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A great exercise that will help to tone your quadriceps and hip muscles is the forward step-up to balance. To perform this exercise, stand in front of a box or step with your feet pointed straight ahead and placed hip-width apart. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, contract your glutes and step-up onto the box with one leg. Stand upright and move into a balance position on the leg and foot that you used to step-up on the box. Move the opposite hip and knee into a flexed position in front of the body and hold for a few seconds. Finish by moving the flexed/lifted leg back down to the ground followed by the balance leg. Perform 6 to 10 repetitions on each side for a total of 1-3 sets.
Here is a good quadriceps exercise:
Put on your ankle weights. Sit on a stool or the edge of a sturdy and secure table or desk. Slowly straighten first one leg, then the other. At the top of each lift, when the leg is straight, pause for a breath or two. Be sure to let each leg back down slowly. Keep your back straight. Repeat 10 to 15 times each leg. In a gym, look for the "leg extension machine" for the same workout.
The quadriceps muscles are the main ones on the front of your thighs and are easily targeted with a simple body weight squat. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and hold your arms straight out in front of you while bracing your abdominal muscles. Lower your body as if you were sitting in a chair by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Try to keep the tops of your thighs parallel to the floor and your weight on your heels, not your toes. Pause and then return to the starting position. Work on performing three sets of 12 repetitions.
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