Upgrade your leg workouts with these killer exercises for your hamstrings, quads, and calves! Tired of the same old squats and lunges in your leg workout? We totally get it. The next time you want to tone your lower half, try these 7 challenging moves from the Women’s Health Big Book of Exercises. Your skinny jeans will thank you.
1. PISTOL SQUAT
Stand holding your arms straight out in front of your body at shoulder level, parallel to the floor. Raise your right leg off the floor, and hold it there. (A)Push your hips back and lower your body as far as you can. (B) Pause, then push your body back to the starting position.
2. DUMBBELL SPLIT JUMP
Hold a pair of dumbbells at arm’s length next to your sides, palms facing each other. Stand in a staggered stance, your left foot in front of your right. From a standing position, lower your body into a split squat. (A) Quickly switch directions and jump with enough force to propel both feet off the floor. (B)Repeat, alternating back and forth with each repetition. (C)
3. FARMER’S WALK ON TOES
Grab a pair of heavy dumbbells and hold them at your sides at arm’s length. Raise your heels and walk forward (or in a circle) for 60 seconds.
4. REVERSE DUMBBELL BOX LUNGE WITH FORWARD REACH
Stand on a 6-inch box or step, holding a pair of light dumbbells at your sides. (A) Step backward into a lunge with your right leg as you lean forward at your hips and reach toward your feet. (B) Reverse the movement to return to the starting position.
5. SINGLE-ARM KETTLEBELL SWING
Grab a kettlebell with an overhand grip and hold it in front of your waist at arm’s length. (You can also do the exercise two handed, holding the kettlebell with both hands.) Bend at your hips and knees and lower your torso until it forms a 45-degree angle to the floor. Swing the kettlebell between your legs. (A)Keeping your arm straight, thrust your hips forward, straighten your knees, and swing the kettlebell up to chest level as you rise to standing position. (B) Now squat back down as you swing the kettlebell between your legs again. Swing the weight back and forth forcefully.
6. MARCHING HIP RAISE WITH FEET ON A SWISS BALL
Lie faceup on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat on a Swiss Ball. Raise your hips so your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. (A) Lift one knee to your chest (B), lower back to the start, and lift your other knee to your chest. Continue to alternate back and forth.
7. GOBLET SQUAT
Hold a dumbbell vertically next to your chest, with both hands cupping the dumbbell head. (Imagine that it’s a heavy goblet.) (A) Brace your abs, and lower your body as far as you can by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. (B) Pause, then push yourself back to the starting position.