Exercises You Can Do to Develop Strong Legs This New Year

Exercises You Can Do to Develop Strong Legs This New Year

As you become used to your fitness routine, it might be a great idea to include a few lower body workouts for the most effective results. Read this article for 5 ideas.
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Starting the year by getting in shape is one of the best decisions you could make. While doing push-ups, planks, and chin-ups are good, don’t forget to pay attention to your lower body, especially your legs.

So get up, pack your gym essentials, and start working on improving those muscles. To help you start, here are 5 exercises you can do during leg days.

Why is Leg Day a Thing?

You’ve probably heard other people say to never skip leg days and they have good reasons to back their advice. According to Ray Buckton, Personal Trainer at Gymbox Farringdon, lower-body exercises are one of the most important parts of your workout routine, no matter what your goal is.

After all, your lower body is where you can find the largest muscles in your body. The bigger they are, the more energy it needs to work. Therefore, working on them is also a great way to burn excess fat and calories.

Don’t Forget to Warm Your Muscles Up

Like any other fitness routine, leg days are no exception to warm-up exercises. Harvard Health Publishing says that warming up allows oxygenated blood to reach your muscles since it raises your heart rate and breathing. This process essentially preps your body for the main workout routine by increasing your overall performance.

Ideally, you should spend 5 to 10 minutes warming all of your muscle groups. Start slow and pick up the pace over time if you want to get the most out of it. Depending on your preference, you can do cardio, range-of-motion exercises, or even activities as simple as walking in place.

5 Exercises for Leg Day

I. Hip Circles

How to do it:

1. Stand straight with your chest up. Ensure that your feet are shoulder-width apart and your hands are on your hips.
2. Shift your hips to the left. Bring them forward and to the right in a circular motion. Afterwards, shift your hips back to the left.
3. Repeat the steps then switch directions.

Hip circles is a simple exercise that offers plenty of benefits to your lower body. It corrects muscle imbalance, prevents injuries, trains your hip flexor, and more. 

While it is an easy exercise, remember to keep your body relaxed and breathe deeply to get the most out of this exercise.

II. Jump Rope

How to do it:

1. Hold the rope and keep your hands at hip level.
2. Rotate your wrists to swing the rope.
3. Jump.
4. Repeat the steps until you finish your reps.

Much like hip circles, this exercise is simple, yet beneficial to your lower body. You can add this to your leg day workout routine if you want to strengthen your bone density, improve heart health, burn calories, and increase agility.

Remember to maintain proper posture if you want to get the most out of this exercise. Otherwise, you might have an ineffective jump rope session or struggle to do each rep, which can put yourself at risk of accidents.

This exercise requires you to have the right jump rope suitable to your height. For example, you need to ensure that it isn’t long enough to pose a safety risk. When it comes to where you can buy one, there are plenty of stores online that sell high-quality items.

III. Walking Lunges

How to do it:

1. Stand straight. Ensure your feet are hip-distance apart.
2. Take a wide step ahead while keeping your core engaged and upright.
3. Bend both knees and lower the back one toward the floor. Stop just before it touches the floor. Don’t forget to inhale during this step.
5. Extend your front knee and rise as you lift your back knee forward. Swing your back knee forward and take a wide step ahead.
6. Repeat the previous step until you finish your reps.

Walking lunges is an intermediate-level exercise that increases your hip mobility, strengthens your glutes, improves running performance, and enhances your overall balance.

Tip: If you find yourself losing balance, stop and allow yourself to recover before continuing.

If you find yourself having a tough time, you can do the exercise in reverse. You can also carry dumbbells while doing your reps to make it more challenging.

IV. Squat

How to do it:

1. Stand straight with your feet apart.
2. Place your hands on your thighs.
3. Bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, putting all your weight on your heels. 4. Don’t let your knees go beyond your toes. Ensure that your head and chest stay upright.
5. Hold the position for 5 seconds.
6. Rise and return to the starting position.
7. Repeat to finish your reps.

Aside from strengthening your lower body muscles, squats also target your core muscles, making it an excellent exercise to challenge most of your body. 

You can choose its many variations like overhead squat, dumbbell squat, or Bulgarian split squat if you want to strengthen more areas. At the very least, the basic version strengthens your core, improves your lower body muscles, boosts athletic strength, and burns calories. Try modifying the exercise to suit your needs.

V. Leg Raise

How to do it:

1. Lie on the floor with your arms to your sides and legs straight out in front.
2. Lower your back to the ground and pull your navel in towards the spine.
3. Squeeze your legs together and lift them into the air until your body creates an L shape.
4. Let them hover in the air for a few seconds.
5. Afterwards, slowly lower your legs. Remember not to arch your back.
6. Repeat until you finish your reps.

Leg raise is a good exercise to strengthen your core, increase flexibility, and enhance your hip flexors.

If you are doing it on an incline bench, you are also improving your grip since you would need to keep your body in place while doing each rep. Try lifting your legs one at a time to make things easier or you can also try adding weights to challenge yourself.

Tips for Better Leg Mobility

While the 5 exercises discussed in this article can help strengthen your lower body muscles, it is important to ensure your body is ready for them.

Ideally, you should aim to condition your body before diving into the above 5 exercises, especially if you’re doing the more challenging ones like the leg raise exercise. What better way is it to improve your leg mobility than by doing exercises that stretch your joints?

These are some stretching exercises you can do to improve your leg mobility:

1. Walking Spiderman
2. Knee Pull
3. Leg Swings
4. Squat to Forward Hold
5. Glute Bridge


The start of a new year is always a good time to start living out major lifestyle changes like getting in shape. But you might miss out on a lot of benefits if you only focus on specific parts of your body. While leg days are difficult, they are major contributors towards your overall fitness and health. Add these 5 exercises to your next workout routine and see the benefits for yourself.