Working parents are not alone in their struggle to find time for a serious workout. Luckily, a great way to stay fit is to do leg exercises at home. Juggling work commitments, keeping up with the kids' sports, and staying on top of the finances while also looking after your own body is no easy set of tasks. We believe that staying toned, strong, and healthy doesn't require an expensive gym membership.

Modern families deal with information and sales pitches for unnecessary exercise equipment all the time. A shiny new leg-press machine seems great, but we all know that it won't be long before it's thrown in the garage collecting dust.

Even celebrities prioritize bodyweight leg exercises, which can be performed from home or anywhere else for that matter. While preparing for his role as Star-Lord in "Guardians of the Galaxy," Chris Pratt incorporated several bodyweight leg exercises to obtain those strong, thick legs. Similarly, Carrie Underwood fuses squats, lunges, and other simple bodyweight leg exercises at home to achieve gorgeous, toned legs all year-round. Arguably, parents with an even busier lifestyle can also achieve the same results by working out with leg exercises at home.


Benefits of Leg Exercises

leg lifts


Other than looking and feeling fantastic, doing leg exercises at home supports both physical and mental health. The quads, hamstrings, and glutes are some of the body's largest muscles. Therefore, they require the most stimulation.

Leg exercises burn calories fast

As they are the biggest muscle group, our legs also require significant energy to move. There's no better way to get the calories burning and the heart pumping than performing some jumping squats and lunges. Combining a healthy diet and burning calories by doing leg exercises at home will result in weight loss and a stronger, healthier you.

Leg exercises are good for your mood

There is a reason why psychiatrists prescribe exercise to those dealing with mental health issues. Working out and moving your body stimulates your brain and releases dopamine, the magical, feel-good chemical. Performing leg exercises at home will not only make you fitter, but it will also make you happier.

Good for the w​​​​​​​hole body

A recent study suggests that performing load-bearing movements with larger muscle groups sends important neurological signals to your brain. This study indicates that leg exercises benefit the body on a cellular level and even promote a healthy nervous system. So get to squatting!


Toning Your Legs Without a Gym Membership

high knees


Not only is a gym membership expensive, but it also takes time out of parents' busy days. Why spend hundreds of dollars a month paying for a gym membership, when you can quickly achieve the same results from the comfort of your own home? That is the reason why many are choosing home workout routines.

Sticking to a routine of leg exercises at home is much easier than trying to find the time and energy in getting to the gym every day. Parents can work out without leaving their children by themselves or paying for a babysitter by merely finding some familiar space to exercise. Not only is this alternative free, but it's also more convenient. More importantly, you can wear whatever you like! So ditch the awkward gym attire, throw on that comfortable baggy gray T-shirt, and start squatting.


How Often Should I Exercise?

tying shoes


Parenthood is often a workout in itself. Finding the energy to exercise at home often seems just as hard as finding the time. While the recommended frequency of workouts is a disputed topic, most studies indicate that exercising three to five times per week is optimal. Like most things, this number depends on individual lifestyle and health circumstances.

Doing leg exercises at home shouldn't be the be-all and end-all of a family's exercise routine. However, combining leg workouts with regular moderate cardiovascular training three to five times per week is an excellent option for active families.


How We Chose


Although there are hundreds of options for choosing the best leg exercises at home, we have narrowed down the list to a manageable number. We have selected leg exercises that are simple and target specific muscles in the legs that you can easily do at home. The below list of exercises at home is in no particular order and combining different exercises is encouraged.


The Best Leg Exercises at Home


Fitting in a workout between cooking breakfast, getting the kids ready for school or day-care, and cleaning the house while somehow also juggling work commitments is no easy task. A great way for parents to stay active and in shape is to do leg exercises at home.


Squat jumps

 Squat jumps

Squat jumps are performed by placing the feet shoulder-width apart and lowering into the squat position by bending the knees. Instead of standing back up, use your quads and calves to jump up to a standing position before landing in a squat. It is essential to keep the spine straight and arms either beside or in front of you during this explosive power movement.

Benefits

Squat jumps are one of the best leg exercises at home due to the explosive nature of the exercise. The jumping motion requires more effort and power than regular squats. This gets you breathing heavy, building on anaerobic fitness, and strengthens the legs at the same time.

Target areas

The classic squat is one of the best compound movements as it targets the glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Incorporating an explosive jump means that the calves get a workout too! In turn, the jump squat is a great leg exercise that strengthens and tones the entire lower body.

Variations

Active parents looking to push leg exercises at home to a new level can modify this classic movement. Instead of jumping straight up, jump forward, landing in a squat position and thrusting the legs to leap forward again. Although this requires more space at home, it is a great variation to mix things up for those with a long hallway.


Alternating drop lunges

Alternating drop lunges


To perform alternating drop lunges, begin by standing straight up, with legs hip-width apart. In a single motion, step forward with one leg into a lunge position, pausing at the bottom for one second. Then, return to the standing position and repeat, alternating legs after each repetition.

Benefits

Alternating drop lunges are a straightforward leg exercise that requires only enough space to step forward naturally. This exercise can, therefore, happen in any home environment. Unlike jump squats, this exercise focuses on building balance and strength in the legs, rather than explosive power and anaerobic fitness.

Target areas

This exercise also works several muscle groups at once. Alternating drop lunges target the glutes, hips, hamstrings, and quads. The calf muscles, abdominal muscles, and the lower back also act as stabilizers throughout the movement. It's easy to see why this is one of the best leg exercises at home.

Variations

This exercise can be altered depending on physical ability. Parents and families looking to get a more anaerobic workout can instead perform jumping, alternating lunges. Instead of stepping forward and backward, jump from the lunge position, thrusting the back leg forward and front leg back to land in a mirrored lunge.

Exercise Bike

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Step-ups

Step ups


While squat and lunge variants typically require no equipment, anyone with a dining room chair can also incorporate step-ups in their routine of leg exercises at home. This simple exercise is performed by standing straight up and using one leg to step onto your platform of choice, pushing upwards through the heel. Next, bring the other foot up so that both are standing on the platform. Return to the starting position by stepping down with the first leg, and repeat by alternating sides.

Benefits

Step-ups are a great leg exercise at home as they mimic real-life movements. This exercise increases functional strength and fitness to help active parents tackle everyday challenges. This exercise is also great as the intensity can easily be increased or decreased depending on physical ability. For beginners, a single stair is sufficient, while those looking for that extra burn can use something like a dining chair to act as a higher platform.

Target areas

Step-ups incorporate a similar movement to lunges. However, using gravity to push the body upwards enables the glutes and upper hamstrings to get an extra workout. Unlike other leg exercises at home, bending the leg higher also means that the upper quads and hips get an extra workout.

Variations

Active parents looking to step it up a notch (pun intended) can perform the same movement by simply adding height. The higher the platform, the harder the quads have to push to propel the body onto it, resulting in a more difficult and effective leg workout.


Duck walks

While squat and lunge variants typically require no equipment, anyone with a dining room chair can also incorporate step-ups in their routine of leg exercises at home. This simple exercise is performed by standing straight up and using one leg to step onto your platform of choice, pushing upwards through the heel. Next, bring the other foot up so that both are standing on the platform. Return to the starting position by stepping down with the first leg, and repeat by alternating sides.

Benefits

Step-ups are a great leg exercise at home as they mimic real-life movements. This exercise increases functional strength and fitness to help active parents tackle everyday challenges. This exercise is also great as the intensity can easily be increased or decreased depending on physical ability. For beginners, a single stair is sufficient, while those looking for that extra burn can use something like a dining chair to act as a higher platform.

Target areas

Step-ups incorporate a similar movement to lunges. However, using gravity to push the body upwards enables the glutes and upper hamstrings to get an extra workout. Unlike other leg exercises at home, bending the leg higher also means that the upper quads and hips get an extra workout.

Variations

Active parents looking to step it up a notch (pun intended) can perform the same movement by simply adding height. The higher the platform, the harder the quads have to push to propel the body onto it, resulting in a more difficult and effective leg workout.

Leg Exercise Machines

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Duck walks

duck walk


Another excellent leg exercise at home is the duck walk. It's not difficult to tell where this one got its name. Start by placing the feet shoulder-width apart. Push the hips back and lower into the squat position by bending your knees at a 90-degree angle. Extend the arms forward, pressing the chest upwards and walk forward and backward, remaining in the squat position.

Benefits

The duck walk will be sure to attract some laughs from the family, and admittedly, it does look a little silly. However, this exercise is a refreshing change from traditional repetition-based movements. Because there is no definitive start and stop point, the duck walk works the legs for the entire duration of the exercise. Instead of counting reps, this leg exercise works best by calculating the time or distance spent walking. The duck walk is also great for hip flexibility and an excellent exercise for pregnant moms.

Target areas

Targetting the quads, calves, hamstrings, and hips, the duckwalk is a great whole leg exercise at home. Performing the duck walk also requires flexibility, stamina, and balance in maintaining a lowered squat position throughout the movement. Keeping the heels firmly on the ground also strengthens the ankles and builds stamina.

Variations

Beginners will enjoy this workout as it is easy to adjust the difficulty. Parents first starting with leg exercises at home can begin at a more elevated body position and gradually drop lower to increase the effectiveness of the workout.

Leg Exerciser

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Wall-sits

wall sits

Everybody's least favorite gym class punishment is back! The wall-sit is a very effective lower body exercise that really burns the quads. This exercise begins by placing the back against a sturdy wall, with feet shoulder-width apart. While resting against the wall for support, lower the body by bending the knees until they are at a 90-degree angle. Keeping the arms resting beside the body or straight in front, count slowly and hold the position for the duration of the exercise.

Benefits

Unlike the other leg exercises at home, the wall-sit is designed to build muscle endurance rather than muscle mass. The muscles in the legs are contracted for the entire duration of the workout, pushing blood into the legs to build stamina and balance. The best thing about the wall-sit is it can be performed anywhere, at any time. All it takes is 30 to 60 seconds to get a great leg toning and endurance building workout.

Target areas

The wall-sit is a complete lower-body exercise. Lowering the body into the squat position contracts the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. Holding the weight of the entire body with the support of the wall results in constant muscle contraction, and it sure is a great burn. This exercise even works the abdominal muscles. Who said you need to do thousands of sit-ups to get six-pack abs?

Variations

The wall-sit is great as there are so many variations to choose from. Looking to add more weight? Hold a heavy object such as a medicine ball or household item on your thighs or straight out in front of you. Are you looking to target individual legs? Try the single-leg wall-sit. You do it by straightening one leg forward and off the ground, resting the body on a single leg rather than two.

Exercise Equipment

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Lying hip-raises

Lying hip-raises


The glutes are one of the largest and most powerful muscles. For those who spend a lot of time sitting for work, remind them how to fire with some lying hip-raises. Begin by lying on the ground, keep the feet hip-width apart and legs bent. Relax the arms out to the side. Start by squeezing the abdominal muscles and slowly raising the hips towards the sky until the body forms a straight line.

Benefits

While there are many great whole leg workouts, finding great leg exercises at home that target the glutes is a top priority for many. Squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement builds strength and muscle mass. Balancing glute strengthening exercises with hip exercises is also a great way to correct potential pelvic-tilt issues, which is very common for busy working parents who spend a lot of time sitting down.

Variations

Similarly to wall-sits, this exercise can also be performed to target individual sides by raising one leg. Single-leg hip-raises target one side of the glutes and is best achieved by alternating sides in between sets. Placing a medicine ball or other heavy household item on the hips will also add weight and always makes leg exercises at home more difficult and strengthens those glutes even more.


Put It All Together at Home


downward dog

Leg exercises at home get the best results when combined with various movements. Designing your workout is easy. Start by doing 3 sets of 10 for the above exercises whenever there is time at home. As the legs get stronger, simply add more repetitions or try some of the above variations for each exercise. Who knew that building strong, toned legs could be achieved at home?

We believe that a family that trains together stays together! What better way to bond with your family than to get everybody to join in on the fun? Partner training is also a great way to build motivation and confidence.

Which one of the above leg exercises at home is your favorite? Or better yet, do you have an idea for a great workout plan that combines some of the leg exercises at home? Let us know in the comments.

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