Get Leg-a-licious in 5 Moves

stronglegs Sculpting strong, lean legs is not just aesthetically pleasing, it’s a slam-dunk from a fitness perspective. Your legs are the longest limb and house the largest muscles in the body.  Why is that important to you? Because larger muscles burn more fat than do smaller muscles – and they burn fat over your entire body, not just the legs.  Therefore you get a greater ROI by increasing muscle mass in those gorgeous legs!

The glamour muscles of the legs are the hamstrings, quadriceps, calves and glutes.  I include glutes because #1, they’re attached to the legs and #2 exercises that work the leg muscles also work the glutes.  And lets face it.  The glutes may arguably be the most important glamour muscle.  Butt augmentation increased 43% from 2010 to 2011 – the highest increase among all cosmetic procedures. Need I say more?

Ok, I digress.  Back to the lecture at hand – how to get leg-a-licious in 5 simple moves.  Here are my top 5 exercises for sculpting strong, lean legs at home:


#1.  Bench Step-Up

  • Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Put one foot on a bench and press through your heel to step up. Squeeze the quad of your working leg
 as you bring your body up to a standing position.
  • Let your trailing leg stay straight and slightly behind you and squeeze your glutes as you step up.
  • Hold for one count, then lower your trailing leg back to the floor. Do 4 sets of 12 reps each leg.


Targets: glutes, hamstrings and the muscle underneath the glutes. This move will TORCH the cellulite from your booty!


#2 Rear/Side Leg Lifts

  • Place a thigh toner band around both ankles
  • Stand straight, feet shoulder width apart with hands on hips. Place all your weight on your left leg (the non-working leg).
  • Lift the right leg (the working leg) straight back, squeezing your glutes.
Hold 1 second and return the working leg to the starting position. Do 4 sets of 12 reps each leg.
  • Side Leg Lift: Repeat the exercise but lift the working leg out to the side, keeping your upper body as stationary as possible. Do 4 sets of 16 reps each leg.

Targets: glutes and outer hip.


#3 Lateral Lunge

  • Stand up straight, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms at your sides.
  • Step forward with the right foot and bend at the knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold 1 second.
  • Pushing through the heels, slowly push up until the working leg is straight and slowly descend down to the starting position. Repeat the move on the same leg for 12 reps. Do 4 sets of 12 reps each leg.

Targets: glutes and hamstrings.


#4 Band Leg Extensions

  • Place a thigh toner band around both ankles
  • Stand straight, feet hip width apart with hands on hips. Place all your weight on your left leg (the non-working leg).
  • Lift the right knee until the thigh is parallel to the floor (starting position).
  • Extend at the knee, pushing the right foot forward as far as the band will allow. Squeeze the quadricep and hold for 1 second. Bring the foot back to the starting position and repeat. Do 4 sets of 12 reps on each leg.
  • Targets: quadriceps


#5 3-Way Calf Raises

Hold a light to medium weight in each hand and do 25 calf raises in 3 different directions.

  • 1st set: Stand with feet parallel and do 15 slow reps and 10 fast reps.
  • 2nd set: Repeat the reps with heels together/toes pointed out 45 degrees.
  • 3rd set: Repeat the reps with toes together/heels out at 45-degree angle.


Do this LEG-A-LICIOUS routine once every 7 days to allow your muscles time to repair, recover and grow. For increased calorie burn and weight loss, do cardio at least 4 times a week. Step classes, Turbo Kick, Hip Hop, and RIPPED are my favorite group fitness classes. What’s important is that you find a cardio format you love and do it!

Happy Leg Day!


Written by MaShelle Dean
Hey Fam! I'm MaShelle, your Fit & Fabulous Coach. I'm an AFAA Certified Fitness Instructor and lifestyle blogger living in Atlanta with my husbae, Ron. The Jiggle Free Zone is the place to come for fitness inspiration, product reviews, and workout proof hair tutorials. Be sure to sign up for the Fit & Fab newsletter so you never miss my tips on living a #fitandfabulous life!