6 Exercises That'll Give You Sexy, Toned Legs You'll Want to Show Off All Summer

Jul 7 2019 - 4:25am

Who wears short shorts? You should! We get it, many women fear that weights will make their legs bigger or bulky, but this is simply not true. Using weights will shape your muscles, giving them the toned look you want when it's time to wear tiny Summer shorts. Bottom line: if you want shapely legs, you must focus on the iron stacks. Diet and cardio burn fat [1] and make you lean, but the weights are what shape your muscles.

To help you get the fastest results, we talked to Sarah Chadwell [2], an NASM-certified personal trainer, to gain insight on how to show some love to your lower body in the gym. She told POPSUGAR, "Strong, shapely legs take work from front to back. Many women focus on exercises that work their quads, but they neglect their hamstrings and calves. Make sure you use a wide variety of exercises that work every part of your legs for a great look from every angle!"

Here are six moves that Sarah uses to train her legs on legs day.

Weighted Walking Lunges — Target Your Quads and Glutes

To complete weighted lunges, you can hold dumbbells [4] in your hands down by your sides or use a barbell held across the back of your neck and shoulders. "Using weights will speed up your results. I recommend using weights for lunges if you have mastered bodyweight walking lunges," Sarah said.

Good Mornings — Highlight Your Hamstrings

These give your hamstrings a nice stretch [6]. Similar to your long stretch in the mornings when you wake up, this is the "good morning" stretch for your hammies. Sarah said, "If you can do these properly without weight, it's time to add a barbell across your back. Start with a 20-pound straight bar and work your way up to heavier weight. Always watch your form in a mirror."

Calf Raises — Build Killer Calves

Toned calves [7] complete the sexy look you're wanting for your legs. To make these harder, Sarah suggests completing calf raises while holding dumbbells or by putting a plate on the floor and "hanging 10," thus using the plate as a platform for the exercise. Or you can do both!

Kettlebell Squats — Total Leg Builder

Squats [9] had to be on this list, and for good reason: they are one of the best moves for any part of your body — especially your legs! "Not all people have great barbell squat form. Using kettlebell squats, you can perfect your squat form and also get a really deep squat," Sarah said.

Hamstring Curls — Emphasize Your Hamstrings

Shapely, strong hamstrings [10] round out the back of your legs. Make sure you do at least two exercises per leg day that are strictly for your hamstrings.

Weighted Sumo Squats — Inner Thigh Strength

Wake up your inner thighs [12] with this squat variation! Sarah said, "To add a a little extra calf work, rise up on your toes as you are returning to the starting position and hold for a two-count before placing your feet flat on the floor again. Then begin the next repetition. This move will require excellent balance."

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