This site has pictures of the best leg exercises for women.
I know that men and women tend to do different leg exercises in the gym or during at home leg workouts, but the truth is that the same exercises that are good for men are also good for women.
If I met someone who wanted to tone their legs, add lean muscle, run faster, jump higher, or just get in better shape, I would recommend very similar leg exercises.
The physical change in your body comes more from how you perform the exercise than the exercise itself.
If you wanted to improve muscular endurance and tone a little, 12 or more repetitions best suits that goal.
If you want toning, strength, general fitness, and adding some lean muscle 8-12 repetitions better suits that goal.
If you want to jump higher, develop maximum strength, or add significant amounts of muscle 1-8 repetitions better suits that goal.
Changing the intensity, repetitions, sets, and rest periods causes different physical changes.
And of course, eating a healthy diet and performing aerobic exercise can further aid in burning calories and losing body fat.
When I consult with female personal training clients, the first leg exercise I recommend is squats. I think squats are the best overall leg exercise for everyone.
The second exercise that I recommend for female clients is lunges.
I know people keep trying to re-invent the fitness wheel, but squats and lunges are really the 2 best leg exercises for everybody, unless injuries or joint pain makes doing them with correct form and posture difficult or painful.
If squats and lunges are painful, the next exercise I recommend is the leg press machine. On the leg press, it is much easier to keep good alignment of your knees and you can adjust the weight to start slowly and work your way up.
Note: If you have pain while exercising, you should consult with a licensed health professional.
The reason I think squats, lunges, and the leg press machine are the best leg exercises for women is that they are all compound or multi-joint exercises. This simply means that they work multiple areas at the same time.
The more muscles you use during an exercise the more calories you'll burn and the more efficient your workout will be.
These leg exercises work your butt (glutes), hips, thighs (front and back), inner thighs, and calf muscles.
You can work all of your leg muscles very efficiently by just doing squats and lunges-- 2 simple leg exercises. Or you can do 6 different leg machines to isolate each muscle.
Leg Machines have a purpose, but women and men for that matter would be better served by starting with the big 2 and then adding other exercises to the workout.
This site has pictures of many different leg exercises and leg machines.
Pick your favorites and create your own workout or try one of the workouts on this site.
Yours in Health,
Dr. Charles PT/PT