Among the vast list of leg exercises out there, I’ve narrowed it down to 5 of the BEST leg exercises you can do to work the various leg muscles effectively and efficiently.
Ready for the top 5 best gym and home leg exercises for your next workout?
But before we get into the exact leg workout moves, you need to understand how important it is to strengthen your lower body. And also, I want to make sure you can do these exercises with ease (for confidence and for injury prevention), I’ll explain each one.
The Importance of Leg Day Defined:
- Overall Body Strength: When you train your legs, you’re actually working out multiple muscle groups! Leg Days are one of my favorites for this exact reason. It’s a great cardio workout (many of your leg muscles are the biggest in your body, so working them out is using a lot of energy and burning a lot of calories!)… AND your core is being utilized as well. Multiple birds. One stone.
- Symmetry: Ever seen someone at the gym with a huge upper body and scrawny legs? It’s not the best look.
Your 5 Best Leg Exercises Are: 1. Dumbbell Lunges , 2. Box Jumps , 3. Sumo Squats , 4. Hamstring Curls , 5. Weighted Barbell Squats
1. Dumbbell Lunges: This leg toning exercise can be stationary or walking lunges. One foot steps outward, bend your knees. Your front knee should not pass your toes and your back knee shouldn’t touch the ground.
2. Box Jumps: Stand in front of a heightened surface. Squat down to gain leverage so you can jump onto the height in front of you. Carefully step back after jumping.
3. Sumo Squats: Stand with your feet past shoulder width apart and your toes pointed outwards. Hold dumbbell with both hands and keep the weight in front of you (as pictured above). Squat down past parallel if possible, but make sure your knees don’t pass your toes. When you push up, push through your heels.
4. Hamstring Curls: This can be done on the “Hamstring Curl” Machine OR can be done on a bench/ flat surface with your legs hanging off the end and a dumbbell in between your ankles. Make sure you maintain control while curling your legs up to your butt. I think this may be the best leg exercise for bad knees. But consult with your medical doctor before giving any of these a try!
5. Weighted Barbell Squats: When doing weighted squats, form is CRUCIAL. So, use an appropriate weight (or no weight at all if you’re new to squats). Keep your chest up, and your knees behind your toes. Weighted Squats are certainly the most well known leg exercise for mass and toning – and for good reason too!
Are you ready to tone your legs?
These can be home leg exercises… or leg exercises at the gym! All of these exercises can be done at home (with the help of resistance bands and dumbbells!). Always make sure to keep form throughout all of these leg toning exercises! Safety first. When your form breaks, you put yourself at risk for injuring yourself. Additionally, stretching after doing weight exercises is beneficial for recovery.
*Images in the infographic are from WorkoutLabs. CWPS does not own or design them.
If you enjoyed learning about the Best Leg Exercises, you’ll also enjoy Cardio Exercises to Lose Weight Fast, The Best Glute Exercises and How To Do Them Correctly, and other free workouts!
Cardiovascular Workouts for Weight Loss
The word “cardio” often leads to groans and sighs of dread. The best cardio workouts cause even more cause for concern!
Why? Because the best cardio workouts are hard but they can also help you to lose weight fast!
I’m not going to sugarcoat that… But it’s supposed to be hard! Your hear rate needs to be up; your muscles need to be engaging; you need to push yourself! Burning fat requires cardio.
While cardio exercises are challenging, they fortunately don’t have to be complicated.
I’d rather you spend your time actually doing the cardio exercises, as opposed to thinking about how to do them…
8 Best Cardio Workouts to Lose Weight:
Just to make sure you can do these intense cardio exercises with ease, I’ll explain each one.
1. Burpee: Start in the standing position. Squat down and place your hands close to your feet on the ground. Propel both feet backwards into a plank position. Pushup Optional. Jump both feet back to your hands. Stand up and jump.
2. Renegade Row: Start in plank position with dumbbells or kettlebells in your hands. One arm at a time, lift weight straight back towards your chest, keeping your elbow inward and close to your body.
3. Mountain Climber: Start in the plank position. One leg at a time, bring your knee to your elbow. Alternate legs as fast as you can.
4. Plank Jack: Start in the plank position. Propel both feet outward, like a jumping jack. Return feet back together to start position. Repeat as fast as you can.
5. Dumbbell Squat Clean and Press: Start in the standing position with feet shoulder width apart and dumbbells at your side. Squat down. Then propel the weights to your chest by extending your hips and knees. Press weights up above shoulders.
6. Frog Jump: Start in the standing position with feet in wide stance and toes pointing outward. Squat down (and gain leverage). Jump as high as you can.
7. Box Jump: Stand in front of a heightened surface. Squat down to gain leverage so you can jump onto the height in front of you. Carefully step back down after jumping.
8. Jumping Lunge: Step forward with one leg and bend knee. Your back knee should not go down all the way to the floor (but close). Your front knee should not go past your toes. Jump and alternate legs.
These “best cardio workouts to lose weight” moves are designed to challenge you. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you! Challenge yourself, but do not injure yourself. Always consult your medical doctor! Cooling down and stretching after a cardio workout, especially an INTENSE cardio workout, can really help your body recover. As a personal trainer, I recommend walking for several minutes. Then, taking time to stretch your muscles. Make sure to stretch both your arms and legs! So many people only stretch leg muscles, don’t neglect your upper body and make sure to stretch arms too!
*images pictured in the info graphic were designed from WorkoutLabs; CWPS does not own them or design them
Related Post: Best 5 Leg Exercises You Absolutely Must Be Doing!
Fat-Blasting Ab Workout for a Toned Stomach
I’m doing my best to put up some of my workout plans up, especially the cardio and ab workout plans since they’re the most popular… Sorry I’ve been slacking!
It’s the start of a new week; so what better way to kick it off than with a cardio and an ab workout to LOSE belly fat. Kick it to curb! These exercises are designed to get your heart pumping. So please make sure you listen to your body and the signals it gives you mid-workout! Take rests and breaks as needed. This workout is very generic and isn’t tailored to your exact needs (I am more than happy to create a workout plan that’s designed for you, though!).
No Gym? No Problem! This Is A No Equipment Workout.
No weights or gym equipment necessary…but feel free to make the moves more challenging by adding weight if you want! Take minimal rests in between each exercise. But don’t worry, you can take a longer rest after you’ve completed the entire round! For example, just take 10-15 seconds of rest in between the 50 bicycles and 100 jump ropes. Then take a minute or two break after the 50 mountain climbers before going back to the top!
Ab Workout to Get Rid of Belly Fat
50 Bicycles (each leg)
100 Jump Ropes
50 Flutter Kicks (each leg)
100 Jumping Jacks
50 Leg Lifts
100 Jump Ropes
100 Jumping Jacks
50 Mountain Climbers
Beginners: Repeat 1 Time
Intermediate: Repeat 2 Times
Advanced: Repeat 3-4 Times
Related Post: 35 Fun Plank Variations For An Outstanding Ab Workout
Notes about this workout:
*For the Jump Ropes, you can use an actual jump rope, or just mimic the movements of jumping rope.
*To make the jumping jacks more challenging, you can squat every time you jump out.
Strengthen Your Upper Back and Your Lower Back in One Workout
It’s been awhile since I have posted a back day workout. In my honest opinion, there is nothing sexier than a toned back (Note: I’m singing Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back in my head).
This back day routine involves high reps AND heavy weights. As you’ll see, there are some exercises where you’ll be doing a high number of reps…and some exercises that you’ll be doing a low number of reps. You may have to adjust the amount of weight you are lifting depending on the number of repetitions.
Back Day Workout to Strengthen Those Back Muscles
Make sure you’re doing slow and controlled movements. Don’t slam or drop the weights when you’re letting go of the contraction. And as my fitness role model Sarah Bowmar would say — Imagine that your back muscles are “swallowing” your spine in every rep. And if you can, pause for a second at the peak… You will feel the burn, work the muscles in your back, and get the sexy back that you want! *Side note: most of these are back muscle exercises are for the gym (specialized equipment needed).
Important Note: This workout includes Assisted Pull-Ups, which requires an Assisted Pull Up machine… If you don’t have access to one, try Pull Up Assistance Bands. You just attach them to a bar and it’ll assist you in pulling your body up.
Sexy Back Workout:
5×10 Back Extensions
4×10 Narrow Reverse Grip Lat Pulldowns
3×10 Bent over Dumbbell Rows (each arm)
2×10 Assisted Pull-Ups
1×10 HEAVY Wide Grip Lat Pulldown
*the infographic with the workout illustrations is from Workout Labs. CWPS did not design, create, and does not own the illustrations.
If you enjoyed this workout, you may also enjoy Halter Top Ready Shoulder Workout, or 5 Exercises for Toned, Sexy Arms You Need To Do Now!
The Best Workout for Toned Legs
I’ve got a love/hate relationship with Leg Day Workouts. I love to see the results of it… but, man, leg day is HARD! Not to mention, you’ll feel all your hard work in your sore muscles for days after a good leg workout. Make sure to stretch and get your protein in after!
Related: The Best 5 Gym and Home Leg Exercises You Need To Do
This Workout Includes Some of the Best Glute Exercises, Inner Thigh Exercises, and Hamstring Exercises:
- 5-10 minutes on a stationary cardio machine (treadmill, bike, elliptical, stairmaster)
- 3×10 Weighted Squats. Increase the weight after each set.
- 10 Split Bulgarian Squats (one foot resting on a bench, so you’re only squatting with one leg)
- 20 Weighted Walking Lunges
- Repeat 3 times
- 10 Cable Donkey Kick-Backs (or, if you don’t have access to a cable machine, then just do regular donkey kick-backs)
- 20 Curtsy Lunges
- Repeat 3 times
- 75 Glute Bridges or Hip Thrusters (You can split this up into a couple of sets if you’d like!)
Related: The Best Glute Exercises and How To Do Them Correctly
If you enjoyed this workout, you may also enjoy some of my other workouts!
Get Rid of Stomach Fat with this Core Workout
This ab workout is designed to push you. You will definitely feel the burn intra-workout… And don’t be surprised if you feel sore tomorrow morning!
*Note: This workout consists of supersets. A superset is a combination of two or more exercises done successively. There is minimal (or no) rest in between the exercises. You can do supersets two different ways: Using two or more exercises for the same muscle group… or doing two or more exercises for antagonistic muscle groups. This workout uses both types of supersets.
Ab Workout Routine:
Includes Torso Twists, Decline Sit-Ups, Planks, and more!
- 5 minutes on stationary cardio machine (bike, stairmaster, treadmill, elliptical)
- 15 decline sit-ups
- 10 toes-to-barbell (lay on your back with your legs straight out, hold a barbell above your shoulders, bring your toes to the bar)
- 8 crawlouts (start standing up, bend at the waist and touch the ground and crawl out to a standard plank position, crawl back towards your feet and stand up)
- Repeat 4 times
- 30 torso twists with medicine ball or dumbbell
- 30 second plank, alternating knees to elbow
- 15 V-ups (if you need extra stability, you can use your hands by placing them on the ground next to you… just try not to rely on them too much!)
- Repeat 4 times
I did this killer ab workout on Friday night – give it a try on your next ab day!
Related Workouts: Cardio Workouts to Lose Weight Fast