Leg exercises develop your leg muscles, which is great! But if you want lean legs, developing those muscles isn't enough, because they can be hidden under layers of fat. Once or twice a week, do these exercises that slim the legs and tone the muscles.

Basic:

1. Squat

Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lower your body like you're about to sit down. Remember to elongate your spine and keep it straight. Exhale as you squat, then inhale as you return to standing position.


2. Lunge with rotation

Stand with your feet hip-width apart and your arms out. Make a big step forward with your left foot, and twist your torso to the left as you bend your knees and lower your body. Make sure your legs form 90-degree angles. Twist your torso back to the center as you push your left foot off the floor to return to starting position. Repeat on the other leg. That's one rep. Do five.

3. Single-leg romanian deadlift

Stand with your feet hip-width apart, your right foot slightly above the floor. Extend your right arm in front of you for balance. Bend forward from your hips and bend your left knee a bit for balance and stability. Make sure you keep your back flat as your body forms a T, and your right arm hanging down from your shoulder. Hold the position, then return to starting position. That's one rep. Do five before switching to the other side.

Advanced:

4. Side leg raise

Lie on your left side, keeping your whole body in a straight line. Rest your head on your left arm, and place your right hand on your hip or in front of your chest. Make sure your right leg is directly on top of your left leg. Without moving any other part of your body, lift your right leg as high as you can. Hold it up for a bit, then return to the starting position.

Switch sides, and do the same thing with your left leg. That's one rep. Do five.

5. Clam shell

Lie on your left side with knees bent just slightly towards your chest. Your right leg should be on top of your left leg, the heels together. Keep your feet together and your left leg on the floor as you raise your right knee as high as you can. Hold it up, then return to the starting position.

Switch sides, and do the same thing with your left leg. That's one rep. Do five.

6. Hip raise

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Lift your pelvis until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold it up, then return to the starting position. That's one rep. Do five.

Pro tip: Do these exercises slowly to effectively stimulate muscle growth. Moving slowly, you prolong muscle tension and increase blood flow.

Source: Women's Health, Harper's Bazaar

This story originally appeared on Cosmo.ph.

* Minor edits have been made by the Femalenetwork.com editors.     

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