Simple exercises to build leg and calf muscles

When doing a leg workout, there are simple exercises you can do.

When doing a leg workout, there are simple exercises you can do.

What you need to know:

  • When doing a leg workout, there are simple exercises you can do.
  • You can either do these exercises at home or at your local gym.

When doing leg workout, there are simple exercises you can do. You can either do these exercises at home or at your local gym.

Dumbbell squats — 3 sets of 6–8 reps: According to fitness trainer Mike Hildebrandt, start bystanding up straight while holding the dumbbell in each hand, palms facing the side of your legs. Position your legs using a shoulder with medium stance with the toes slightly pointed out. Keep your head up at all times, looking down will get you off balance. Maintain a straight back. This will be your starting position. Begin to slowly lower your torso by bending the knees as you maintain a straight posture with the head up. Continue down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. The front of your knees should make an imaginary straight line with the toes that is perpendicular to the front. Ensure your knee isn’t going too far past your toes to avoid putting unnecessary pressure on your knee. Begin to raise your torso as you exhale, and go back to the starting position. Then repeat the same routine.

Squats — 3 sets of 5 reps

One of the simplest ways to get started with squats is by doing full body weight squats. To do this, certified personal trainer Staci Ardison recommends you start by standing with your feet slightly wider than your hips. At this position, your toes should be pointed slightly outwards. Look straight ahead and pick a spot on the wall in front of you. This is the spot you will look at when squatting. You will not look at the floor or at the ceiling. “Put your arms straight out in front of you. Keep your chest up and your spine in a neutral position. As you squat down, make sure your knees stay in line with your feet,” she says. Breathe deeply into your stomach, break at your hip and push back your behind. You will need to keep sending your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend. “Squat down until your hip joint is lower than your knees. If your knees start to come inside the toes as you go down, push them out, but now wider than your feet,” she says.  Once you’re down, breathe out and drive through your heels. Drive your heels outward and away from each other on your way up just as you did on your way down.

Leg press — 3 sets of 5 reps

According to physical training online platform, BodyBuilding, you will achieve better results by using a leg press machine that can be found at your local gym. “Start by sitting down on the machine, then lie back and place your legs on the weighted platform that is directly in front of you. This should be done at a medium foot stance, for instance shoulder width,” the training platform recommends. Once you’re in position, you will need to lower the safety bars that are holding the weighted platform and press the weighted platform all the way up until your legs are fully extended in front of you. “When doing, this, ensure you do not lock your knees. Your torso and the legs should also make a perfect 90-degree angle,” BodyBuilding recommends. Once your legs are fully extended, inhale, and then slowly bring the platform down by lowering your legs until the upper and lower legs make a 90-degree angle, then go back to the starting position as you push with your heels. Repeat the routine. When you’re done with the exercise, you will want to make sure you lock the weighted platform in place with the requisite pins to avoid damage.

Calves: seated calf raises — 4 sets of 10–12 reps

Take position at your gym’s seated calf raise machine. According to certified personal trainer Michelle Trapp, you will hop on to the machine and put your feet on the pad. Your legs will need to be well wedged under the platform you will be raising to exert pressure on your calves. Your toes will be at the top of the stepping pad while the rest of your feet will be off. “Once you’re in position, lift up your tippy toes into a standing position to put the machine into session. You will then bring your heels down as far as possible, and then start going back up to the tippy toes position,” she says. When doing this, Michelle says the stepping position should put more weight on your big toes. Up then down, then up. This will in turn squeeze your calves.