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Leg Workouts: How to Tone Your Thighs Using 5 Leg Exercises

5 mins read
Isobel Krüger
Written by Isobel Krüger
Isobel Krüger

Written by Isobel Krüger

Isobel is a health and fitness writer, and also a health and fitness fanatic in real life. She loves researching the latest health and fitness topics and trends that can make life healthier, happier, and easier.

on October 22, 2022
Pavel Balezin
Fact checked by Pavel Balezin
Pavel Balezin

Fact checked by Pavel Balezin

Pavel Bazelin is a fitness expert at Unimeal. He owns a fitness studio and works as a personal trainer. His education includes a bachelor’s degree in Health, Fitness, and Recreation.

The Unimeal team works to give you the most accurate and up-to-date information. All texts are reviewed by a panel of experts and editors and updated according to the latest research. Only evidenced-based and verified sources of leading medical publications and universities get into the article materials.

Legs can be a touchy subject for many when it comes to finding leg workouts that sculpt your legs the way you want them to look. Some leg workouts focus on making legs bulky, but on the other hand, if you don’t add a little resistance, you won’t really be adding some crucial lean muscle.

Table of content

So, what is the perfect leg workout? We’ve put together the top five leg workouts you can use to tone and sculpt, and no, it doesn’t involve squats! Take a look at how you can do these exercises at home or at the gym and what you can do to get even faster leg-toning results. 

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How Many Leg Workouts Should You Do

When it comes to exercising your legs, it’s important to remember that you need to exercise your whole body and do regular cardio to lose body fat. So, it’s not only about toning but also about losing unwanted fat all over your body that may put you at risk for health issues such as belly fat. 

Making sure you focus on your whole body is key, but if you feel your legs need an extra push during your workouts, you can increase the intensity or reps, depending on your goal and fitness level. 

How Often to Do Leg Workouts

It’s better not to overwork your legs and allow the muscle some time to recover, so if you’re going to focus on leg exercises, make sure you do them three to four times a week with rest days in between.

Leg Workouts and the Muscles They Work

If you’re looking to tone every part of your legs with some glute toning as a bonus, then you should take a look at our top five leg workouts. We’ll tell you exactly which muscles they target, how you can modify the exercise to make it more challenging, and how many reps to do when you do a leg day. 

1.The Hip Raise

Also known as the “Bridge,” this exercise is a must-have if you’re looking for an effective back-leg toner. You can easily do hip lifts at home or at the gym, making it a versatile and effective leg-toning exercise.

  • Target muscles include the hamstrings, glutes, and core.
  • Lie on your back with your shoulders and the small of your back pressed against the floor. Push your heels into the floor and lift your hips while squeezing your glutes and abs. For more intensity, you can do hip raises with one leg raised, or you can place a weight on your hips to increase the resistance.  
  • Reps: You can perform three reps of 10-20 hip raises. 

2. Plank Jacks

Plank jacks are known to strengthen the whole body with a cardio twist, and this fun combination of the Plank and Jumping Jacks does wonders for your legs.

  • The target muscles are the core, glutes, hamstrings, calves, and quads, but your whole body will get a kick from this move. 
  • Plank Jacks are home and gym-friendly. Simply start in a plank position, making sure your core is activated, and your back is straight and strong, and start jumping your legs in and out as if you’re doing jumping jacks. It’s crucial to keep your posture while you jump, so focus on strong arms and a straight back. 
  • Reps: Start with three sets of ten reps. One rep includes the legs jumping out and back in again.

3. Side Lunges

Including side lunges in your leg routine helps with balance and coordination as well as being a super thigh toner

  • You can count on Side Lunges to tone your inner and outer thighs, quads, hamstrings, and glutes!
  • A basic side lunge doesn’t need special equipment, but you can add weights as your legs become stronger. Start in a standing position with your feet together and your legs straight. Maintain a front-facing position with your body and feet as you take a big step to your left or right, as if you’re trying to sit down into a chair with only one-half of your body. Then, step the leg back and repeat on the other side.
  • Reps Three sets of ten reps is a good starting point. Make sure you count both legs as one rep. 

4. Speed Skaters

This move is the ultimate combination of strength and cardio, toning your legs while making you fitter and more agile. 

  • Speed Skaters target all the major muscle groups in your legs, making it a leg-workout staple.
  • Your starting position is standing with your feet under your shoulders and knees slightly bent. Jump laterally to the left and right, starting with small jumps at first and then going wider and faster as your body becomes stronger. 
  • As jumping to both sides counts as a rep, start with three sets of seven to ten reps to get used to this dynamic leg-toning cardio move. 

5. Static Lunge

Static lunges are similar to traditional lunges, except that you’re not actively stepping your legs into a lunge position. This version is more passive but nonetheless a leg scorcher!

  • Static lunges target your quads and glutes but also strengthen the leg as a whole. 
  • Start in a lunging position with one leg at 45 degrees (knee behind the tip of your foot) and the other backward and straight. Slowly lower our back leg to the floor, and without touching the floor, bring it back up. Make sure your movements are controlled and contract your muscles to help you stay balanced. 
  • Do five to seven reps and then switch to the other leg. This is one set. Try to complete three sets on both sides. 

Tips to recover faster from workouts

After doing a leg day, you’ll need to give your legs a day off from intense exercise and make sure that you stay hydrated. 

Consuming lean protein and magnesium-rich foods like kale or spinach can help your muscles recover faster, so you’ll be ready for the next leg burner session. Also, ensure to get as least eight hours of sleep as this allows your body to speed up the repair process. 

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