After a year of lockdown legs and endless chats about our daily walks, the motivation to use our legs for many has now somewhat diminished. We’ve all been sitting for way longer than we used to and our leg muscles really haven’t been working to their full capacity…
With summer just around the corner and temperatures soaring we are all keen to get our dresses and shorts on and the legs out….
So, what can we do to prepare our pins for their first social occasions in months? The good news is that it does not involve expensive gym memberships, hard to find equipment or indeed hours spent pounding treadmills – the answer is just 6 leg moves for 30 minutes a day (in the comfort of your home) and ideally 3 times a week.
I have devised the following 6 moves guaranteed to tone and sculpt your legs in just one simple circuit.
Incorporating all the leg muscles in these easy-to-follow exercises this is a program for all fitness levels and can be done with a resistance band if possible, to increase the intensity, or just with bodyweight. And for our motivation? It’s short and sweet so will not cut into your busy day.
The key to the programme is consistency. If you stick with the circuit 3 times a week you WILL see the benefits & feel great in those summer outfits. And the added bonus? Strength training is essential to increase our muscle mass & our bone density, so you are protecting your body for the long term at the same time.
Here Is How:
Exercise 1: Squats. Targets: Quads/Hamstrings/Glutes Sets 3 – Reps 15
Stand with feet in a “sumo squat” stance with feet wider than shoulder width apart and turned out. Bend at the knees pushing your hips back as if sitting into a chair. Knees stay out in line with toes and the chest stays lifted, shoulders back. Keep your back straight, not rounded and with your core engaged. Keep lowering until your thighs are parallel to the floor if possible. Take your time!
Exercise 2: Reverse Lunges. Targets Hamstrings/Glutes – Sets 3. Reps 20 (10 Each Leg)
Standing at the end of your mat with your feet shoulder width apart take a big stride back with your right leg so that your back knee is at a 90 degree angle. Ensure your left knee doesn’t bend inwards and that you stay upright with the upper body. Push through the front heel as you step your foot back to the starting position and switch to the other side.
Exercise 3: Curtsy Lunges. Targets Quads/Glutes – Sets 3 Reps 15 Each Leg
Standing with your feet hip width apart take a diagonal step with one foot behind the other, performing a curtsy position, bending the back knee towards the ground as deeply as possible. Ensure you do not twist the upper body and keep chest lifted, shoulders back. Do not twist the front knee as you take the other leg back. Bring the back leg back to the standing position and repeat on this side for 15 reps. Then repeat.
Exercise 4: Glute Bridges: Targets Glutes Sets 3 – 20 Reps
Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet directly under your knees relax the upper body. Then tilt your pelvis gently towards you and in doing so push your weight through your heels taking your hips off the floor. Squeeze your glutes as you raise your hips, taking a pause at the top and then gently lowering to the floor. You can also use a resistance band above the knees for an extra challenge.
Exercise 5: Side Lying Leg Lift Targets Outer Thighs /Glutes Sets 3 – 15 Reps Each Leg
Lie on your side with your bottom knee bent underneath you, ensure you are in a straight line. Support the head. Flex the foot and slowly raise the leg, focus on leading with the heel, engage the core as you lift the leg. Do not go too high and make it a slow raise! You can add a band for more of a challenge.
Exercise 6: Donkey Kicks Targets Glutes Sets 3 – 15 Reps Each Leg
On all 4s, shoulders over wrists, strong straight back, core engaged. Without rounding the spine engage your abs and keep a 90 degree bend in your knee. Slowly raise the leg toward the ceiling keeping the knee bent & ensuring your back does not arch.
So here are the 6. Are you ready for the challenge?
About The Author
Caroline has been a personal trainer for over 20 years specialising in strength training & group exercise classes. In 2020 she founded Caroline’s Circuits, an online fitness platform with live 30 minute strength workouts which have been a huge success. Follow Caroline on Instagram @carolinescircuits or via the website www.carolinescircuits.com