Get a Leg Up With These Moves!

Summer is around the corner, and it's just about time for shorts and skirts. Aren't you tired of covering up your legs with baggy pants and toe-skimming skirts? Of course you are — it's hot under all those clothes! To gain the confidence to flaunt a fabulous pair of gams, you need to learn about your leg muscles and which exercises effectively target them. Let's take a good look at the upper and lower legs:

Upper Legs
The two main muscle groups of your upper legs are the hamstrings and quadriceps.

  • The hamstrings, located on the backs of your thighs, are responsible for knee flexion. Knee flexion is the movement that brings your heel back up toward your buttock.
  • The quadriceps are the muscles on the front of your thighs. Their main function is knee extension, the movement that straightens the legs.

Lower Legs
The two major muscle groups in your lower legs are the calf muscles, which include the gastrocnemius and soleus muscles, and the dorsiflexors.

  • The gastrocnemius and soleus muscles are located on the back of your lower legs. They are involved in plantar flexion, which allows us to extend our ankles and point our toes.
  • The dorsiflexors are located on the front of your lower legs and are primarily used for dorsiflexion, in which you bring your toes up toward your shins.

Try these moves to work your total legs:

Hamstring Curls on Ball

  • Lie on your back with your feet on top of an exercise ball. Your heels should rest on top of the ball. Pushing your heels into the ball, lift your hips. Your head, shoulders, and arms are on the floor and your body is in one long line.
  • Bend your knees and use your feet to roll the ball in toward your glutes. Use your legs to lower your body down and roll the ball back to the starting position. Repeat.

Plié Hops

  • Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, with your feet turned out and knees slightly bent. Place your hands on your hips. Lower your hips so that your knees bend to about 45 degrees.
  • Then in one explosive movement, push from your feet to straighten your legs and hop into the air. Both feet should come off the ground. Repeat.

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