Legs are one – well, two – of the easiest body parts to tone from home because you can really work them without using any equipment. This five-minute routine will give you leaner, stronger, more toned legs and, when combined with our booty-busting exercises, will result in the ultimate lower-body workout. These moves work everything including the quads, calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes. Repeat each exercise below for one minute and feel the burn to stronger, leaner legs.
Lunges can be done in a variety of ways, which is why you’ll find a few variations as part of this routine. It’s a brilliant exercise that can be adjusted to specifically target certain muscles and maximize a leg work. Compared to forward lunges, these reverse lunges are less impactful on the knees but just as effective.
Start with your feet hip-width apart, then step back with one leg and lower that knee to the ground, ensuring your front knee is in line with your foot and not pushing over too much. Keep your body upright and look straight ahead to maintain proper posture. Come back to standing position by pressing your front foot into the ground and using it to spring back to an upright position. Switch legs and repeat.
This variation on the classic lunge targets both the glutes and the quadricep muscles whilst also strengthening the abductors and adductors. Start by moving one leg behind the other so that your thighs cross. Plant the back foot on the ground, giving that knee enough space to lunge behind the other. It’s important to keep your hips facing forward as equally as possible and ensure that your feet are balanced. Return to the starting position, standing tall, and repeat the movement for 30 seconds before switching legs.
Squats might not be a new move, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less effective! In fact, they’re one of the best exercises you can do to tone and lift your legs and glutes. If you don’t have dumbbells at home, use body weight alone and add more weight as you get stronger.
Start with your feet hip-width apart and your toes pointed slightly outwards. With a straight back and neutral spine, lower your hips down and back behind you, as if you’re going to sit on a chair. Keep your knees in line with your toes so that they’re not reaching over them. Lower your body down to just above 90 degrees and squeeze your glutes to come back up into a standing position.
These can be performed on any solid surface, like a coffee table or a chair. We recommend putting your chair on a mat for stability if that’s the surface you choose. Begin with one foot firmly on the chair or surface of your choice, with your chest up and eyes looking ahead. Press your heel down into the chair, bringing your other leg up to meet it. Pull the freestanding knee through to a 90-degree angle and then lower it back down onto the ground. Repeat for 30 seconds before switching legs.
Side lunges are another great variation of the regular lunge that targets the quads and glute muscles. Begin in a strong standing position and take a large step out to the side with your right foot. Once the foot is firmly planted on the ground, lower your body, dipping your hips into the side-lunge position. Ensure your bent knee doesn’t push over the foot. To get back to the starting position, push off the bent leg and repeat for 30 seconds before switching legs.
Carly Neave is the blogger behind LeanLivingGirl, a health and fitness website based in Dubai.
Photographer Renjith Krishnakripa