This 28-day leg challenge has three options to help you tone those muscles around your calves and thighs or focus on firming your buttocks while working your legs. Which of these lower body areas affects you the most? Each option provides different support.
First, let’s understand what a 28-day leg challenge is, how it works, and give tips to ensure you get the most out of your results.
What Is A 28-Day Leg Challenge?
This 28-day leg challenge helps you pump, tone, and firm leg muscles by focusing on the primary muscles in the upper and lower legs, including (14):
- Calves: Gastrocnemius, soleus, tibialis posterior, and popliteus
- Hamstrings: Biceps femoris, semimembranosus, and semitendinosus
- Hip Adductors: Adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, gracilis, and obturator externus
- Hip Flexors: Illiacus, psoas, pectineus, rectus femoris and sartorius.
- Quadriceps:: Rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, and vastus intermedius
A 28-day leg challenge helps you focus on the muscles within a region of your body to strengthen and tone them. Additionally, some individuals wish to focus on toning the buttocks muscles, also known as the gluteus maximus muscles or glutes (1).
A 28-day leg and butt challenge works in this case. Individuals target specific muscle groups to challenge themselves, which works well if you’re bored of the same old routines. Besides this, you can change your 28-day challenges to target other areas.
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Is the 28-Day Leg Challenge Effective?
Toned legs in 28 days are possible with a consistent routine or challenge. Harvard Health states you can typically feel results in 4-6 weeks of consistent training (4). Maintaining a consistent performance as part of a 28-day challenge will show results.
Research on rats over 28 days proved that training leg muscles can benefit you in multiple ways (13). Rats were given exercises to strengthen their front limbs for 28 days, which resulted in the rodents forming new brain cells and reducing stress more efficiently.
Is 20 Minutes of Leg Day Enough?
The Mayo Clinic confirms that 20-30 minutes of leg training, 2-3 times weekly, is enough to build and strengthen muscles (17). You only need 20-minute sessions on your leg days to begin toning and firming up muscles. This process also works for your glutes and buttocks.
Is it OK to Train Legs 3 Times a Week?
Indeed, Harvard suggests two days weekly is enough to strengthen leg muscles (4). Adding more days is excellent as they suggest that you continue to challenge yourself for continued progress. In addition, add more reps and sets over a 28-day challenge to progressively train the legs.
How to Thin Thighs in 28 Days
A 28-day leg lift challenge with cardio workouts daily can burn fat and potentially thin your thighs (4). Livestrong recommends a daily 500-1000 calorie deficit and adding 75-150 minutes of cardio weekly to burn thigh fat (5). They suggest a 155 lbs. person burns these calories in 30 minutes:
- 4 mph brisk walking: 167
- 6 mph running: 372
- Swimming laps: 372
- Water aerobics: 149
Challenge yourself with a 28-day leg lift or brisk walking challenge to thin your thighs.
28-Day Leg Challenge Guidelines – 2 Options
The 28-day leg challenge helps you challenge yourself to tone, tighten, and strengthen your leg muscles (14). Another challenge will help you tone the buttocks, too (1). Let’s help you through three challenges to tone any part you wish.
28-Day Toned and Firm Legs Workout Plan
The toned and firm legs workout will do what you came here to do. It focuses on using exercises that calm down the right muscles, uses progressive reps and sets, and follows a day-by-day routine to keep you consistent.
7 Leg Challenge Workout Exercises
A toned and firm legs workout must target the hamstrings, calves, thighs, and quads in your legs (14). Before diving into the routine, let’s see which exercises work well to tone and tighten various muscles in your upper and lower legs.
Livestrong recommends calf raises to target the calf flexors, soleus, gastrocnemius, and peroneus muscles in your lower legs (19). These are muscles in the front and back parts of your leg below the knees. The reps will count for each leg.
- Stand with your feet together,
- Rise to your tiptoes,
- Hold the stance, pushing into your toes,
- Lower back down slowly.
Resistance Band Clamshells
Clamshells strengthen and tone the inner and outer thigh muscles, pelvic floor, and outer glutes (6). Few exercises target the inner and outer thighs well enough. The reps will work on each leg for this exercise.
- Wrap a resistance band just above your knees while lying on your side,
- Rest on your elbow under your shoulder with your legs stacked,
- Keep your feet together as you open your knees until you get a diamond shape,
- Close them slowly to allow the band to add resistance.
Straight-leg raises contract the hip adductors, hip flexors, and quadriceps to target the upper leg muscles, pelvis, and hips (16). Also, you’ll work the obliques on the sides of your abdomen. Count your reps per leg.
- Lie on your back while resting a heel on a chair,
- Keep your arms by your sides as you raise the other leg,
- Press into your heel while lifting your body as high as possible,
- Lower back before repeating on the other side.
- Spread your feet slightly wider than your hips, turning your toes out slightly,
- Shift your weight onto your heels while keeping your chest out,
- Lower yourself into a squat until your body wants to bend forward,
- Push pressure on your heels to rise back up.
Step-ups are an excellent leg conditioning exercise that works on the quads, hamstrings, and glutes (20). It also adds moderate cardio to burn fat in the legs, and you can change the pace of your workout (5). The reps for this exercise will count per leg.
- Keep one foot flat on a step while the other is flat on the ground,
- Raise the floor’s foot until it lies flat next to the step’s foot,
- Reverse the movement until you’re back on the ground.
Lateral or side lunges work the hamstrings, quads, hip adductors, outer glutes, and thighs (11). They’re ideal for leg challenges because they target the inner and outer thighs. The reps count per leg.
- Keep your toes pointed in the same direction as you take a wide step to the right,
- Push your hips back and bend your right knee as you step out,
- Push into your right foot to return to the starting position,
- Repeat on the other side to complete one rep.
Pulse lunges primarily tone the inner and outer thighs and quads (3). You’ll also work the glutes, hamstrings, and calves to a lesser degree by doing pulse lunges.
- Step forward partially into a quarter lunge for the starting position,
- Start pulsing your body up and down about three inches, keeping your back straight,
- Change sides to repeat on the other side.
Toned and Firm Legs Workout Routine
Use the seven leg challenge exercises in order. Remember to count the reps per leg for calf raises, resistance band clamshells, single-leg raises, step-ups, and lateral lunges. Also, complete ten pulses per side for a rep count on the lunge pulses.
The 28-day leg challenge workout plan includes a gradual progression, as suggested by Harvard (4). The reps per exercise slowly progress while the sets only increase weekly. Also, you’ll enjoy rest days to help your muscles recover between leg days.
|Day 1 2 sets, 5 reps||Day 8 3 sets, 5 reps||Day 15 Rest||Day 22 5 sets, 6 reps|
|Day 2 2 sets, 5 reps||Day 9 Rest||Day 16 4 sets, 6 reps||Day 23 5 sets, 6 reps|
|Day 3 Rest||Day 10 3 sets, 5 reps||Day 17 4 sets, 6 reps||Day 24 Rest|
|Day 4 2 sets, 6 reps||Day 11 3 sets, 5 reps||Day 18 Rest||Day 25 5 sets, 7 reps|
|Day 5 2 sets, 6 reps||Day 12 Rest||Day 19 4 sets, 7 reps||Day 26 Rest|
|Day 6 Rest||Day 13 3 sets, 6 reps||Day 20 4 sets, 7 reps||Day 27 5 sets, 8 reps|
|Day 7 2 sets, 7 reps||Day 14 3 sets, 6 reps||Day 21 Rest||Day 28 5 sets, 8 reps|
28-Day Leg and Buttocks Workout at Home
A leg and butt challenge should target both muscle groups, progressively raise the bar, and challenge you to push for more. Let’s first look at the exercises before diving into the plan.
7 Leg and Butt Workouts to Use
Plyometric squats enhance the force on your leg and butt muscles, including the hamstrings, quads, glutes, and hip adductors and flexors (2). This explosive, cardiovascular exercise, elevates the heart rate and effectively burns calories which can help to burn away fat in the legs and buttocks (5). Start your routine by raising your heart rate.
- Position your feet slightly wider than your shoulders,
- Squat until your thighs are slightly higher than your knees,
- Propel yourself up with your heels to leave the ground,
- Land with bent knees and settle back into a squat.
Curtsy lunges are effective for toning quads and glutes (7). Also, you engage the hip adductors to return the thighs in place. The reps for curtsy lunges are per leg.
- Position your feet to shoulder width,
- Put your weight into your left foot as you step back and around with your right foot,
- Your arms rise in front of your chest as you curtsy around,
- Stop lunging when your left foot is parallel to the ground,
- Push into your left heel to straighten that leg while returning your right foot.
Sumo squats burn those inner thighs and hip adductors while targeting the glutes, hamstrings, quads, and calves (18). Sumo squats engage the inner thighs more than regular squats. .
- Get into a traditional squat position before extending your feet 3-4 feet wide,
- Point your toes outward and hold your hands in front of your chest,
- Move your hips back slightly without bending forward,
- Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor,
- Pause in the squat position for 10 seconds before coming back up.
Jumping jacks are well-known as a whole-body workout. However, they also target and can help strengthen the glutes, hip flexors, and hamstrings while giving you another cardio workout (10). This means jumping jacks is your core workout to keep your heart rate up until the end.
- Stand with your feet together and your back straight,
- Bend your knees slightly in a fast motion while putting pressure on your heels,
- Your arms will swing to your sides and overhead as you jump,
- Land gently by keeping your knees slightly bent before standing upright again.
Romanian deadlifts work the entire posterior, including the lower back muscles, glutes, calves, hip flexors, and hamstrings (15). Fortunately, you can use anything weighted at home to perform the deadlifts. However, stick to weights you’re comfortable with before progressing.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and back straight,
- Hold a weight in front of your legs
- Initiate the movement by hinging at your hips, keeping the weight close to your legs
- Keeping your back straight, core engaged, you should feel a stretch down the back of your legs
- Drive your hips forward to return to the starting position
Reverse lunges can tone and strengthen the hamstrings, glutes, hip adductors, and quads (12). The reps you count will be per leg, as it’s a unilateral exercise.
- Start with your feet together and your hands on your hips,
- Step back with your right foot until your left thigh is parallel to the floor,
- Press your body weight into your left heel to return the right foot.
End with glute bridges to bring your heart rate back down. Also, they don’t only work your glutes. Glute bridges can strengthen and tone the hamstrings and hip adductors (9).
- Lie with your knees shoulder-width apart,
- Move your heels 6-8 inches from your buttocks,
- Engage your glutes as you slowly raise your hips and core,
- Hold the squeeze for a few seconds before lowering slowly.
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Legs and Butt Workout Routine
Use the seven leg and butt challenge exercises in order. Remember to count the reps per leg for curtsy lunges and reverse lunges. Also, use any weights to do your Romanian deadlifts. The 28-day leg and butt challenge plan includes gradual progression (4).
The reps per exercise slowly progress while the sets only increase weekly. You’ll also enjoy rest days to help your muscles recover between leg days.
|Day 1 2 sets, 6 reps||Day 8 3 sets, 6 reps||Day 15 Rest||Day 22 5 sets, 6 reps|
|Day 2 2 sets, 6 reps||Day 9 Rest||Day 16 4 sets, 6 reps||Day 23 5 sets, 7 reps|
|Day 3 Rest||Day 10 3 sets, 6 reps||Day 17 4 sets, 7 reps||Day 24 Rest|
|Day 4 2 sets, 7 reps||Day 11 3 sets, 7 reps||Day 18 Rest||Day 25 5 sets, 7 reps|
|Day 5 2 sets, 7 reps||Day 12 Rest||Day 19 4 sets, 7 reps||Day 26 Rest|
|Day 6 Rest||Day 13 3 sets, 7 reps||Day 20 4 sets, 8 reps||Day 27 5 sets, 8 reps|
|Day 7 2 sets, 8 reps||Day 14 3 sets, 8 reps||Day 21 Rest||Day 28 5 sets, 8 reps|
How Can I Tone and Firm My Legs?
The Mayo Clinic suggests strength training your legs for 20-30 minutes 2-3 days weekly to tone and strengthen the muscles in calves, thighs, hamstrings, and glutes (17). Free weights, suspension, body weight, or resistance training can tone them nicely.
How Can I Tighten My Legs and Tone Fast?
Progressive workouts and added cardio tighten your legs faster. Harvard recommends strength training your legs at least twice weekly, but constantly challenging yourself will help them tighten and tone better (4). Adding 75-150 minutes of cardio weekly can burn fat and tighten those legs quicker (5). Add a 500-1000 calorie deficit daily to see even faster results.
How Long Does it Take for Legs to Look Toned?
Following a 28-day leg challenge shows toned muscles. Harvard states that a consistent workout routine lasting 4-6 weeks is enough time to feel results (4). Fortunately, 28-day challenges encourage you to remain consistent with progressive reps, sets, and times to keep challenging you.
Will Walking 10,000 Steps a Day Tone My Legs?
A leg up, leg down challenge for 28 days will help tone your legs. Walking 10,000 steps a day burns calories (8). The number depends on your weight, height, and pace. However, you’ll have to follow the cardio workout consistently, lasting at least 28 days for results (4).
The Bottom Line
The 28-day leg challenge or the alternative butt and leg challenge can tone and firm your legs and butt in just four weeks. Follow the advice, stick to the rest days, and keep progressing with your sets and reps to see the best results at the end of your challenge.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Anatomy: Bony Pelvis and Lower Limb, Gluteus Maximus Muscles (2023, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Benefits of Squats, Variations, and Muscles Worked (2023, healthline.com)
- Bodyweight Lunge Pulse (n.d., exercise.com)
- Building Better Muscle – Harvard Health (2022, health.harvard.edu)
- Cardio That Blasts Thigh Fat | Livestrong (2019, livestrong.com)
- Clamshell Exercise: Should I Try It? (2018, healthline.com)
- Curtsy Lunge: 15 Benefits, Form Tips, Variations, Weights (2020, healthline.com)
- How Many Calories Burned In 10,000 Steps? (2023, betterme.world)
- How to Do a Glute Bridge (2022, webmd.com)
- How to Do Jumping Jacks (2022, webmd.com)
- How to Do Side Lunges: Techniques, Benefits, Variations (2021, verywellfit.com)
- How to Do the Reverse Lunge for Lower-Body Strength and Stamina (2022, livestrong.com)
- Leg Exercise is Critical to Brain and Nervous System Health (2018, sciencedaily.com)
- Leg Muscles: Anatomy and Function (2021, my.clevelandclinic.org)
- Romanian Deadlift – PhysioPedia (n.d., physio-pedia.com)
- Straight Leg Raises (SLR) Exercise – Health Benefits, How to (2022, samarpanphysioclinic.com)
- Strength Training: Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier (2023, mayoclinic.org)
- Sumo Squat: How-To, Benefits, and Muscles Worked (2022, healthline.com)
- The Muscles Worked During Calf Raises | Livestrong (n.d., livestrong.com)
- Video: Step-Up Exercise – Mayo Clinic (2023, mayoclinic.org)