The Best Leg Exercises For Seriously Toned Quads and Calves

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The Best Leg Exercises For Seriously Toned Quads and Calves
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Photo: Getty Images/STYLECASTER

If it’s strong, toned, lean legs you’re after, we have two words for you: Kayla. Itsines. Truly, have you seen this woman’s calves? Have you? The ultra-fit personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur (and her ripped body) is her own best marketing tool. Itsines also happens to have a casual seven million Instagram followers who look to the 26-year-old for workout tips and a whopping 20 million who swear by her signature 28-minute circuit workouts, now also conveniently available on the SWEAT app.

So with the arrival of high hemline season, we asked Kayla to share her favorite leg workouts with us, and she came back with this: Two circuits that you should repeat as many times as possible during a seven-minute session that will ultimately shape-up your body in no time. Just follow four seven-minute sessions—two on each circuit—and “aim to complete the exercises in each circuit as many times as you can before the timer goes off,” she told us.

Once each seven minute session is over, you’ve earned a short 30-60 second break. “While you’re aiming to complete each exercise as quickly as possible, it is important that you maintain proper technique throughout,” Kayla advises, so keep reading below for a full breakdown of the exact circuits.

Circuit 1:

  • Reverse Lunge + Knee Lift: 24 reps (12 per side)
  • Close Squat:15 reps
  • Tuck Jump: 15 reps
  • Outward Snap Jump: 20 reps

Circuit 2:

  • Jump Lunge: 24 reps (12 per side)
  • Sumo Squat: 15 reps
  • Broad Jump: 20 reps
  • Mountain Climber:40 reps (20 per side)
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reverse lunge how to
Reverse Lunge + Knee Lift: 24 reps

Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart. Carefully take a big step backward with your left foot. As you plant your left foot on the floor, bend both knees to approximately 90 degrees, ensuring that your weight is evenly distributed between both legs. If done correctly, your front knee should be aligned with your ankle and your back knee should be hovering just off of the floor.

Then, extend both knees and transfer your weight completely onto your right foot. At the same time, lift up your left foot and bring your knee into your chest. Release your left leg from your chest and place it back on the floor behind you.

Complete half of the specified number of repetitions on the same leg, before completing the remaining repetitions on the other leg.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Close Squat
Close Squat: 15 reps

Plant both feet on the floor a fist-width apart. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to a neutral standing position. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Tuck Jump
Tuck Jump: 15 reps

Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. Propel your body upwards into the air and tuck in both your elbows and knees. Extend both your legs and arms to land in squat position. When landing, ensure that you maintain ‘soft’ knees to prevent injury. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Outward Snap Jump
Outward Snap Jump: 20 reps

Place both hands on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart and both feet together behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position. Quickly jump both feet outwards so that they are wider than your hips, as shown. Quickly jump both of feet inwards to bring them back together into starting position. Continue alternating between feet together and feet apart for the specified number of repetitions.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Jump Lunge
Jump Lunge: 24 reps (12 per side)

Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart and take a big step forward with your left foot. As you plant your foot on the floor, bend both knees at approximately 90 degrees. If done correctly, your front knee should be aligned with your ankle and your back knee should be hovering just off of the floor. This is called a lunge position. Propel your body upwards into the air. Whilst in the air, extend both legs and reposition them so that you land in lunge position with your right leg forward and left leg back. Continue alternating between left and right for the specified number of repetitions.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Sumo Squat
Sumo Squat: 15 reps

Plant both feet on the floor further than shoulder width apart. Point both feet slightly outward. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees point toward your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor, ensuring that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. Push through your heels and extend your legs to return to a neutral standing position. Repeat for the specified number of repetitions.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Broad Jump
Broad Jump: 20 reps

Plant both feet on the floor slightly further than shoulder width apart. Looking straight ahead, bend at both the hips and knees, ensuring that your knees remain in line with your toes. Continue bending your knees until your upper legs are parallel with the floor. Ensure that your back remains between 45 and 90 degrees of your hips. This is called squat position. Propel your body upwards and forwards into the air. Land back into squat position. When landing, ensure that you maintain ‘soft’ knees to prevent injury.

Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Mountain Climber
Mountain Climber: 40 reps (20 per side)

Place both hands on the floor shoulder width apart and both feet together behind you, resting on the balls of your feet. This is your starting position. Keeping your left foot on the floor, bend your right knee and bring it in towards your chest. Extend your right leg and return to starting position. Keeping your right foot on the floor, bend your left knee and bring it in towards your chest. Extend your left leg and return to starting position. Continue alternating between right and left for the specified number of repetitions. Gradually increase your speed, ensuring that the leg that is moving does not touch the floor.

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  • reverse lunge how to
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Close Squat
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Tuck Jump
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Outward Snap Jump
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Jump Lunge
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Sumo Squat
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Broad Jump
  • Workouts For Toned Legs—Kayla Itsines Mountain Climber

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