The Four Best Leg Exercises for Women

April 10, 2012

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As a female athlete, you must strengthen your legs if you want to become better at your sport. But too often, women only perform machine leg exercises, which do little for improving performance.

Think about some of the more common machines, like those for Hip Abduction, Hip Adduction, Leg Extension and Bicep Curls. When in sports do you ever open and close your hips, or flex and extend your knees from a fixed position? Never. (Find out what other machine exercises you should avoid.)

Instead, female athletes should focus on leg exercises that engage multiple muscle groups around the hips, knees and ankles. These exercises more closely mimic athletic movements, promoting larger improvements on the field. Also, since they engage multiple muscles, you can challenge more areas of your legs with fewer exercises. The result is increased overall lower-body strength. Plus, you will be pleasantly surprised with your appearance improvements!

Below are the four best leg exercises for women. Perform this lower-body workout three times per week to attain your leg strength and appearance goals. Perform each exercise for three sets of 10 reps.

Best Leg Exercises for Women

Dumbbell Sumo Squat

  • Assume athletic stance with feet six inches outside of shoulders and feet turned out slightly
  • Grab top of heavy dumbbell and hold at hips with arms extended
  • Bend at hips and knees; lower until thighs are parallel to ground
  • Keep back straight and chest up
  • Drive up out of Squat to return to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Dumbbell Step-Up

  • Assume athletic stance in front of knee high box, holding dumbbells at sides
  • Step onto box with right foot
  • Explosively extend right hip and knee to raise body onto box
  • Drive up with left knee so thigh is parallel to floor; hold for two seconds
  • Return left foot to ground
  • Repeat for specified reps

Dumbbell RDL

  • Assume athletic stance, holding dumbbells just above knees with palms facing body
  • Keeping core tight, back flat and feet flat on floor, bend at waist and lower dumbbells in front of legs as far as flexibility allows
  • Forcefully contract glutes to rise to start position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Scissor Jumps

  • Assume lunge position with left foot forward
  • Explode upward for maximum height
  • Switch leg position midair so you land in lunge position with right foot forward
  • Immediately perform next rep; repeat for specified reps

Photo:  buzzbox.com

Kermit Cannon is the owner of Youth Sports Training and the author of The Beast Factory, a nutrition and fitness book for athletes. For 19 years, he has been a strength and conditioning coach for Santa Monica High School, where he has trained hundreds of individuals and several championship teams. Many of his athletes have received college scholarships or have entered the professional ranks. Cannon is a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations, Let’s Move!, the National Council of Youth Sports, the Sports Youth & Marketing Network and USA Track & Field. In 2011, he received the Community Leadership Award from the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition.

Kermit Cannon
- Kermit Cannon is the owner of Youth Sports Training and the author of "The Beast Factory," a nutrition and fitness book for athletes. For 19...
Kermit Cannon
- Kermit Cannon is the owner of Youth Sports Training and the author of "The Beast Factory," a nutrition and fitness book for athletes. For 19...

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