How long does it take to tone legs?
Legs are often overlooked when it comes to working out. The ones that usually properly involve the lower part of the body when they train, do so professionally, as bodybuilders or sportsmen. However, strong leg muscles are not only the sign of a well-rounded exercise routine, but also a great benefit to your body in general. Legs along with the spine are the main parts of the locomotor apparatus, which supports your body and allows you to walk. When you grow muscles in your upper body, your legs and spine feel more pressure. That is why, if you want them to keep up with your muscle development, you need to exercise them too. And if you’ve only recently started paying mind to your lower body muscles, you’ve probably asked yourself this question– “How long does it take to tone legs?”. If you follow all the tips this article lays out religiously, you’ll banish the chub rub, build up your muscles and improve the shape of your legs in only three months. So, read on about the techniques and tricks which will accelerate the process of toning your lower body.
Effective tips to tone your legs
Toning your body in the shortest period of time is what one might call an uphill battle. You must be insanely determined to do it, and unwaveringly stick to the following tips and recommendations. Only when you do so, you can get the result you were shooting for in the time frame of 3 months. However, the first achievements will occur much earlier. First you will feel the change yourself, then you will see it, and eventually others will notice it too. There is no need to hesitate because it is worth all the trials and tribulations. So, without further ado, here are some tricks and valid advice that will help you tone up your legs:
Review your commute
This tip is not only environmentally friendly, and money-saving, but also highly effective for strengthening your legs. If you live not very far from your work, use a healthier and more active way to get there. You can run, walk, use a bicycle or even skates if you like. Of course, huffing and puffing all the way to work might seem like a hassle, but it is one of the most natural and sure-fire ways to boost your leg muscles. And if you also want to shed a couple of pounds, it will only add to the number of burned calories.
Follow a healthy nutrition plan
Although, to reach your goal, physical activity is highly important, don’t forget to eat healthily. Any activity requires energy, which comes from calories. You need to consume a proper number of calories, which can vary depending on what your goal is, whether you want to lose, gain, or maintain your weight. If you want to slim down, or sustain your current shape, eat more fruits and vegetables, as they are filled with vitamins and other vital nutrients, and are relatively low in calories. Also increase your intake of healthy fats, which you can find in some nuts and seeds. If you want to get buffed, consume more protein-rich foods. And no matter the goal, remember to sustain proper hydration. Slug back a lot of water, especially after your workout to make up for all the fluid you lost.
Use a pedometer
This easy-to-use tool will be of great help if you want to tone up your legs. In order to reach the desired result, the number on your pedometer should be within the range of at least ten thousand steps daily (1). If you follow the first tip, it should make up for it, if not, then what are you waiting for? Take a walk when you have free time on your hands; take a lunch to work and go somewhere to eat, the nearest park or alley would do; when you watch TV, listen to music, cook, or even read a book, walk instead of lying, sitting or standing aimlessly.
Take good care of your knees
Your knees are among the most important joints in your body. If not performed correctly, intensive leg workouts, and increased pressure may have some negative consequences for your knees (4). If you run, use a proper technique. Make sure that you warm up before the training. Aerobic training can help you reduce inflammation and therefore elevate the pain, and resistance exercises will support the knee and muscles that surround it (6). However, if you experience great pain, or it is accompanied by other symptoms, like swelling, redness, fever, and others, consult with a doctor (7).
Make sure you stretch enough
Stretches are a vital part of any workout. A lot of people underestimate the importance of stretching and tend to skip it. However, there is a good reason why every warm-up includes them. Proper stretching promotes the flexibility of your muscles, adding to their proper functioning. They help to prevent injuries and add to the fuller range of motion of your joints (9). Besides that, they can be used to relieve certain pains and treat neuralgias (8).
Catch up on the lunges
Lunges are among the most efficient exercises for your leg muscles. To perform a lunge, stand straight and put your hands on your hips. Make a large step with your left leg. Your right leg should be bent in the knee, but the toes must remain on the starting point. Now repeat the step, with your right leg first (2).
Take it slow
Speeding up the pace and adding more weights are not the only ways of increasing the difficulty of an exercise. Sometimes slowing down the pace may double the effect of training. So, if you feel like lunges are not that efficient anymore, try to take a pause while in the lunge, hold the position for 5 seconds and then continue.
Fully involve your glutes
Glutes are considered to be one of the most important parts of your legs. They require undivided attention and a decent training. If you want to activate your glutes before the “squat-attack”, perform a set or two of bridges. Lie down on your back, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Slowly lift your hips, to the point when they create a straight line with your spine and knees. Hold the position for a couple of seconds (or more, if you follow the 7th tip). Now lower your hips, returning to the initial position (3). Perform 10-15 reps per set.
Incorporate leg exercises into each workout
It is only natural, that if you want to grow muscles on a certain part of your body, for example, your arms, chest, or abs, you include exercises that focus on those parts into your workout. The same goes for your legs. If you want to successfully tone them up, make sure that your every training involves your leg muscles.
Make it equal
One of the main rules of a proper workout is that it should involve as many muscle groups as possible, providing them with equal development and avoiding muscle imbalances. Correct proportions are among the key points of attractiveness and a healthy and strong body. That is why you need to make sure that you keep the balance during the training and equally exercise both your legs.
Add some jumping
Pushing your weight off the ground requires more effort and adds to the intensity of your workout. If you want to significantly speed up the process of toning up your lower body, incorporate a couple of bouncy exercises into your training (10). One such exercise, a jump squat, may be a great option for you. To perform a jump squat, stand with your feet a little bit more than your shoulder-width apart. Get into a squat – bend your knees and lower your hips, until your thighs are parallel to the ground, and knees create a 90° angle. If needed, stretch your hands in front of you, to keep a balance. Now, instead of simply returning to a standing position, you need to jump. Right before you completely straighten up, push your feet off the ground and bounce off. That is one rep.
Be careful with ankle weights
Although adding some weight is a great way of increasing the difficulty of your workout and boosting your results, you need to be careful with ankle weights. As ankles are among the most vulnerable parts of your legs and body in general, a wrong movement can cause a serious injury. The additional ankle weights can strain your ligaments and result in excess stress on your ankles, knees, and hips. Instead you can use walking poles or weighted west. They will increase the intensity of your leg workout, without harming your body (5).
Missing leg days and thinking that they are not that important is a huge mistake. The muscles of your legs are the vital part of your locomotor apparatus, so it is essential to focus on their growth and development, when you increase your upper body weight. If you are wondering “how long does it take to tone legs?”, as you want to do it as fast as possible, so that they would catch up with the rapid development of your torso, this article can be of great help for you. Follow all the above-stated tips and you will be able to reach your goal in approximately three months. If you don’t feel like drastically changing your exercising routine, and focusing only on your legs right now, you can gradually incorporate the before-mentioned techniques and tricks into your training and everyday life. Even a slight change will bring about significant results as time passes. However, be sure to check with your doctor or personal trainer, before you make any adjustments to your workout.
While working hard on your legs, don’t forget to tone your entire body. Take up this 20 min Full Body Workout at Home and stay healthy!
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!
- 10,000 steps a day: Too low? Too high? (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- 5-Minute Lunge and Squat Workout (n.d., webmd.com)
- Bridge exercise (n.d., mayoclinic.org)
- Common causes of severe knee pain (2018, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Could ankle weights help me get more out of my usual walking routine? (2018, mayoclinic.org)
- Knee Pain Dos and Don’ts (2018, webmd.com)
- Knee pain: Symptom When to see a doctor (2018, mayoclinic.org)
- Six sciatica stretches for pain relief (2017, medicalnewstoday.com)
- Stretching: Focus on flexibility (2020, mayoclinic.org)
- Tweak your walking routine for muscle and bone health (2019, mayoclinic.org)