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A lot of people struggle with toning their legs, especially because exercises like squats and lunges can be hard on the knees. The good news is that you don't need to lunge or squat your way to strong, toned legs. Use these three exercises to target this popular problem area — all while reducing the impact on your knees!
1. Laying inner thigh leg raises
Lay on your right side with your hands placed to the right of your body. Support your weight with your right arm slightly behind you. Bend your left leg at a 90-degree angle on the ground and your right leg will be extended, resting on the ground.
Begin by raising your right leg and keeping the rest of your body stable. Your upper body shouldn't be moving, only your right leg. Raise it and lower it for 20 reps, then repeat on the opposite side.
The position of your foot will determine what part of your thigh this works the most. Your foot should be relaxed and in a straight line with your leg, not flexed or overly pointed. If your toes are pointed up, you will be engaging your hip flexors which isn't what you want. Keep your leg straight throughout with minimal knee bending during the leg raises and keep your hips as stable as possible as well. Squeeze your inner thigh at the peak of the raise.
2. Laying scissor kicks
Lay on the ground with your back completely flat. There should be no arch in your back. Raise both legs up to a 45-degree angle from your body. Begin the exercise by swinging your legs open, then crossing your left leg over your right leg, back open, then crossing your right leg over your left leg. Continue this movement for 30 reps.
3. Three way standing leg raise
Stand with both feet together and hands at your hips. Begin by swinging your left leg forward, keeping your upper body still. Once your leg reaches a 45-degree angle, pause and hold for one second. Release your left leg back to the starting position, but do not let your left foot rest on the ground. You will also be practicing your balance and stabilization during this exercise.
Now, raise your left leg directly to the side. Do not pivot your hips during this movement, your leg muscles should be supporting the resistance alone. Hold your left leg out to the side at a 45-degree angle for one second. Release your left leg back to the starting position, then raise your left leg back and once it is at a 45-degree angle, hold for a second. Repeat for 10 rounds. One round is raising your leg forward, to the side, then back. Once you are done with the left side, repeat on the right side.
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