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How to Tone Your Legs at the Gym and at Home

Feb. 17, 2023 / VASA Admin
How to Tone Your Legs at the Gym and at Home

Toning your legs can be done just about any time and anywhere. Toning is a secondary change that occurs when you train your legs for strength and mobility. The lower part of the body is responsible for moving us around, climbing stairs, and keeping us upright. Without a strong and mobile lower body, the things we enjoy doing most become challenging.  


Types of Leg Exercises 

To most effectively train the lower body, a few different types of movements should be used.  



Squat: A squat can be done with more than just a barbell across the shoulders and shouldn’t leave you with aches and pains. The goal is to have the hips and knees bend at the same time to get the thighs parallel to the ground. Examples include: 

  • TRX Assisted Squat 
  • Bodyweight Squat 
  • Dumbbell (DB) Goblet squat 
  • Landmine Squat 
  • Barbell Front Squat 

Hinge: Most people think a deadlift is the only way to accomplish this movement pattern, but there are several different hinge movements that focus on posterior muscles on the back side of the body: 

  • Kettlebell Romanian Deadlift (RDL) 
  • Barbell RDL 
  • Barbell Deadlift 
  • Cable Pull Through 
  • Single Leg RDL 
  • Kickstand RDL 



Lunge: This pattern covers both traditional lunges and split squats. Training a single leg enhances balance and stability, in addition to general leg strength. The lunge pattern itself can be manipulated to hit more quads (front of thighs) or more glutes (butt) depending on the position of your torso. To activate your glutes, lean forward; to work your quads and thighs, keep your body upright. Mix up standard lunges with any of these movements:  

  • DB Reverse lunge
  • DB Lateral Lunge 
  • Step Up 
  • DB Split Squat 
  • DB Lateral Split Squat 
  • Walking Lunge
  • Bulgarian Split Squat 
  • Front Foot Elevated Split Squat 

Isolation Exercises: These types of exercises take the bigger movement patterns listed above and focus on one specific area at a time. Once the small muscles are strengthened, you should see gains in the larger movement pattern. Add these exercises to lower body strength days for a well-rounded strength program. 

  • Quadruped Leg Extensions 
  • Quadruped Lateral Leg Raises 
  • Glider Mountain Climbers 
  • Copenhagen Plank Hip Raises 
  • Calf Raise 
  • Glute Bridge 
  • Hamstring Curl 
  • Leg Extension 

Whether you’re working out at home or in a gym, you can combine the exercises above to build a complete leg workout to build strength and mobility, and ultimately tone the muscles of the lower body. 


Bodyweight at-home workout: 

  • 5 Bodyweight Squats at a slow tempo x 5 
  • 5 Glute Bridges with a pause at the top of each rep x 5 
  • 12 Walking lunges on each leg x 3 
  • 15 Calf Raises (make sure to use a step to let the heel drop to get a deep stretch on the calf) x 3 
  • 10 Copenhagen Plank Hip Raises on each side x 3 



GYM workout: 

  • 5 DB Goblet Squat with a pause at the bottom of each rep x 5 
  • 5 DB RDL with a slow tempo to the bottom position followed by a quick return to the top x 5 
  • 12 KB Reverse Lunges on each leg, alternating sides for beginners or doing all on one side for more advanced x 3 
  • 15 Machine Leg Extensions x 3 
  • 15 Machine Hamstring Curls x 3 


Using different variations of each movement pattern will help you build resilient, strong legs. Feel free to plug and play some of the example exercises into the outline to help keep your workouts fresh and challenging. The key thing to remember is that consistency is key to getting toned legs. If you’re still unsure of where to start training legs, work with one of VASA’s certified Personal Trainers who will help you create a plan to become the strongest, best version of yourself!