Home workout: leg toning exercises

Without doubt, the cheapest and best way to reshape the legs is with regular, specific leg exercises. According to award-winning personal trainer, Michael Garry, some of the best exercises are straightforward squats, walking lunges, running and stair-walking, which can help the whole body. “These work the large muscle groups in our legs, which speeds up our metabolism, so we burn more calories, reducing the amount of fat we have,” says Michael.

Michael advises we always warm-up before leg exercises, stretching our quads (front of thigh), hamstrings (back of thigh) and calves (back of lower leg, actually two muscles), so as not to pull a muscle. A warm up shouldn’t be intense – aim for two to three minutes then stretch for at least five minutes afterwards. Here are six of the best leg exercises – try to complete this routine three times a week with a day’s rest in between. Start with ten to 15 minutes, increasing to 20-30.

1. Burpee & Jump

With a jump, squat and press up, burpees are a tough test for quads and cardio fitness. Ensure a good landing by bending your knees to absorb the impact.

2. Glute Bridge

Perform slowly, holding for a couple of breaths at the top. Keep shoulders grounded (don’t put weight on your neck).

3. Glute kick

Fire up your glutes! Keep your knee bent and your foot flexed. Squeeze your glutes as you reach your foot to the ceiling.

leg exercise side lift 4

4. Side lifts

A simple exercise targeting the outer thighs. Keep your body in a straight line from head to toe.

5. Squats

Try hovering your bottom just above a chair seat. Knees should be at 90 degrees to hips. Hold weights by your side for a full-body workout. Start with 1kg and gradually work up in weight.

6. Walking lunge

Michael highly recommends walking lunges, which work the quads, hamstrings, calves, core and, especially, the glutes. This is one of the most crucial leg exercises that Michael insists all his clients do regularly!


Beware the DOMS. DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness) is to be expected when we start new exercises. They often come 48 hours afterwards, and aren’t something to worry about as they go away on their own. The more you exercise, the less intense they will become.

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