The key to leg exercises that do double duty is picking moves that require you to use your core to stabilize the body as you execute the move. Maintaining balance and engaging your core helps you do more than tone your legs. Your abs will get some love, too.
Single leg side plank with leg raise
Lie on your side and position yourself on your bottom elbow and side of your foot. Raise your hips so that they’re off the ground and your body forms a straight line from your ankles to your shoulders. Engage your abs. While keeping your torso stable, raise your top leg without bending your knee. Hold for a few seconds if you are a beginner, longer of not. Repeat for desired number of reps. Adapted from MSN Lifestyle
Single leg bridge
Start by lying face up with arms extended and palms down. Bend your knees bent and flex your feet (only your heels should touch the ground). Keeping your right leg straight extend it toward the ceiling while keeping your foot flexed. Engage your abs, press down through your left heel, and lift your hips as high as possible. Now slowly lower your hips to lightly tap the floor. That’s one rep. Repeat for desired number of reps for each leg.
Single leg lunges
Keep your spine straight with your shoulders back and relaxed. Hold your chin up and your abs in tight. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and make sure your other knee doesn’t touch the floor. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position. Repeat on the other side to complete one rep. Continue for desired number of reps.
Single leg toe touches
Start by standing with all your weight on your left foot. Keeping your spine straight, reach forward, bending your left knee and touching your fingers to the floor a few inches in front of your toes. Keep your abs engaged to stabilize your torso. Your right leg will go behind you for support. Press your left heel into the ground as you lift your torso to stand, bringing the right foot to touch next to the left foot. This completes one rep. Continue for desired number of reps.
Position your back on our towel or mat with legs fully extended. Raise your legs until you have a 90-degree bend at your hips. Keeping legs fully extended, slowly lower to one side of your body, almost to the floor. Bring them back to the 90-degre angle and then lower to the other side of your body to complete one rep. Continue for desired number of reps.
Get more bang for your exercise buck with these multi-tasking moves. Try them a few times each week and see if there isn’t just a little less of you to love.