Sometimes working out isn’t just about achieving improved fitness overall – it can be about targeting one specific zone of the body. Whether you’re training for an athletic event, or you want to improve a specific body part, targeted workouts can be helpful for anyone.
At Embody Fitness, we see clients with all sorts of requests for targeted workouts. One of our most popular? Building up the leg muscles. Here, we present the three best leg exercises for building muscle mass and achieving strong, shapely legs.
1. The Goblet Squat – To Tone Your Thighs
A Goblet Squat is an easy variation of a squat. You use a kettlebell to maximise a workout for your thighs. While toning your thighs, it simultaneously stretches other muscles in your legs like the lats, hamstrings, and calves.
To perform a Goblet Squat, stand with your feet apart, parallel to your hips. In this position, hold a kettlebell in front of you and point your elbows toward the floor. Start your squat, by pushing back your hips and bending your knees. Then head back up and bam! You are finished with your first rep.
For optimal results, we recommend 4 sets of 8 reps. This exercise will keep the blood flowing while giving you time to recover.
2. The Classic Step Up – To Work Your Quads
It’s no secret that taking the stairs helps your legs. But what you might not know is that doing step-ups helps your whole lower body, from your hamstrings to your glutes. This simple exercise is beyond convenient to execute. You can do step-ups in the weight room or out in the real world, so no excuses! To help your quads look fit this year, incorporate this classic move into your routine.
For best form when doing step-ups, start with one leg flat on the ground and one on a step, stair, or even workout box. Using the foot that’s located on the stair as a balancing point, drive your other foot up. After that, rotate your opposite knee until you make a 90-degree angle. Hold it for a moment. After that, return to your starting form with one foot elevated and the other on the ground. Congratulations, you’ve now completed a rep!
To give yourself a balanced physique, we recommend completing a set of 10 then alternating the elevated foot. For an ideal workout, give yourself three full sets on either side.
You can perform step-ups throughout your workout or do them all at once. Just be sure to complete each paired set at the same time. If you want a challenge, hold a kettlebell or weight ball to really step up the exercise.
3. A Hip Raise – To Attack Stubborn Fat
One thing many of our female clients want to work on is eliminating fat and cellulite. To address that, we often recommend single leg hip raises. This move is great for cardio and challenges your muscles while being a great body-weight focused exercise.
Start on your back with your arms out at your sides. Extend your arms to 45-degree angles and bend your knee with your foot planted firmly on the floor. While doing this, keep your other leg outstretched. Then slowly elevate it until its height matches your thigh. Once you’ve reached that point, push your hips high while squeezing with your glute muscles and hold for about ten to twenty seconds. You will feel your lower back rise slightly, and then return to your starting spot.
Try this activity in sets of 7 reps and alternate sides just as with the step-ps. Try three sets on each side for an ideal burn.
In the End
The best leg workouts are the ones you can be consistent with, whilst still challenging yourself. The goblet squat, classic step-up and hip raises are just a small selection of the many ways that we help our clients target specific areas of their legs while building the desirable muscle that they are after. Good luck!