Strong legs are key to leading a healthy, active life, and with summer approaching, you're going to want to take advantage of outdoor activities, from walking on the beach to hiking on trails and maybe even tackling an adventure course or two. Start getting your legs in tip-top shape now so you can feel strong all summer long. Whether you're a seasoned fitness fanatic or just getting started, there is a routine that suits your needs. Check out the following seven workouts.
The lunge is a classic bodyweight move for sculpting strong legs that may seem simple, but without a proper understanding of form and movement, you run the risk of injuring yourself. Not fun. This rundown of the basic lunge is thorough, providing tips for modifying the movement to make it easier on your knees as you begin, as well as how to ramp up the intensity as you advance.
From: Skinny Ms.
This is an excellent starter routine for beginners, which features a roster of foundation poses to help you gain the strength necessary to progress to more advanced leg workouts. The videos included are great because they demonstrate the movement and explain the mechanics of the exercise. The one move that does not have an accompanying video is explained in simple language that will help you perform the exercise properly.
From: Autumn Calabrese
Anyone who's taken a ballet class will recognize this traditional barre sequence from celebrity fitness trainer Autumn Calabrese. Engaging your body and having proper form is so important when it comes to ballet, and Calabrese shares her expertise as a former dancer to break down basic ballet movements from plies to battlements, so you’ll be able to understand and execute them with proper form. At seven minutes long, it's a short but informative introduction to barre.
From: Fitness Blender
If your idea of hell is a routine full of squats and lunges, this video is for you. Fitness Blender's Kelli Segars takes you through a mat Pilates routine that consists of several variations on leg lifts and pulses, along with bridges and other floor moves that will work your entire lower body. Segars emphasizes the importance of slow, controlled movements and advocates taking additional breaks to ensure perfect form. She also gives plenty of helpful tips throughout the workout so you can feel confident that you're doing the movement properly for maximum toning and safety.
If you want legs as strong and toned as country superstar Carrie Underwood, you're going to need some expert advice. Fortunately, Underwood and her trainer, Erin Opera, have given us six moves that Underwood uses in her workout routine. Lunges feature heavily here, with dynamic skater lunges, a compound squat into lunge and a weighted lateral lunge, all of which will make your garden-variety bodyweight lunge feel like child's play in comparison. Add in challenging exercises like the balance-testing Bosu jumps, and this advanced workout is sure to take your leg routine to the next level.
Thanks to Rachel Piskin of New York's ChaiseFitness, you too can have toned, strong legs perfect for stomping down the catwalk or pounding the pavement. This GIF workout combines bodyweight and barre exercises, throwing a Theraband in the mix for added resistance. You'll love unleashing your inner Katniss with the Bow and Arrow Lunge, a particularly badass lunge/squat combination, while moves such as the Curtsy Passé will challenge your balance and get your core working, all while encouraging you to move with grace. If you're well-versed in barre moves such as plies and arabesques and want to challenge yourself, this workout is your ticket to long, lean legs worthy of supermodel status.
This fun, high-energy leg workout is part of Ho's latest venture, PIIT, or Pilates Intense Interval Training, and combines tough bodyweight moves like planks and squats with movement. This multitasking marvel will work you out from head to toe while still placing the toning emphasis on your legs. This workout is fast-paced, so if you need some additional guidance, watch the video first to really get the movements down before getting started. Ho has added this workout to her monthly calendar, so you can do it alone or as a part of the Blogilates workout plan. Either way, it's a great workout for busy fitness enthusiasts.
Always consult a medical professional before starting a new workout, and honor your body’s needs and fitness level.