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10 Best Leg Exercises for Weight Loss (From a Trainer)

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: July 27, 2021

You may already know several exercises that promise slimmer waistlines and perfect-looking shapes to look your best and feel good.

But do you know that leg exercises can surprisingly do just that and offer more?

Read on to know what leg exercises are the best, worth noting for burning fat. Let's start.

Are Leg Exercises Good For Losing Body Fat?

a walking man's calves with muscles

Leg exercises are good for body fat loss because they can help you build muscle in your lower body, resulting in more speed, strength, and power needed to endure longer workouts.

What Are The Advantages Of Leg Exercises?

  • Strengthen your legs which results in longer and better workouts
  • Faster fat loss due to prolonged and consistent workouts
  • Improve your cardiovascular health and prevent strain to the lower back

Our Top 10 Leg Exercises for Fat Burning

Leg exercises can work to lose weight with or without any special equipment. However, using state-of-the-art machines may bring results sooner as they add more intensity to the workout.

Here are the most effective leg workouts to reduce weight:

1. Goblet Squats

woman in a goblet squat position

The Goblet squat is a basic squat position holding a kettlebell or dumbbell in front of your body. It targets your glutes, calves, hamstrings, and quads and engages your core.

Doing Goblet squats is a good option for those with back injuries as it offers less strain on the lower lumbar and spine.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: Kettlebell or Dumbbell

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Hold the kettlebell or dumbbell before your chest using both hands. Maintain the elbows close to your body.

Next, squat down by pressing your heels on the floor. Push your hips back up while keeping your thighs parallel to the ground. Repeat as many repetitions as possible.

2. Deadlifts

shirtless man weightlifting a heavy barbell

A deadlift is a lower-body exercise where a bar is lifted off the ground while keeping a good posture. It works on your glutes, quads, and hamstrings. It also engages your core, lower and upper body.

Deadlifting helps promote quicker fat loss, increase cardio endurance and muscle strength. It stabilizes your core and improves posture.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: Barbell

Start by placing the barbell in front and stand shoulder-width apart. Keep your upper body straight as you slightly sit back. Bend forward to hold the barbell, one palm facing down and the other facing up.

Next, roll the barbell under your shin, keeping it tight to your body.

Then, stand up by pulling your knees first, then setting off your glutes while keeping your legs and shoulders upright. Slowly bring down the barbell and get back to the starting position.

3. Curtsy Lunges

smiling female in a curtsy lunge position

The Curtsy Lunge is an excellent fat-burning exercise to brace yourself for balance. It primarily engages your quads and gluteal muscles.

Curtsy lunges can improve posture by strengthening and sculpting the inner thigh and stabilizing your hips and ankles. It is less risky for knee injuries while losing weight.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: None

Start in a standing position, with feet aligned with the hips, hands on your sides. Step back with your right foot, and fix it crossing behind your left. Flex your knees and drop your hips as deep as you can, keeping your upper body straight.

Then, come back to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.

4. Glute-Ham Raises (GHR)

woman in a glute-ham raise position in a gym

Glute-Ham Raise means challenging the leg muscle group to a fat-burning exercise that works to strengthen your glutes and hamstring. These backside muscles of your body are often missed in workout routines.

GHR can strengthen your legs to help you better perform in other workouts. It lessens low back strain while trimming those unwanted fats.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: GHR machine.

Position by setting up the footplate where you can be most relaxed. Get on your knees slightly behind or directly on the pad, with your feet against the footplate. Next, allow your calves to rest against the top ankle hook.

Start with your upper body at a 90-degree angle to the ground, and fold your arms across your chest. Tighten your glutes, core, and hamstrings, then slowly drop your body until your torso is parallel to the ground.

Finally, move up to starting position by pushing your feet into the footplate and squeezing your hams and glutes. Raise your body perpendicular to the ground.

Maintain control of your movement with every repetition to prevent an injury.

5. Leg Raises

woman on a yoga mat laid on her back raising both legs

The leg raises exercise is a fat-burning exercise that engages muscle groups throughout your body. But, it works mainly on your hamstrings, quadriceps, hip flexors, and lower back muscles.

Leg raises strengthen your lower body muscles for a better workout. It also helps in fat burning while toning your abs muscles.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: None

Start by lying flat on your back. Next, pull legs together and lift them straight up in the air.

Your butt should come off the floor. Next, slowly lower your legs just above the floor. Hold for a moment, and repeat by raising your legs back up.

6. Step-Ups

rubber shoes view of a person using a stairs

Step-ups are cardiovascular training that engages the buttocks and works the leg muscles independently. It mainly targets the quads, glutes, and hamstrings.\

Step-ups can improve balance and increase endurance by promoting overall leg and lower body strength. It lessens stress on your lower body while losing weight.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: Box/Platform

Start by placing a stable platform or box in front, enough to carry your maximum weight. Stand up hip-width apart, with feet pointed forward. Take a step on the box with your right foot, then followed by your left.

As you lift your body, keep your heel fixed firmly, your legs straight, and your glutes and abs tightened. Then, move down with your right foot and follow with the left. Get back to the starting position and repeat.

7. Skaters

man doing skater exercise in gym clothes

Skaters exercise is the simple act of skating without the skates that can get your heart rate up while slimming you down. It works on your quads, glutes, outer thigh, hamstring, calves, and core muscles.

Skaters can improve stability, endurance, coordination, and balance by strengthening legs, lower body, and abs.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment:  None

Start in a standing position, legs a little wider than the shoulders. Lean forward, keeping your back flat and core tight.

Next, leap to the right side using your right foot and bring your left foot behind. Swing your right arm before your chest.

Then, take the back leg forward, arms switching to go back and forth in a skating motion.

8. Inner Thigh Lift

woman in an inner thigh lift position on a yoga mat

The inner thigh lift is a Pilates exercise that strengthens your knees and lower-back muscles. It works primarily on your inner thighs and gluteal muscles.

Inner thigh lift provides stability to hip joints, improves your balance during heavy weight lifting.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: None

Position by lying on your right side. Fix your right elbow underneath your shoulder and in line with your right hip. Extend your bottom leg straight and cross your top leg over it.

Begin the workout by moving your extended leg up and down, keeping a space above the ground. Maintain your bottom foot flexed. Switch sides and repeat.

9. Single-Leg Circles (One-Leg Circles)

woman raising one leg up while laying on a yoga mat

Single-leg circles are a classic Pilates exercise that looks simple to do but offers a challenging deal. The circular movement of the leg works on your quads, glutes, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs. It also engages your core and pelvis.

Single-Leg Circles improve pelvic stability and healthy hip joints. It promotes balance and posture by combining stretching and strengthening, which provide better leg mobility and hip flexibility.

Steps To Get It Done

Equipment: Mat

Start by lying back, keep your knees bent and feet flat on the ground. Relax your arms on your sides with palms resting on the floor.

Extend your right leg upright towards the ceiling, keeping your right foot directly above your right hip.

Point the toes of your elevated foot and gradually start to circle your leg in a clockwise direction while keeping your hips pressed against the floor.

Maintain your breathing pattern, tighten your abs, and keep your pelvis stable. Reach your target reps before reversing in a counter-clockwise direction.

Switch to another leg, then finish by simply lowering your elevated leg and return to the starting position.

10. Running and Fast Walking

two males jogging outdoors

Walking and running are two of the first exercises ever done to burn fat. In addition, they are very convenient and easy to do.

Training your legs to walk and run every day makes your legs and lower body strong and more stable.

They can help you endure longer workouts and provide better performance.

For additional weight loss goals, running, which uses more energy, can double the number of calories burned compared to walking.

Does Adding Intensity To Leg Workouts Help Burn Fat?

Yes, adding intensity to leg workouts can help burn more fat.

You can make your leg day more effective and exciting by making variations and progressing your repetitions as your legs get tougher.

It might also be a great option to combine leg exercises [1] to make it more of an intense leg workout.

You can fuse several leg routines per workout and round off by splitting the remaining session to target two smaller muscle groups like your hamstrings and glutes.

Who Can Benefit From Leg Workouts?

leg view of a man warming up his legs

Athletes, weight lifters, models, stage performers, and people with jobs that require prolonged standing or sitting can benefit from leg workouts.

Keeping a focus and consistent leg workout promotes overall balanced fitness and stability that can also benefit people with back problems who want to burn more calories, develop strong legs, and improve flexibility.

These strength training exercises result in a strong lower body that may save people from injuries and manage medical conditions such as heart problems, joint pains, and diabetes [2].

FAQs

How Often Should I Do Leg Workouts?

Research suggests you can do leg workouts at least three to four days per week to see results. Or you may start with your legs at least twice a week and gradually progress over time in your personal training. Remember to give your legs time to recover between workouts to maximize results.

Can I Lose Weight in Seven Days by Doing Leg Workouts?

Yes, you can lose weight in seven days by doing intense leg workouts with proper foods and dietary supplements. You can also include other routines and progress the intensity to achieve sooner results.

Can I Burn Fat by Walking 30 Minutes a Day?

Spending 30 minutes walking can help you burn around 150 calories a day. You can split your walking time to every 10 minutes, but walking at a faster pace for longer will increase heart rate and can burn you even more calories. If you burn more calories, chances are the fat in your fat cells will be converted to energy.

Can Leg Exercises Promote Effective Fat Loss?

Leg exercises can promote effective fat loss by leveling up your endurance, speed, and power during long and intense workouts.

You can also lessen the strain on your lower back by strengthening your legs and lower body while building more lean muscle mass.

Leg workouts can help you look more attractive and boost your self-esteem. It improves not only your looks but your overall health status.

With proper nutrition and supplements, healthy habits, and regular consultation with a health professional, you can burn those unwanted pounds in no time. And you'll soon start feeling better already.


References:

  1. https://www.stack.com/a/best-leg-exercises/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/never-skip-leg-day

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