If you want to tone your thighs and legs, you should include some lower body exercises into your regular workout routine. Having strong lower limbs can enhance your overall physical performance, helping make walking up flights of stairs or lifting heavy objects a lot easier. It can also take your athletic goals to the next level, allowing you to be faster and last longer, especially if you are training for a marathon or a race.
Lower body exercises do not have to be complicated or require gym equipment to be effective. There are several that you can do using just your bodyweight. You do not even have to go to the gym too. There are plenty that you can try doing at home, in your own room or in the backyard, which offers the privacy that a lot of beginners to exercise desire.
Why should you start focusing on your lower body?
Strengthening your lower body is key to achieving optimal health and physical performance, so you should not neglect it. Below are some of the benefits of doing regular lower body exercises:
You can boost your overall fitness level
Your body is made up of several different muscle groups that work together to ensure that you can be at your best. If only a few of them are getting some exercise, there will be an imbalance in strength and toning that can impact your overall physical performance.
Regular exercise can help increase your metabolism, as your different muscle groups are being worked hard. By working your lower body, you can make your body work harder, boosting your metabolism even more.
You can improve your running efficiency
Running is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that gets your heart rate up, lowering your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke, and other diseases. The more you run, the better your heart health is. Through lower body exercises, you can increase your running speed and distance, and improve your stamina and endurance.
What are examples of good at-home, no-equipment-necessary lower body exercises?
You do not need a gym membership to boost your lower body strength and endurance. There are many kinds of simple lower body exercises that you can do at home or any place you want. They also can be done without any special gym or workout equipment. With just your body weight and some comfortable workout clothes and shoes, below are examples of easy and beginner-friendly lower body exercises for you:
This exercise is great for your glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quads. To do it, start by standing with your feet about shoulder-width apart, your back straight, and your arms at your sides. Then, engage your core, push your hips and buttocks back, and lower your body by bending your knees a little bit. Raise your arms out front as you do this. Once you come to a sitting position, hold still for a few seconds. Go back to the starting position, and repeat.
2. High Knees
This exercise targets the glutes, quads, calves, and hamstrings. To do it, start by standing with your feet close to each other. Extend your hands out in front of your abdomen, with your palms facing down. Then, start jogging in place. As the minutes go by, try to raise your knees higher to work your heart and lungs harder. Raise your knees high enough to reach your palms. After every minute of jogging, take a 30-second break to catch your breath and rest. Repeat.
3. Pile Squat Calf Raises
This exercise tones the glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors, and calves. To do it, start by standing with your feet a bit wider apart than your shoulder-width. Get into a squat position, as you slowly raise your heels off the floor. To not lose your balance, you might need to raise your arms out in front of you. Hold that position for 5 to 10 seconds, before going back to starting position. Repeat.
4. Jump Squats
This exercise is a great workout for your glutes, adductors, calves, hamstrings, and quads. To do it, start by standing straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Engage your core, and get into a squat position, as you place both of your hands close to your chest. Using your lower body strength, push yourself up and jump off the floor. Carefully land on the floor and return to the squat position. Repeat.
5. Wall Sits
This exercise can tone your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings. To do it, stand against a wall. Make sure that your back, hips, thighs, and legs touch the wall. Slowly lower your body to a sitting pose, keeping your back pushed against the wall. Put both of your hands on your thighs. Remain in that position for about 30 seconds. Go back to starting position, and rest for about 10 seconds. Repeat.
6. Standing Side Leg Kicks
This exercise is perfect for the hip flexors, glutes, adductors, abductors, hamstrings, and quads. To do it, start by standing straight with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Put your right hand on your waist, and then slowly raise your right leg straight out to your right side. Try to keep your body as straight and as still as possible. Hold that position for about 5 to 10 seconds. Go back to starting position, and switch sides.
This exercise builds the muscles in the lower abdomen, lower back, buttocks, thighs, and legs. To do it, start by getting on all fours. Raise your right knee and foot off the floor, and then kick your right heel up. Slowly bring your right leg back to the floor. This time, raise your left knee and foot off the floor and kick your left heel up. Repeat, alternating between your right and left legs.
To avoid injuries, make sure to:
- Warm up and stretch before starting
- Pace yourself
- Listen to your body
- Take breaks