Health

Best Exercises For Hot Legs

Best Exercises For Your Hot Legs!

Going hand in hand with the hotter days of summer are the shorter shorts and minis, and so naturally at this time of year, we get lots of questions from clients, specifically women, about which exercise is the best one to tone their legs.

stepupa(1)Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a best exercise for any body part.  You see, the best program for sculpting any area is to incorporate a variety of exercises that challenge the muscles in a number of different ways.  And on top of that, you’ll need to regularly change and modify those exercises every 4-8 weeks to ensure regular progress.

Specifically, you should incorporate exercises like lunges, squats, step ups, bridging etc.  And there are a ton of variations within each of these exercises so the key is to mix it up!

Squats, lunges and step ups are really great choices because they challenge all the major muscle groups in the lower body so they are efficient and effective.  So if you have time for only one exercise, pick a variation of either of these.  If you can’t do deep lunges or squats, start with just small bends at the knees or ‘mini-squats’ or ‘mini-lunges’ and progress as you get stronger.

And of course, you’re going to have to perform some cardio exercise and ensure you’re diet is healthy.  This will help to burn off any fat overlying your muscles so the definition of the muscles will surface. 

Here’s 3 of my favorite lower body exercises:

lungeb1Lunge:

Start by holding a set of hand weights at your side.  Stand with one leg positioned in front of the other leg.  Keep the front knee over top of the ankle.  Keep the back knee underneath or slightly behind your hips.  Slowly lower the back knee towards the ground keeping the front knee over top the ankle the entire time. Only lower as low as you feel comfortable – the lowest point should be when your knee is at a 90-degree angle or your upper thigh is parallel to the ground (again, remember that it’s better to only lower a few degrees with perfect form than try to lunge lower with sloppy technique; increase the depth of your lunge as you get stronger).  Keep your body weight positioned over the front leg – this is your working leg.  Maintain proper posture and keep your abdominals contracted.

Complete 8-12 reps to fatigue for each leg.
As you get stronger, you can progress to dynamic or walking lunges as you lunge from one leg right into the next leg.

Step Up:

               stepupa(1)    Stepupb(1)                 

Holding a set of hand weights, position yourself in front of a bench with one foot on the bench.  The bench should be at a height that puts your knee at a 90 degree angle.  Keep your kneecap facing forward and your weight distributed on all four corners of your foot.  Now slowly step up extending the supporting knee into a fully upright, balanced position.  Now slowly lower yourself down to the starting position.  Perform one set of 8-12 reps to fatigue for each leg.  Keep the height shorter if this bothers your knees at all.

bridgeb1Bridging:

Lay on your back with your legs bent and your feet positioned on the floor.  With your arms at your side, slowly lift your hips and buttocks up towards the ceiling while contracting your glutes (buttocks) and hamstrings (back of thigh) until your body weight is resting comfortably on your shoulder blades.  Throughout the entire exercise, be sure to keep your hips square to the ceiling and your abdominals contracted.  Slowly lift up and down 8-20x.  As you develop strength in your legs, you can do this exercise on just one leg – just be sure not to tilt to one side while doing these 1-leg lifts.  Or try with your legs on a stability ball.

Note: 

We are hosting a Running Clinic every Wednesday night at 5:30pm starting May 8th. Running is great exercise for your lower body so here’s your chance to tighten those legs!

We are also hosting a Triathlon Training clinic that you can still join! Triathlons are another way to work your entire body, especially your legs!  We will help get you to the finish line and tighten and tone through the process.

 

Sherri McMillan, M.Sc. has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for over 25 years and has received numerous industry awards including International Personal Trainer and Fitness Presenter of the Year. She is the author of five books including “Go For Fit – the Winning Way to Fat Loss” and “Fit over Forty” and is the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs.  She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and can be seen running, hiking or cycling with her two children, Brianna and Jackson.  She can be reached at www.nwPersonalTraining.com or www.ShapeupwithSherri.com

Note:  As an avid Columbian reader, you can redeem a 2 week pass at her world-class training studio to help get you started.  Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 30 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver and Salmon Creek, hosts races at WHY Racing Events, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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