise one leg to the side while keeping your knee bent at a 90° angle; then, return the leg to its original position and repeat with the other leg.
Best for: Strength and muscle tone
Muscle groups: Glutes, quads, core
The move: Stand with feet shoulder width apart. “Sit” back with knees bent and shins vertical (don’t let your knees move past your toes). Stand back up, using your hips for power.
Best for: Strength and stability
Muscle groups: Glutes, quads, hamstrings, hips
The move: Stand with feet hip width apart. Step forward with one leg, lowering your body until your front thigh is parallel with the ground and your rear knee nearly touches the ground. Continue into a walking lunge with the other leg.
Best for: Rounding out your workout with lateral movement
Muscle groups: Hip abductors, glutes, quads
The move: Stand with feet hip width apart. Take a big step to the side while sitting back into a squat. Make sure the thigh on the leg you’re stepping with is parallel with the ground and your trailing leg is straight. Return to position and repeat to the other side.
Best for: Those who can’t do squats and lunges
Muscle groups: Hamstrings, glutes, lower back
The move: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor about shoulder width apart. Raise hips while pushing your heels down, squeezing glutes and abs to keep your back from arching. Your shins should be vertical at the top of the movement.
Best for: Balance, stability
Muscle groups: Quads, glutes
The move: Stand with feet hip width apart. Place one foot on a stool, bench or other elevated surface and stand straight up, using the elevated foot to do the work. Don’t lean forward or bend your hips. Return to starting position and repeat with the other foot.
Best for: Bigger, stronger calves
Muscle group: Calves
The move: Stand with your toes on a step or other elevated surface, heels off the edge. Raise yourself onto the balls of your feet; then, lower your heels to stretch the calves.
Side leg raises
Best for: Toning glutes and outer thighs
Do it: Lie on your right side with your head resting on your right arm and your legs straight and stacked one on top of the other. Lift your left leg slowly upward, using your hip and glutes for power (not your back). Repeat 20 times, and then switch sides.
Inner thigh leg raises
Best for: Toning inner thighs
Do it: Lie on your side, just like with the side leg raises. Now, cross your top leg over and in front of your bottom leg, bending your top knee to place that foot in front of your bottom knee. Lift your bottom leg while keeping your core tight and stable. Repeat 20 times, and then switch sides.
Best for: Strengthening and toning glutes, quads and core
Do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed out. Bend slightly forward at the hips and “sit” back, thighs parallel to the floor and shins vertical. Rise to standing, keeping glutes and core tight.
Best for: Stability, strengthening and toning glutes, quads, hamstrings and hips
Do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Step backward onto the ball of one foot, bending both knees to 90°. Push through your front heel to return to the starting position, and then repeat on the other side.
Best for: Hip abductors, glutes and quads
Do it: Stand with feet hip width apart. Take a big step to the right while sitting back into a squat. Make sure your right thigh is parallel to the floor, with your left leg straight. Push with your right foot back to the starting position and repeat to the other side.
Best for: Toning the glutes
Do it: Lie on your back with knees bent, feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Raise your hips off the floor while pushing with your heels, making sure to keep the glutes and abs tight. Hold for two seconds, then return to starting position.