If you want to show off toned legs, one of the muscle groups you have to work is your quadriceps, also referred to as your quads. The quadriceps are located at the front of your thighs and are comprised of four different muscles, the main function of which is to straighten your knees. The area above the knee, where the muscle becomes a tendon, is a common location for injuries. To avoid straining the upper leg muscles while exercising, proper form is required.
Perform stationary lunges. Lunges primarily tone the thigh area above the knees; they also tone the back of the thighs and the buttocks. Take a step forward with your right leg, and lean your upper body forward so your weight rests on your right foot. Balance your left leg on the ball of your left foot. Bend both your knees to lower your upper body down so your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Push through your front heel to raise yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat the motion 12 times before switching legs. Perform three sets.
Incorporate the squat exercise to train the front of your legs. Squats also exercise the hamstrings. Stand with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart. Bend your knees no more than 90-degrees to lower your upper body down as if to sit in a chair. Push through your heels to raise yourself back up to the starting position. Do not lock out your knees; keep them slightly bent. Perform three sets of 12 repetitions each.
Include seated leg extensions in your leg exercise routine. Leg extensions isolate and train the quadriceps. Position yourself on the leg extension machine so your knees are at a 90-degree angle. Use a challenging weight that is heavy enough so your last repetition of each set is difficult to execute. Hook your feet behind the weighted pad and extend your lower legs forward. Hold the tension for two seconds, and slowly lower your legs back to the starting position. Complete three sets of 12 repetitions.
Walk, jog or ride a bike outdoors. These forms of cardiovascular exercise tone your upper legs and burn calories. Go uphill to add a greater challenge. Your leg muscles have to work harder to tone and sculpt themselves. Exercise outdoors instead of using stationary cardiovascular machines because stationary machines help to propel you and, therefore, you do not use your leg muscles as much. Exercise three times per week for 30 minutes per session.
Tips & Warnings
- Consult your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
- Warm up your leg muscles by walking or jogging for 10 minutes.
- Hold onto dumbbell weights to make lunges and squats more challenging.
- Seated leg extensions can also be done by sitting on a bench with ankle weights on your feet.
- Exercise your leg muscles on three non-consecutive days of the week so there is plenty of time in between for the muscles to restore themselves.
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