Best Exercises For Lean Legs

by Jenn FitzPatrick on April 16, 2012

When it comes to your body–whether you are a man or a woman–we all have those parts that we love and the parts that we love to hate. For me, I love my abs and arms because even with the littlest of training I can see fast results. However, the same is not true for my legs and bum. And this is the part of my body that I am always training and trying to reshape. And believe me when I say, that I have tried all the recommended exercises and machines to help me on my quest.

Here are a few of the basics that I believe are the best exercises to help create those long lean legs and a firmer bottom:

1. Lunges–These are an integral part in any leg workout. Vary it up with weighted walking lunges, stationary back lunges and side squat lunges. By targeting your legs at all angles guarantees that you are hitting all the necessary muscles.

2. Step Ups–Using a raised area like a a bench, step up with alternating legs and back down to the floor. For an additional burn, raise and squeeze your opposite glute muscle at the top. Repeat for as many sets as desired.

3. Pistol Squat a.k.a Single Leg Squat. With one leg lifted or raised out in front, squat down on standing leg as far as possible without  using any assistance. If necessary, use a bench as support. These are a killer!

4. Single Leg Butt Bridge-Laying on your back, raise one leg straight up while keeping the other foot on the floor. Raise your pelvis up while holding lifted leg and squeeze glute and hamstring. Repeat and alternate legs.

5. Single Leg Box Jumps-Using a raised area, like a bench, squat down on one leg and jump up onto the surface with the same leg. Alternate legs and repeat.

6. Swiss Ball Hamstring Curl-Lay on your back,hands out to the side with the Swiss Ball at your feet. Place both feet atop of ball, raise the pelvis up and pull your feet in while squeezing hamstrings. Roll ball back out without lowering hips. Repeat.

So there you have it–my all time favorite leg and bum exercise. If you have a few more that are a part of your routine, please share them with me.

In the meantime, be fit!

xoJenn (





{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Art of Living April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm

I’ve had a good success with doing hip abduction and adduction lying on the side + glute kickbacks, which was recommended to me by my ballet teacher as a way to slim down my legs.


2 Jenn FitzPatrick April 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Love these exercises too. Check out Tracy Anderson. She has ton of toning exercises like these and they work.


3 Heather
Twitter: heatherpimentel
April 16, 2012 at 6:05 pm

The bottom half is always my problem area too. I am pretty tiny on the top half but can never get my slender legs that I once has in High School. I feel that heavy weight training only makes them look pumped up and bigger… should I be doing more yoga or Pilates? What do you recommend?


4 Jenn FitzPatrick April 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Heather,

Since I have been training with heavier weights, I have noticed my legs are leaner and more toned. I also add in HIIT workouts to the mix as well as Pilates moves. And of course cardio for fat loss. I also make sure to supplement right after my workouts with a protein shake. This helps with repairing and rebuilding the muscle.


5 Erin
Twitter: erinraemac
April 18, 2012 at 10:47 am

Love all of these! I’m also a big fan of using the cables for leg extensions. If you have them, use the attachment to secure your ankle,


6 Erin
Twitter: erinraemac
April 18, 2012 at 10:53 am

Oops! trigger finger…
Soo, secure the ankle, and extend your leg back out so that it’s as parallel to the ground as possible. Use whatever weight is comfortable! Great for your legs & bum all in one.
If you don’t have cables available you can also use resistance bands. Start on all fours, wrap the band around your ankle and extend leg up and back!!


7 Jenn FitzPatrick April 26, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Love the cable pull exercise too! Definitely targets the bum and legs. Thanks for adding this to the list.


8 six pack abs for women April 18, 2012 at 8:47 pm

Quit the ab crunches. Instead of doing regular crunches on the flooring you need to do effective crunch exercises. Do them on an physical exercise ball to target your ab muscles. You can also do some variations like reverse crunches.


9 Jenn FitzPatrick April 26, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Thanks for the additions.


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