It’s just so easy to pick up some weights and train the upper body. By nature, we’re more inclined to focus on our upper body, too. But you should never emphasize on one area of your body and ignore the other. Upper body workouts
are useless unless you’re mixing them up with lower body ones. So make sure to have a great leg workout in place to ensure both halves of the body are balanced. And to get you started, here’s one of the best leg workouts for women that’s been broken up into the key leg muscle areas.
Calves are probably one of the hardest muscles in the body to target. And with women, the goal is often to shape nice lean calf muscles, not bulk up. Running and walking each day is a great way to work any of the leg muscles but it’s not always enough. Any of these moves can be done at home
or at the gym and performing these three key calf muscle exercises is a sure fire way to leaner, stronger calves.
a) Step Up
If you’re at home, find yourself something sturdy and stable to stand on, anything that would support your weight. Often, this move can be done right on the stairs, too. Begin by standing in front of the object (or stairs) and raise one foot up on top, propelling your body upwards without bending your waist or other leg. (if you’re doing this on the stairs, try using the second last step as a gage in height). Ease yourself back down in the standing position and repeat for 2 sets of 8 reps. Alternate to the other leg and continue. If this move is being done at the gym, then just use one of the stepping tools available.
b) Leg Curl
This move can be done at home with ankle weights or a weighted object you can balance with your feet. Have a seat on a chair and strap on the weights. Keeping your back straight and your arms firmly at your sides, begin to curl your legs upwards, keeping your ankles together. Ease back down and repeat for 2 sets of 8 reps. If this move is done at the gym, there are actual leg curl exercise machines that can help you with it, or just use your ankle weights there, too. Both will work.
c) Leg Press
If you’re doing this one at home, then you need to find a good weight that you can balance with your feet or a set of heavy ankle straps. Lay with your back against the floor, arms flat at your sides. Bend at the waist and extend your feet into the air with the weight on. Proceed to bend your knees, bringing the weight down towards your body. Release and extend your legs back up. Repeat for 2 sets of 8 reps. If you’re doing this move at the gym, then you could simply use the leg press machine and choose your desired weight. Make sure to start off small and work up your tolerance. Pressing too much weight can hurt your lower back and damage your calf muscles.
Your glutes, aka your buttocks area, is always debated whether it’s a leg muscles area or part of the upper body. For arguments sake, we’re including it in the lower body area and listing three great exercises to help bust your butt and firm your booty. The buttock is a place on the body where we hold most of our weight gain (aside from the mid section) and is often a source of turmoil for women trying to get in shape, so it’s very important to have some good glutes exercises included in your lower (or upper) body workout.
There are two different types of bridges. The one which originated from a yoga move where you raise your whole body in the air and support it with your hands and feet, similar to the crab walk we used to do as kids. And the second is the one we’ll explain here. Begin by laying face up on the floor. Straighten your body and lay your arms at your sides. Bending at the knees, bring your feet in an firmly place them flat on the floor. Proceed to push your pelvis into the air and clench your glutes. Hold for a moment and release yourself back down to the floor. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps.
b) Leg Raise
Reposition yourself so that you are kneeling on the floor in a crawling position. Place your hands shoulder width apart and look straight ahead, keeping your body and spine as straight as possible. Proceed to take one leg and move it back and up, tightening the glutes as your do. Hold for a moment and then release your leg back down to the floor. Repeat this exercise for 2 sets of 10 reps before switching to the other leg and starting over. A great way to switch this one up is to extend your leg out to the side rather than behind you. This will shift the focus to other parts of the legs.
Can’t say no to an old classic. A standard squat is one of the best, and most effective ways to work your glutes. Plus, you get a thigh workout in with it. Super! So, begin by standing straight, feet shoulder width apart. Extend your arms out straight in front of your body for balance and also to throw in some resistance training for your abs. Proceed to squat down and hold it for a moment. Ease back up into the standing positon and repeat this for 2 sets of 8 reps.
Thighs are the upper part of the legs, the meatier side, you could say. In order to work the thigh area, you have to break it down even further. There’s the inner thigh, the back (hamstrings), and the front (quads). These three key thigh exercises
should help you to target these main areas of the upper leg and end off a great leg workout for women.
a) Side Swing
Stand straight with your feet shoulder width apart. If you’re doing this exercise at home hen place your hands against the wall in front of you, extending your arms so they are straight and force you to stand a good distance from the wall. Begin with one leg first and proceed to swing it out to the side and then back again but continue to the other side, crossing it in front of your body. This really helps get at the inner thigh and also works the side. Repeat for 2 sets of 10 reps before switching to the other leg. If you’re doing this move at the gym, all of the same steps apply but you can utilize a bar instead of the wall.
b) Angled Lunge
Just like a regular lunge, an angled one really attacks those thigh muscles. But by lunging at an angle you emphasize on the inner thigh as well as the back. Stand straight with your hands placed firmly on your hips. Begin by lunging forward with one foot, but move it to the side about 45 degrees rather than directly in front of you. Propel your body back upright and repeat for 2 sets of 8 reps. Then, switch and alternate to the other leg.
c) Knee Bounce
This one is easy and fun! Stand straight with your feet placed shoulder width apart. Bend your elbows and hold them to your sides while reaching your hands out, palms down. Begin by giving a slight jump and bounce your knee up to touch one of your hands. Keep up a pace, switching back and forth between knees. This moves actually doubles as an excellent thigh exercise as well as a great calf workout. Win, win!
- Stay hydrated! Makes sure to drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after any workout. This helps keep you from dehydrating and also feeds your tired muscles.
- Stretch out your joints and limbs prior to any workout. This helps to avoid muscle cramping or other injuries. Afterwards, stretch out your tired muscles to help ease them down from the workout.
- If you experience major pain or discomfort while exercising, then be sure to contact your doctor immediately. Exercising on an injury can lead to permanent damage.