7 Bodyweight Leg & Lower Body Toning Exercises
When it comes to leg workouts and toning up in particular, bodyweight leg exercises have the potential to be your best friend. With the best exercises under your belt, you can work any muscle you need to no matter where you are or what you want to achieve, all the way form your calf muscles to your thighs, glutes, and even your abs.
Whether you're just starting out, trying out home workouts or just changing things up, these can be a great way to do it. Your legs will feel the burn straight away, and you'll feel it right the way through to your core. It's a big workout with even bigger potential.
Squats are crucial to lower body strength, even as a bodyweight leg exercise. They’re the best compound exercise that you can do for your legs, with or without weight (with a huge range of variations too). If you’re looking to tone up your legs and really build functional strength, then they are the answer, without a doubt. They engage everything in your upper legs together in a natural way to keep you in great shape.
Doing them correctly is where people tend to slip up. Make sure you keep your feet flat on the floor and your hands out in front of you for even weight distribution. Slowly lower yourself to the floor by bending your knees for as far as you feel comfortable. Contract your quads and slowly raise yourself back up to the starting point.
Do this for 3 sets of 10 reps!
Lunges are up there with the most famous of bodyweight leg exercises, even as a stretch. They’re awesome at what they do, and they have so many variations that you can use them however you want! They again hit your glutes, your quads and your hamstrings all at the same time! Efficient, effective, and relatively easy. They are essential for good leg toning.
Put one foot forward and bend your knees so that both legs are making right angles. When you’re there, keep your front knee at the midpoint of your foot, get the back knee an inch or so away from the floor, and return back upright. It sounds easy, but make sure you nail them.
Your calf muscles don’t always get much attention, even on leg day, because of the few exercises that are actually available to make them worth doing. Calf raises, however, are definitely one of the exercises that are. Again, it's relatively easy and will give you good toning results if you stick at it and do it well.
Calf raises are essentially you are going onto your tiptoes. You need to hold the pose for a few seconds to make the most of your contraction though. Slowly lower yourself back down for more time under tension and repeat.
Split squats are kind of a lunge/squat combination and a perfect bodyweight leg exercise for this list. They are one of the most effective quad moves available and are awesome for isolating one leg at a time to really up your game and get the best results possible. All you need is something to rest your back leg on, and you're good to go.
To do them, the movement is very similar to general squats. The critical difference is that one leg is resting on a chair or something elevated behind you so that the sole focus is on your front leg. From here, bend closer to the floor, kind of like a lunge, and push yourself back up as your foot pushes into the floor. Change legs, and repeat.
Although your glutes are used in most leg and lower body exercises, they do need some special attention on their own if you want them toning. They are the biggest muscles in your body, and you need to make sure that you're doing the most that you can for them if you have a chance at getting really toned. Glute bridges are up there with the best glute building exercises you can do, and with just your own bodyweight, you’ll see some amazing results!
Lay with your back on the floor and your knees bent. When you're good to go, push into the floor to lift your hips and your glutes. Your glutes and hamstrings will be contracted, so hold and release gradually for the best effects and definition.
Side lunges are an excellent bodyweight leg exercise because they hit some of the harder muscles to work. They use your IT bands, your adductors, your abductors, and most other muscles in your upper leg in some way or another. For true strength, you need to hit your legs as a whole rather than just hitting the big muscles, and this is the best way to do it!
The movement is similar to the lunge because of the slight variation, but step sideways instead of forwards and bend the knee that is still under you, and really push yourself back upwards as you pull in your outer leg. The exercise's lateral movement just means your legs are doing even more work to help build that definition.
One of the best exercises you can do for your hamstrings, in particular, is the deadlift. Without weights, the next best thing that you can do with your body weight is good mornings. They are an incredible way to use your whole posterior chain, especially your hamstrings, and so are a great way to round off your leg toning workout.
With only a slight bend in your legs and a straight back, you need to bend forward at the hips, so you're at a good angle. Then drive your hips forward to straighten you back upward to make the most of your hamstrings and your lower back. This is an essential exercise so keep your eye on your form. Maybe do it next to a mirror.
All of these bodyweight leg exercises are awesome and should help you to hit every different muscle in your legs. This whole lower body workout should give you the results you need if you keep it up properly. Remember to warm up so that you don’t pull anything and train everything equally for true strength building. Your legs will reap the rewards!
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If you experience dizziness, nausea, chest pain, or any other abnormal symptoms, stop the workout at once and consult a physician or doctor immediately.