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It is not always easy to make your at-home exercises intense enough. Luckily these equipment options can make your home leg workouts a lot better.
There are many reasons why you would want to do something else than regular at home leg exercises.
Traditional lunges and squats may not be intense enough, be too intense, you may want to shorten the duration required for a good workout, you may want some variation, and there are many other good reasons to upgrade your collection of fitness equipment.
This is a list of leg exercise equipment that is compact, relatively inexpensive, usable while sitting, and often portable. If you want to know about big machines for your home gym you can check out the article on gym machines for legs.
1. Free weights
This first option may not be the weird leg equipment you expected but free weights are a great way to make basically any leg exercise more challenging.
In turn, this helps you burn more calories, build more muscle, train your cardiovascular system, strengthen your bones, and much more, in a shorter amount of time.
For example, a 155-pound (70 kg) person doing lunges for 15 minutes burns around 110 calories.
On the other hand, a 185-pound (83 kg) person doing lunges for 15 minutes burns around 131 calories.
Free weights are basically weights that are not attached to a machine. Some examples include dumbbells, barbells, kettlebells, medicine balls, and workout sandbags.
Another added benefit of free weights is that you can also use them to train a wide variety of other muscles at home besides your legs. Especially dumbbells are a great piece of fitness equipment you can use to train muscles like legs, arms, abs, shoulders, chest, and traps.
Free weights often last a long time and don’t really drop in value. For the long term, free weights are good value but they may initially require a slightly higher investment than some of the other, more short-term tools on this list.
2. Resistance bands
Resistance bands are an inexpensive type of fitness equipment that are basically elastic cords. You can use this piece of exercise equipment to modify regular leg exercises like squats or to do specific resistance band leg exercises standing up or sitting down.
Some of the benefits of resistance bands are that they are relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and very portable. They can also be used in other exercises to train your arms, abs, back, and chest muscles.
One downside is that resistance bands are not the gym equipment you can use for the rest of your life. Every few years you will need to replace the last set with new resistance bands.
Some exercises will also require you to anchor your resistance bands somewhere. Sometimes you can attach them to objects that are already around the house.
Even so, it is likely safer to get an inexpensive resistance band anchor to avoid any problems.
3. Ankle weights
Ankle weights are simply straps with some extra weight that are attached to your ankles. They can be used in many leg exercises to add some extra resistance to your training. Similar to the previous options this can lead to more calorie burning, more muscle gain, and a more time-efficient workout.
Just like resistance bands, good ankle weights are relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and very portable. Often you can also use them as wrist weights. This opens up the possibility of making a variety of upper body exercises more challenging too.
Ankle weights are unique in that your feet usually can’t carry any dumbbells or kettlebells. For some exercises, especially chair leg exercises, ankle weights are the only way to add extra resistance in a safe way.
One potential downside of ankle weights is that they generally only come in light weights compared to some of the other options on this list. Whether or not this is a disadvantage depends on the leg workouts you choose and your personal capabilities.
4. Thigh toner
The thigh toner is basically a big spring with soft pads. You can place the thigh toner between your thighs and squeeze them together. This is called hip adduction and it is the main leg exercise to do with the thigh toner. This movement engages your inner thigh muscles.
The thigh toner is again a relatively inexpensive, easy to store, and portable piece of home fitness equipment. Besides between your thighs you can also use the thigh toner in places like your arms for example to do bicep curls.
One downside is that you likely have to hold the thigh toner while using it. It doesn’t strap onto your body like the ankle weights. Another downside is that you can’t adjust the resistance setting. This means as you progress the thigh toner may become too easy to keep using.
5. Plyo box
A plyo box, also known as a jump box or step box, is simply a box that is strong enough to deal with jump exercises. You can however also use a plyo box for a wide variety of other exercises, including ones that engage your leg muscles.
Some benefits of a ply box are that it allows you to do some unique exercises that would not be an option without. It is also a versatile and durable piece of fitness equipment.
One downside is that a plyo box requires a relatively high amount of storage room compared to some of the other options on this list. Quality plyo boxes also require a slightly higher initial investment.
A stepper is a piece of fitness equipment that is an elongated platform that is slightly elevated. It is mainly used for a type of workout called step aerobics but you can also do other exercises with the stepper that are more focused on training your leg muscles.
A benefit of steppers is that they often come with an adjustable height. They also require a lower investment for enabling you to do step-up exercises compared to plyo boxes.
One downside is that steppers are generally less sturdy than plyo boxes. If you stick to regular step aerobics exercises and put the stepper under pressure in the recommended range this should not be an issue.
7. Weighted vest
A weighted vest is simply a vest with some weight, often sand, added to it. You can wear a weighted vest to make a lot of leg exercises more challenging. This in turn can lead to benefits like burning more calories, building more muscle, and making your workout more time-efficient.
Weighted vests are a great way to add extra weight to an exercise because the extra weight is applied in ratios similar to your normal body weight distribution. There are of course exceptions to this.
Wearing a weighted vest while doing an exercise like leg swings will also not do much for your glute muscle gains.
All in all, weighted vests are pieces of fitness equipment with a reasonable price that can benefit many types of workouts.
One downside is that a weighted vest is not helpful for all leg exercises. Some people also find weighted vests uncomfortable.
These pieces of fitness can be very helpful for building leg muscle mass at home. If you are more interested in short term calorie burning machines that engage your leg muscles a little bit you can check out the below articles:
Depending on your individual situation some of the above cardio machines can be a smart investment.