The Lower Body Workout That'll Change The Way You Look at 'Leg Day'

One new study says that many Americans are focused on their upper body, but we've got a leg workout that's too good to pass up.  

August 25, 2015
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Not a fan of squats for days? Hey, we don't necessarily blame you. The popular exercise can be a pain in the rear (literally), despite being a toning move for many of the muscles in the legs, butt, and core. Turns out, you may not be the only one avoiding those lower body moves. According to a study from Skulpt, a fitness device that measures users' body gat percentage and muscle quality, many exercise enthusiasts are skipping out on the lower body portion of their workout routine.

Samantha Skolkin, a trainer at Kore, isn't exactly surprised. "Working your legs is tough, and that's why people tend to avoid it," says Skolkin. "But, who wants to look like an upside down triangle? Leg day results are very rewarding and everybody will notice the gains!" 

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More: The Only 5 Exercises You Need for Sexier Legs

Looking for a simple leg workout that you can nail out in 15 to 20 minutes? Skolkin shared her go-to lower body toning moves

Weighted squats (10 reps, 3 sets)
Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width, turned slightly outward. Hold a dumbbell each hand by your sides, with your palms facing inward. Pull your shoulder blades down and back. Curl the dumbbells to a position where they rest on the front edge of your shoulders or just in front of your shoulders. Keep your chest up lifted and your chin parallel to the ground or slightly lifted. Shift your weight into your heels.

Hinging at the hips, shift them back and down. Keep the abdominals/core muscles engaged and try to keep your back flat. Lower yourself until your thighs are parallel or almost parallel to the floor. Work to ensure that the feet do not move, the ankles do not collapse in or out and the knees remain lined up with the second toe. While maintaining the position of your back, chest and head and with the abdominals engaged, exhale and return to start position by pushing your feet into the floor through your heels. The hips and torso should rise together. Keep the heels flat on the floor and knees aligned with the second toe. Repeat.
 
Leg extension, hamstring curl superset (12 reps, 3 sets)
Lay back on a weight bench so torso is parallel to the floor, legs extended. Slowly lift your legs upward until they make a 90 degree angle with your torso, then slowly lower downward. Be sure to lift and lower in a slow and controlled motion. 

More: A Killer Thigh Workout You Can Do At Home

After your first 12 reps of leg extension, switch to a lying hamstring curl. For the hamstring curl, flip over so you’re on your stomach on the bench, weight between your ankles. Bring legs to bent position then lower down so they are in line with the bench (straight behind you). Flip back over, repeat the superset two more times. 
 
Leg press, glute kickbacks superset (15 reps, 3 sets)
Lay on your back on a mat and peel your head, neck, and shoulders off the ground. Place feet in middle of a resistance band and pull band tightly. Bend knees at 90 degrees and engage your core, then straighten legs in a controlled motion so they hover a few inches from the ground. You can use more than one resistance band for added challenge, or you can put a 10- to 12-pound weight between your ankles to perform this. 

Lose the band, get on all fours. Your shoulders should be directly over your wrists and your back should be parallel to the ground. In a controlled motion, kick back on of your feet backward, squeezing through your glutes and pushing out through your heel as you lift your leg. When your thigh meets your torso at 180 degrees, lower your leg back to table top position. Flip back over, repeat the superset two more times.