Time: 15-25 minutes
Give your legs a break from running, cycling, or your usual cardio and instead do some leg strength training. These intermediate free weights exercises for legs will expand your usual range of motion, and challenge your leg muscles in a novel way.
Basic Free Weights Exercises for Legs:
- Squat jumps: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart and toes pointed forward. Keep your arms stretched out in front of you, making sure to use them for balance, but don’t swing them back and forth. Squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then launch yourself upwards as high as you can, straightening your legs in the air before landing and descending immediately into the next squat. Do 8-12 squat jumps to make a complete set.
- Calf raises: Stand on the edge of a step with your toes, with your legs and back kept straight the entire time. Use your calf muscles to raise yourself so that you are standing as high as you can on your toes. Then lower yourself so that your heels are slightly below the edge of the step, providing a stretch for your calves after each raise. Do 15-30 reps to make a complete set. For added intensity, sling a barbell over your shoulders while you do these.
- Lunges: Stand and hold a dumbbell in each hand, with your arms at your sides. Step forward with one foot, bending your front leg to a 90 degree angle (keep your knee over your ankle), and lowering yourself down as far as possible before returning to your standing position and repeating on the other leg. The goal of every lunge should be to get your back leg’s knee to lightly brush the floor before standing up. Do 12-15 to make a complete set.