08 July, 2011
The Best Exercise Routines to Firm and Tone Flabby Legs
Strong, lean legs help you lead an active lifestyle while creating a healthy physique. Exercises focusing on your thighs, buttocks and calves will help tone and strengthen your leg muscles. Remove excess fat with cardiovascular exercises that burn calories and fat throughout your entire body. The final component of achieving firm, flab-free legs is diet. Maintain a healthy diet by choosing whole-grain foods, lean protein, plenty of fruits and vegetables and drink eight glasses of water per day.
Basic exercises like lunges, calf raises and squats work the leg muscles best, according to "Fitness" magazine contributor, physiologist and author of "Sculpting Her Body Perfect," Brad Schoenfeld. Perform a basic squat by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Place your hands on your hips or straighten your arms in front of you to help keep your back straight. Squat down by bending at the knees, allowing your bottom to push behind you as if you were going to sit in a chair. Avoid injury or strain by keeping your spine straight and ensuring that your knees stay above your ankles. Squeeze all of your thigh and glute muscles as you return to starting position. Schoenfeld recommends two to three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions, with a 30-second rest between sets.
Vary the basic squat to target different leg, thigh and buttock muscles. A split squat requires you to rest one foot on a chair or bench about 2 feet behind you. Bend into a squat, making sure your front leg forms a 90-degree angle. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions before switching to the opposite leg. The sissy squat targets your thighs and hamstrings. Perform a sissy squat by standing with your right side next to a chair, grasping it with your right hand. Raise up onto your toes and bend your knees as you lean your straightened torso back about 45 degrees. Keep your abdominal muscles engaged as you return to starting position, keeping your toes raised. Perform 15 to 20 repetitions, then lower your heels back to the floor.
The clamshell exercise will tone your inner and outer thighs and buttocks. Begin by lying on your left side on a mat, resting your head comfortably on your left arm. Bend your knees 45 degrees, stacking them on top of each other. Keeping your left leg planted on the mat, lift your right knee up as far as possible while keeping your ankles together. Return your top knee to the bottom slowly by squeezing all of your thigh and glute muscles. The movement mimics a clamshell opening and closing. Return your top knee to starting position and repeat the movement, emphasizing the closing of the clamshell. Complete five to 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
Lunges target all of your leg muscles and can be varied to keep your toning sessions interesting. Get the most out of your workouts with the three-way lunge, recommends Schoenfeld. Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart and your hands clasped in front of your chest. Lunge forward with your left leg, placing it about 3 feet in front of your body. Your left knee should form a 90-degree angle and your right leg will extend with your knee almost reaching the floor. Push back up with your left leg to return to starting position. Lunge again with your left leg, but this time lunge to your left side with your toes pointing forward. Return to starting position and complete one repetition of the three-way lunge by lunging your left leg behind your body. Repeat the sequence with your right leg.
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