Several cardio workouts help build and strengthen the bone density in your legs and also assist you in achieving overall cardiovascular fitness.
Strong and toned legs help you jump, walk, run and balance, and also to undertake everyday activities. Cardio exercises for the legs mainly engage your entire lower body and help improve your leg strength while also burning a good amount of calories.
Cardio workouts to get stronger legs
Here are a few effective cardio exercises for men to get stronger and toned legs. The moves listed below are mostly low-impact and easy to perform in the comfort of your own home:
Squats are one of the best cardio exercises to strengthen your legs. This exercise helps define your hips, butts and abs, and targets almost all the major muscles in your lower body.
Moreover, squats are also helpful if you have any type of back problem, as they are performed in a standing position and don’t require additional weight, which is one of the major causes of back strain.
Here’s how to squat correcty:
- Start by standing straight with your feet a bit wider than your hips. Point your toes outward, and look straight.
- Put both your arms out in front of you in a way that they are parallel to the ground. Keep your spine neutral and chest up.
- Put all your weight on the balls and heels of your feet.
- Make sure your body is tight and upright throughout the movement.
- Breathe deeply, tighten your core, and push your body down with your butt back. As your knees start to bend, keep pushing your hips backwards.
- Once you squat down, keep your knees aligned with your feet, and slowly get up and take the initial position.
For better support and balance, you may perform squats alongside a wall or on the edge of a table or chair.
Lunges are great leg exercises that work on your buttocks, abs and thighs. This move requires you to use both your legs together, making it an ideal workout for toned legs. This exercise also enhances the stability and strength of your legs, as you need to balance your entire body weight on one leg.
Here’s how to perform lunges:
- Stand upright with your feet hip-width apart.
- Tighten your core.
- With your right leg, take a big step forward.
- Start to put your weight forward, and allow your heel to touch the floor first.
- Slowly lower your body so that your right thigh gets parallel to the ground, and your right shin is in a vertical position.
- In a controlled manner, press your right heel, and raise your body up back to the starting position.
- Repeat the same movement on the other side.
Step-ups are just like one-legged squats, and this movement targets your thighs, buttocks and hips. For this exercise, though, you’ll need a raised platform, such as a plyometric box or a bench.
Here’s how to perform step-ups:
- Stand straight with a bench or a plyo box in front of you.
- Step up on the bench with your right foot, and press through your heels to keep the leg in a straight position.
- Bring your left foot towards your right on the top of the bench.
- Slowly bend your right knee slightly, and step back down in a controlled manner with your left foot.
- Bring your right foot down, and take the starting position.
4) Box jumps
Box jumps are one of the best explosive exercises to make your legs stronger. This exercise helps improve your legs, core and butt.
Here’s how to perform box jumps:
- Stand straight in front of a box. Make sure the box is strong enough and is around 50 cm.
- Keep your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend slightly into a quarter squat position, swing your arms back and forward, and jump up off the floor with full energy.
- Land softly on the box with your knees slightly bent and feet flat on the box.
- In a controlled manner, jump back down on the floor, and make sure you land softly. You may also just step down one leg at a time to prevent any unnecessary pain in your joints.
5) Speedskater jumps
Speedskater jumps or lateral jumps basically engage your entire leg muscles. Apart from that, this exercise also enhances your lungs' ability and strength. When performing this workout, begin with small jumps and then increase them gradually.
Here’s how to perform speedskater jumps:
- Stand straight, and keep your legs hip-width apart.
- Your knees and hips should be slightly bent.
- Shift your entire body weight onto your left leg, and take your right foot off the floor.
- Bend your left knee, and lower your hips down a few inches.
- Push your body explosively off your left foot; jump to the right side, and land softly on your right leg.
- Take your left leg towards your right without touching it on the ground.
- Repeat the movement on the other side.
When doing speedskater jumps, make sure to jump as far and explosively as possible. The more power you put in, the more your hips and leg muscles will get targeted.
Cycling is one of the most enjoyable and effective cardio workouts that fully targets your thigh muscles. Every time you use the pedals, your glutes and quadriceps get activated while also engaging your hamstrings and calves. Moreover, it also targets your adductor muscles located on the inner side of your thighs.
Cardio workouts are most effective in terms of toning and strengthening your legs. When performing these exercises, make sure to wear comfortable clothes so that you may do all these workouts comfortably and efficiently.
You may also opt for compression garments, as they regulate blood flow in the body and also aid in muscle repair.