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Build better legs with these moves

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Strengthening the lower body muscles is important for the upcoming spring activities, like biking and hiking, and it is a great way to raise the metabolism. Try this simple, effective routine to build muscle in the quads, hamstrings, glutes, inner and outer thighs, and calves.

Curtsy lunges - Start with the feet shoulder width apart. Keep the right foot straight and step the left foot straight across behind the right foot as far as is comfortable. Bend both knees to lower the body toward the ground while keeping your weight in the right heel. Step the left foot back to starting position and repeat on the other side.

Squat with outer thigh lift - Start with the feet shoulder width apart. Bend knees to lower into a squat until thighs are parallel to the floor. As you push back to starting position lift one leg straight out to the side as high as is comfortable. Repeat on the opposite side.

Hamstring curl with exercise ball - Begin lying flat on your back with your heels resting on the center of an exercise ball. Place your hands by your hips with the palms down. Raise your body up off of the floor and tighten your core. Pull the heels toward the glutes by bending the knees. Straighten the legs to return to start position.

Inner thigh squat with calf raise - Start with the feet wider than shoulder width apart. Turn the feet out to 45 degrees. Bend the knees to lower into a squat until the thighs are parallel to floor. Push back up to starting position and raise up onto balls of the feet for a calf raise. Lower back to the start position.

Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions, two times per week to start. To advance this routine hold 8-10 lb weights while performing the exercises. Increase the repetitions and weight as needed to challenge your leg muscles.

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