Leg day, that dreaded day, yes, well, no more? I used to look at my workout calendar and as it would get closer to the leg day, I would feel sick through my stomach, but I never skipped it, because I knew they are important. Now I love my leg days, why, because I made them fun. Who wants to do 100 squats and countless deadlifts every day? Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these exercises are not good for you, in fact, they are very effective, but they can get boring and if you are anything like me, you will may be able to push through them the first time, but after that you will find every excuse in the book to skip them. So let’s mix them up and get the best out of lower body exercises, without driving ourselves crazy :). Good news, you can do these exercises in the comfort of your home with no equipment, using resistance bands or thigh toner is optional.
Before going through this routine, let me explain why leg days are important and you should never ever skip them.
- Did you know, Gluteus Maximus (aka your behind), is the largest muscle in your body? When working the large muscles of your lower body, your heart has to work harder to pump blood to them, your heart rate will rise faster, and hence you will burn more calories.
- Leg day can speed up your metabolism. It’s no secret that lifting weights will help athletes build and maintain muscle mass. And when your body composition has more muscle, your metabolism gets faster. That is why you tend to get hungrier on the days that your work your muscles.
- You might say, I am not an athlete and I am not planning to be an athlete or a body builder, so why should I do leg days? Giving your legs attention will pay off each and every day. Picking up boxes, carrying groceries, or moving furniture will be easier when your lower body is used to squatting down and hinging at the hips. Even if your arms are strong, you’ll be more efficient when lifting heavy objects if you squat down and engage those glutes and hammies instead of straining your back.
- I always say, do what makes you happy, you are beautiful the way that you are and don’t worry about what others think, but lets face it, wouldn’t you love to be able to wear a short skirt, shorts or swim suit without feeling conscious about your legs jiggling or looking too skinny?
Hopefully you are convinced that you need to work your legs and excited to learn how to work them without the danger of boredom 🙂 So let’s get started.
Exercise one: Squats with outer thigh lift
Works: Gluteus Maximus, Hamstring, Quadriceps, Gluteus Minimis, Gluteus Medius, Tensor Fasciae Latae.
- Stand as tall as you can with your feet spread shoulder-width apart.
- Lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees.
- Keep your knees on top of your ankles, and put more pressure on your heels rather than the ball of your feet.
- Pause, then slowly push yourself back to the starting position.
- Now, lift your right leg to your side, stopping just before your hip rises to your right.
- You may wish to place your left hand on a wall or sturdy piece of furniture for stability.
- Lower your leg down slowly and with complete control
- Repeat for 12 times on right leg and then change to the left leg and repeat for 12 times.
- For added fun, add resistance band (also known as thigh toners) around your ankles.
Exercise two: Crab walks
Works: Gluteus Maximus and Buttocks
- Keep your legs shoulder width apart and sink into a half squat.
- Be aware of your knee position and keep them above your ankles at all times.
- Walk to the left, then change direction after a few steps.
- Repeat for total of 24 reps, or 12 each side.
- To make it fun and more challenging, wrap a resistance band around your ankles.
Exercise three: Donkey kicks
Works: Gluteus Maximus, Gluteus Minimis, Gluteus Midius, Core and Back
- Begin in tabletop on your hands and knees, make sure your hands are directly under your shoulder, knees under your hips and core tight.
- Lift one leg up behind you while keeping your knee bent, and raise your leg until it is in line with your body and your flexed foot is parallel to the ceiling.
- Repeat 12 times on each leg.
- To make it more fun, wrap a resistance tube around the bottom of the feet that you are raising and ankle of the opposite leg
- Slowly extend your leg to the maximum tension the band allows then return to the starting position and repeat.
- Repeat for 12 reps on each leg.
Repeat the whole circuit for 3-4 times. To make it even more fun ask your kids or your spouse to join you. Watch the video below to see how I do this circle with my daughter 🙂
Stay happy and healthy