A Guide to the Muscles of Your Legs (if You Want to Tone Them)

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If you want sexy, toned legs, you must first know about the different muscles in your leg, and then you’ll need to know how to work each of these muscles.

Below, you’ll learn just that. First, you’ll get an explanation of where each muscle is and what it does.

After that, you’ll get a suggestion of some exercises to do to strengthen these muscles.

This is, however, only part of the battle when you want toned legs.

The other key to having toned legs is to lower your body fat enough to uncover the muscle you’ve worked so hard to get.

You can not spot reduce fat from certain areas, so you’ll have to lose overall body fat to get the toned look you want. Being toned is simply having a low enough body fat to see your muscles.

To lower your body fat you will need to consume fewer calories than you need. Burning calories by exercises will also help you lose body fat.


Your glutes are your gluteal muscles, or as you probably know them, your butt.

They are not considered your leg technically, but they’re listed here because they’re at the top of your leg and they’re one of the strongest muscles in your body.

There are many exercises you can use to strengthen your glutes, but some of the best are squats, deadlifts, lunges, and cable kickbacks.


Quadriceps, or quads, are the muscles in the front of your thigh.

There are 4 muscles that work together to extend your knees. These muscles can be strengthened by doing squats, deadlifts, and lunges.


Hamstrings are the muscles in the back of your upper leg, or the back of your thigh.

They help your knees bend and extend. They also help your hips extend as well.

To strengthen your hamstrings you should do squats, Romanian deadlifts, glute ham raises, and prone (lying) leg curls.


Adductors are the inner thigh muscles. You can feel these if you squeeze your legs together.

Most gyms have adductor/abductor machines, and these are perfect to work your adductor muscles. If you don’t have access to these try side leg lifts.

For more resistance, you can add exercise bands.

Calf Muscles ( Gastrocnemius and Soleus)

To work both of your calf muscles, do calf raises, weighted calf raises, and seated calf raises.


This muscle is the top calf muscle.

It gives your foot power to push off the floor. It helps you walk, run, and jump.


This is the calf muscle that is under the gastrocnemius, and it helps your gastrocnemius move your foot.

Tibialis anterior

This muscle is on the front, lower part of your leg. It runs along the shin bone. It pulls your foot upward and gives more stability to your ankle.

To work this muscle you can do the opposite of a calf raise. You will be lifting your toes instead of your heels.

This works well if you alternate between doing a calf raise and then doing a toe lift.

If you will work your leg muscles using the exercises above, you will have strong leg muscles that will show once you lower your body fat percentage using a healthy diet and exercise program to stay in a calorie deficit.

Soon, you will have strong, sexy, toned legs and all of your hard work will show.

How Long Does It Take to Get Defined Leg Muscles?

When you start a new workout regime or you set yourself some fresh fitness goals, it’s always nice to have a time frame to which you can work.

Unfortunately, every body is different, and although it might have taken one person two months to see great results with the definition of their leg muscles, it may take you more or less time depending on various factors.

Here are some of the main things which come into play when you’re working to tone your legs.

Your training plan and workout methods

If you’re concentrating on a variety of exercises for the whole body when you go to the gym, you might find that it takes longer in order to see the results you want.

You’ll be toning your body overall rather than concentrating on just your legs.

On the other hand, if you’re pushing yourself to work harder and focusing mainly on leg exercises (there are many of them so this isn’t hard to do!), you’ll find that you see a difference much quicker.

Your body

For women, it could take longer to see real definition in your leg muscles, since females naturally have more fat around their thighs and calves.

Men, who generally have more muscle definition naturally, will often see the results quicker than their female counterparts.

Other factors to consider related to your body include your current percentage of body fat, how active you are and how much of each food group you’re including in your diet.

Your food

Protein helps your body to build muscle and create better muscle definition, while carbs and fatty foods will slow this process down.

It doesn’t mean that you need to cut out carbs entirely and avoid fats for the rest of your life, but you should limit stodgy carbs and try to eat the wholemeal versions more often. Increase the amount of protein in your diet, and eat good fats such as nuts and coconut/olive oil.

Consistency is key

With any type of workout plan, the key to success is being consistent.

Don’t be surprised if you’re only working out once a week and don’t see any results within the first month.

You don’t need to go to the gym every single day, in fact you should ensure that you give yourself a minimum of two days off each week.

However, get into a routine and discipline yourself to keep going.

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