Strengthening and toning your legs at home can work just as well as going to the gym. Women who want shapely thighs and calves can practice a routine of lunges, pliès, heel raises, squats and scissor kicks, in part or in whole, up to five days a week. The moves concentrate on muscle lengthening and development through the legs with a focus on the hips and glutes, too, for an overall sleek appearance.
Lunges shape your legs and butt for a continuously defined line. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Put your hands on your hips and take a big step forward. Lower your body until your back leg makes a right angle and raise up using the leg muscles. Repeat three sets of 30 on each side.
Pliès are a ballet move that tones the inner and outer thighs, hips and buttocks. Stand with your feet slightly farther apart than your shoulders and step each foot outward just a bit. Turn your toes out and lower your body about 6 inches, before raising up again. Put your hands gently in front you or on your hips for balance. Repeat three sets of 30.
Heel raises sculpt your calves quickly. If you're lean, the difference in muscle definition may be apparent in just a few days. Stand with your feet just a little wider than your shoulders and raise onto your tiptoes. Hold for two seconds. Lower yourself slowly. For an advanced version, try it on the edge of a stair. Repeat three sets of 40.
Squatting with weights can work almost every muscle in your body, but a variation without weights focuses on the lower body so your legs look graceful without upper-body bulk. This variation tones the thighs, hips and glutes. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keep your arms at your side and maintain straight posture. Lower your glutes the same way you would to sit in a chair and continue to lower them several inches. Raise up again slowly. If you want a tougher version, put dumbbells on the floor. Alternate picking them up and putting them down as you lower. Repeat three sets of 20.
Scissor kicks tone and slim the thighs and shape the hip flexors. Lie supine with your arms at your sides and your legs extended. Lift your legs about 45 degrees off the floor, keeping your toes pointed. Cross the right thigh over the left and then the left over the right. Repeat 30 reps.
If you have space at home, a stationary bike is an effective leg workout. Cycling works the thighs, calves, hips and buttocks for an overall toned lower body. Riding a half-hour a day up to five days a week melts fat so that your sculpting efforts are more apparent, too.