Leg exercises are an important part of every workout routine, or at least they should be. Many people, especially men, neglect their legs in their muscle-building routines, which leads to a somewhat disproportionate figure, where the legs remain tiny and the upper body is strong and big. Women seem to be more interested in leg exercises, which can give them nice thin calves and toned and firm thighs. Just like any exercise, leg exercises can be done with or without weights. Here are some of the best leg exercises without weights that can be done at home, easily and quickly.
Squats are probably the best type of leg exercise, especially for those who want firmer, stronger thighs and nicely-shaped calves. They are very easy to do, too. It is done from a standing position, feet at shoulder-width apart, hands down the sides. The knees are slowly bent and lowered until there is a feeling of tightness and pressure, almost pain, in the thighs. The position is held for a few seconds before going back up to the initial position. The recommended number of repetitions is ten to twelve.
Calf raises are the simplest and probably the best way to shape up calf muscles. The starting position is standing straight with the arms on the sides, feet at about shoulder width apart. Feet are straight down on the floor and from that position the body is slowly but steadily raised on the toes, so the calves feel tight and stretched. That position is held for at least five seconds before releasing. It is recommended to do two or three sets of 10 repetitions.
Feet do not need any muscle-building but they do require some stretching every once in a while, in order to prevent conditions such as plantar fasciitis. Toe curls are very simple - the toes are basically curled downwards, like making a fist with them. The position is held for a few seconds and the exercise is repeated ten times for each foot. This exercise is good for calf muscles too and it is particularly recommended after long periods of repetitive activity, such as walking, running or sitting.
It is essential to remember to stretch the legs well both before and after exercising. This goes for any type of exercise - jogging, cycling, doing exercises with or without weights. Proper stretching prevents soreness of the muscles after the exercise and reduces the chance of injury.