Leg exercises that make a difference in under a month

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​Back Squat

Grab a barbell or head to the squat rack, because it’s hard to beat the basic back squat for firing up the glutes, quads and hamstrings, all while simultaneously working your core. Choose a weight that will be challenging, and aim to move through a full range of motion, pressing your hips back and bending your knees until your quads are at least parallel to the floor (if you have the flexibility to go lower, do so).

Focus on form! Don’t hunch your back or shift your weight forward onto the balls of your feet — keep your weight centered over your heels. And last thing: go slow! Each set of eight to ten repetitions should take at least 30 seconds to complete. Rest one to two minutes between sets, completing three total sets.

​High Step Ups

High step ups are an excellent alternative to lunges, as they target the glutes, quads, and hamstrings in a similar fashion, but tend to reduce the likelihood of lunge-associated knee pain. Performing step ups with a high box is also a great way to hit your glutes unilaterally, developing balance and coordination as a byproduct of your workout.

Select a box that’s high enough so that when you place your foot on top of it, your quad is at least parallel to the floor, if not angled upward. Place your foot firmly on the box, your knee aligned with your toes, then press through your heel and push to standing, tapping the toes of your back foot lightly on the box before reversing the movement and carefully stepping down. The entire exercise should be controlled. Perform ten to 12 repetitions on one side before switching legs. Perform three to four total sets, resting about a minute between sets.

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