You may want to rethink skipping leg day. Workouts that target your upper leg muscles are incredibly important for overall fitness. Not only do your legs hold your biggest muscle, the gluteus maximus, but they also support a number of functions in your body. Leg workouts can boost the production of hormones, promote physical alignment and balance, and help engage your core and encourage increased upper body strength. You may think you need to go to a flashy gym with expensive and confusing equipment, but you can get just as good of a leg workout at home with a set of resistance bands. Resistance bands are not only easy to use, but they also minimize the risk of injury and are affordable. They are ideal for leg workouts as they can add an extra level of burn that will promote thigh toning and strength. Here are a few easy but effective thigh workouts you can do at home using a set of resistance bands and some open space.
Squat with Side Raise
According to Runtastic, this exercise is a great one for building lower body strength and targeting your thigh muscles. To do this exercise, start by standing up straight, feet shoulder width apart. With the resistance band placed above your knees, do a regular squat. However, as you’re coming up, lift one leg up to the squeeze. Be sure to squeeze your glutes while you do this—as you lower that same leg, drop into a squat again. Repeat on the other side.
To do this exercise, start by standing up straight, feet slightly farther than hip-width apart, with a resistance band placed above your knees. With your knees bent slightly, take a step to one side, and then take a smaller step with the other leg in the same direction. Lean into the resistance by squeezing your thighs with each step. Repeat on the other side in the opposite direction. One common mistake to avoid with this exercise is locking your knees. “Maintain a slight bend throughout the entire drill,” Nora Tobin reports for Shape, “Your knees should remain lined up over your feet the entire time. Do not let them cave inward during the exercise.”
Tabletop Glute Kickbacks
“This variation of kickbacks fires up your glutes while tightening your core. The challenge here will be to keep your upper body and hips square and stable,” Tiffany Ayuda reports for Prevention.com, “A good visualization is to imagine pushing the wall behind you with your heel. You can really feel your glutes working. While this exercise primarily works your lower body, it's important to press your hands down on the ground to keep your shoulders in place.” To do this exercise, start out in a tabletop position, hips over knees and shoulders over wrists, with a resistance band around the arches of your feet. Kick one food directly behind you, being sure to push your leg out straight so that it is in a straight line with your back. Switch sides.
There’s a common myth that achieving fitness goals has to come at a high price. If you want to take charge of your health but can’t afford to go to a gym or don’t like working out in a space with other people, there are plenty of options. Resistance bands are affordable, easy to use, and incredibly versatile. Try these exercises to tone your legs and build upper body strength.