Your legs contain the largest volume of muscle on your body, and exercising these muscles burns the greatest number of calories compared to working smaller muscle groups, such as your abs. The best leg exercises for burning lots of calories and increasing lean muscle mass are those that engage most or all of the muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. Strengthening your legs will help you burn fat all over your body, not just your legs. You don’t need a machine to get an effective workout, although using a weighted barbell or dumbbells for added resistance can speed up your weight-loss results.
You can do squats with or without added resistance. If you have trouble balancing during a squat, use an exercise ball positioned between your back and an open wall to do wall squats. If using a weighted barbell, place the bar on your shoulders behind your head and hold securely in place as you squat. You can also try front squats by holding the weight at the top of your chest in front of you; this puts less stress on your back.
Lunges are a lot like squats, but you exercise one leg at a time. It works nearly every muscle in your legs, so it’s an effective way to stimulate the fat-burning process. Hold dumbbells as you do lunges to really challenge your muscles and burn more calories. Use both forward and reverse lunges to exercise your leg muscles from different angles. The key to a good lunge is technique. Make sure your front knee does not extend beyond your toes during a front lunge. Use a slow, controlled motion and focus on keeping good balance.
Burpees are a hybrid exercise that works both the upper and lower body. Perform burpees by jumping straight up, landing into a down-squat position, and transitioning into a pushup position. Do a pushup to burn even more calories. Repeat in reverse. Try doing burpees for 30-second intervals with 30 seconds of rest between each; aim for 10 total intervals per workout. This exercise will help boost your metabolism and promotes a beneficial after-burn effect, meaning your body continues to burn calories at an increased rate after the workout is done.
Weight-loss results vary from person to person, but the key to seeing results is consistency. Stick with your exercise program for the long term to reach your weight-loss goals. Complete leg exercises to muscle failure for fastest results, meaning you can’t do another repetition at the end of the set. Allow at least one day of rest between leg workouts to ensure full muscle recovery. Use a variety of leg exercises to challenge your muscles in different ways and promote quicker fat loss. As you tone your leg muscles, your body will naturally burn more calories, leading to the weight loss you seek. Be patient; results may not be noticeable for four to six weeks.
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