Legs workout: Get athletic and toned

Try this four-week legs workout plan for strong, athletic-looking legs

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legs on beach

Get athletic, toned legs

Exercises are to be done two or three times a week on non-consecutive days for four weeks. Combine walking, jogging, cycling or climbing the stairs in your home for 20-45 minutes three to five times a week for the results you desire.

To increase the challenge:
Increase the intensity (reps or sets) or the difficulty (beginner-advanced).

Rest options:
Option 1: Rest 30 seconds between sets. Once sets are completed for that exercise, move on to the next exercise.

Option 2: Do exercises 1, 2 and 3 one after the other with no rest between exercises. Once completed, rest 30-45 seconds and repeat circuit. This will keep your heart rate high and keep your metabolism constantly burning those pesky unwanted calories.

12-15 reps each leg / 2-4 sets / Rest option 1 or 2
What you need: bench or stairs, gliding discs or paper plates (carpet) or small hand towel (bare floor), a set of dumbbells (for the added challenge).

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1. Step-ups

1. Step-ups

Works quadriceps, hamstrings and butt.

• Stand facing a bench, step or stairs. Feet are together with your hands at chest level.
• Firmly step onto the bench with your left leg. Begin extending your hip and knee of the left leg until the right leg is beside it. Remember: squeeze the butt.  
• Slowly begin lowering the right leg back to the ground by hinging at the hips. Maintain your knee behind the toes and body upright. Both feet and hips are facing forward throughout the execution of the exercise.
• Keep the left leg on the bench for the suggested number of repetitions before switching legs.

Intermediate: Add weight.
Advanced: Add speed to the movement. As soon as your lunging leg returns to the starting position, tap the ground and quickly move upward again.

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2. Walking Lunges

2. Walking Lunges

Works inner and outer thighs, butt, quadriceps and hamstrings.

• Stand with both feet side by side, hip width apart. Take a large step forward with the right leg. Ensure you are landing with the heel first then forefoot. Bend both knees and begin lowering yourself until the front thigh is parallel with the ground and the left knee is almost touching the ground. Both legs should create two 90-degree angles. Do not lean forward, and do not let your front knee move forward of the toes.
• Pushing off from the heel of your front foot, lift the back leg and swing it forward so you are back to the starting standing position.
• Now take a large lunge forward with your left leg and repeat the lunge. Alternate legs with each lunge.

Intermediate: Hold a set of dumbbells in each hand at your sides or on your shoulders.
Advance: Add a torso twist. Hold the dumbbell at chest level and rotate your torso toward the lead leg (whichever leg is in front). Keep your body upright.

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3. Lying Hamstring Curl Slides

3. Lying Hamstring Curl Slides

Works hamstrings, butt and back.

• ?Lie on your back with your feet shoulder width apart, knees bent with your hips off the mat and arms at your sides. Each foot is on a glider.
• Slowly begin extending the right leg as you firmly press into the floor with the right foot as you are sliding the leg straight. Do not lock your knee. Maintain your left leg bent and hips off the floor.
• Return the right leg back to the starting position and repeat with the left leg.

Intermediate: Glide both legs at the same time. Keep your hips off the mat as you continue pressing into the floor with both feet.
Advanced: Lift and keep the support leg off the mat while gliding the other leg.

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