Tired of doing the same old squats and lunges for your leg workout? We totally get it. The next time you want to tone your lower half, try these moves — you’ll sculpt gorgeous gams that’ll have heads turning.
Exercise 1: Spinning / Cycling
Cycling is a motion that constantly engages your leg muscles (and your core). It is great conditioning for your big muscle groups: quads, hamstrings, calves.
The remaining lists are isolation exercises. This means, you are isolating one particular muscle to focus on developing it.
Exercise 2: Calf Raises
Most gyms have calf raise machines. You may perform this exercise on any of those and add weight onto the machine accordingly. Or, you can perform this exercise by standing on an elevated floor (or stair) with one hand against the wall for support if necessary. Have just your toes on the platform and the rest of your foot in the “air”. Press up onto your tippy-toes and slowly lower your foot back down below the stair without sliding off. You can hold a dumbbell in your other hand.
Exercise 3: Quad Extension
Using the quad extension machine, set it up so it fits your body appropriately. The goal for you is to focus on your tempo. This means: quick up, pause at the top, and lower the weight very slowly on the way down.
Exercise 4: Dumbbell Stiff-Legged Deadlifts
Grab a set of dumbbells that will challenge you to the 10 to 12 rep range and hold them in each of your hands. Stand with your legs just less than shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight the whole time and slight bend in the knees, slowly lower the weights down toward the ground. You should feel a nice pull in your hamstring muscles. Control on your way down and use power on your way up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
Tip for beginners: Have a trainer assess or guide you if this is your first time completing this exercise to ensure proper form and technique.
General tip: If your low back begins to hurt, first strengthen your low-back with isolation exercises before performing this exercise.
Exercise 5: Laying Hamstring Curl Machine
Using the laying hamstring curl machine, set it up so it fits your body accordingly. Your goal on this machine is to focus on your tempo: power on the way up, then pause for 1 second and slowly lower the weight back down. This exercise is designed to shape and strengthen your hamstrings!