Is it possible to get longer legs just by exercising? While you can’t change the length of your legs as determined by your genes, there are a few ways to achieve longer-looking legs.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know to get longer-looking legs through exercise, posture, clothing, and more.
How to get long legs
Can you make yourself taller..?
It’s a fair question, and one without a simple answer.
You cannot increase your maximum height potential, because your bones stop growing permanently at a certain point. For most women this is before our twenties (1).
When this happens, no new bone tissue is able to be created at the areas at the end of the bone where new bone is built during growth.
And while no amount of stretching will change this…
There are things you can do to look taller.
Because although when you stop growing you stop growing, you don’t always express your full height potential.
So while you can’t grow taller than your full height, there are ways to make sure you are standing at your full height.
There are a few things you can do to change the ratio between leg length and width, too, to give the illusion of longer legs.
Can You Get Longer Legs From Exercise?
With exercise you can achieve a temporary increase of about 1% of your height.
It’s because the discs in your spine are separated by a fluid-filled padding. As you stand, the pressure from your head and shoulders compress this padding, and reduce your height.
Hanging from a pull-up bar can relieve the pressure and restore your height, but this is temporary.
The same thing happens when you sleep, too.
What you can do is tone your legs and reduce fat.
This can give you longer looking legs, by making the ratio of leg length and width more favourable.
Exercises To Make Your Legs Look Longer
The exercises in this section focus on stretching and toning leg muscle, and improving posture. When they are combined with cardiovascular exercise to burn body fat, the result will be longer-looking legs.
You don’t need any special equipment, just a strong, stable surface.
1. Stretch your legs.
Sit flat on the floor with your legs straight, and reach as far forward as possible without bending your knees. You’re trying to get to your toes.
Hold this for about 20 seconds, and repeat a few times.
2. Side leg pencil stretch
Stand up straight with your hands on your hips and your feet together.
Soften one knee, and raise the other leg sideways. Lower it almost to the ground, then lift again.
After a couple of lifts, bring your feet together again with the heels off the ground. Then switch sides.
3. Step up lunge
Stand in front of a chair, bench, or similar height surface.
Step up with one foot, and press through the heel so that you are standing on the surface (make sure it can support your weight, and that it won’t fall!).
Step down with the opposite foot, then take a big step back with the foot you stepped up with, until you are in the lunge position.
Repeat 10-20 times on each side.
4. Calf raises on a step
Stand with your toes on the edge of a step, and your heels hanging off.
Go up onto tiptoes, as high as you can manage, then go down so that your heels are below the height of the step, as low as you can manage.
Do this 10 times, then stand on one leg and repeat 10 times for each leg.
5. Front leg raises
Stand perpendicular to a wall (i.e., at a right angle).
Raise the leg opposite the wall as high as you can without your back rounding, and hold for 5-10 seconds. Lower the leg.
Repeat this 5-10 times, then switch sides.
Prop yourself up on your forearms and tiptoes, and hold this pose for about 30 seconds.
This will boost core strength, which is important for improving posture.
Alternative Options For Gaining Longer Legs
Trimming body fat is another way to make your legs look longer.
Although exercises targeting your legs won’t burn fat in just your legs, because of spot reduction ( which we’ve written about elsewhere ).
What you want to do is regular cardiovascular exercise. Things like:
About 250 minutes of cardio a week, combined with a healthy diet, will burn fat all over the body.
Combined with exercises to tone your leg muscles, this will give you longer looking legs.
You will look taller if you fully express your height, too.
By standing straight and sitting straight, you will look your tallest. This is a great way to maximise the impact of your efforts to achieve longer legs.
Nutrition and Leg Length
A healthy diet with plenty of calcium for bones will help someone to reach their full height potential, but once you’ve stopped growing, no amount of calcium will encourage your body to grow taller.
Eating a healthy diet is a good habit to be in, though, and being careful not to eat too many fats will help your legs stay toned and long-looking.
You can also maintain bone strength and prevent the onset of frailty in old age (2) by eating a diet containing all the nutrients you need.
So eating healthy may not lengthen your legs, but it can prevent them from getting weaker as you age.
What does a bone-healthy diet include? Well, according to an authoritative article in the Sports Nutrition journal (3), it contains…
- Quality protein of animal or plant origin.
- Polyunsaturated fatty acids.
- Fruits and vegetables high in potassium and fiber.
- Dairy products or other beverages fortified with calcium and vitamin D.
Dressing for longer legs
You can achieve longer-looking legs without any exercise at all.
Some wardrobe decisions can accentuate your leg length, so bear this in mind.
Some of these add actual height, others are psychological, making your legs appear longer to onlookers.
You’re trying to:
- Create an unbroken line from your waist to the bottom of your feet.
- Change where it looks like your legs begin.
The eye assumes that your legs start where your waist starts, so you can play with this for longer legs.
Pencil skirts, high heels, and pinstripes will all contribute to longer looking legs.
Well-fitted trousers, dark colours on your legs, vertical stripes, short jackets, and shoes that are a similar colour to your skin tone can help with this, too.
This uninterrupted line can be achieved with trousers or leggings, too: just pick a shoe that is the same colour as what you’re wearing on your bottom half.
There you have it
While legs can’t be permanently lengthened beyond what your genes allow, there are a few ways to make them look longer.
Strengthening and toning muscles will help with sculpted legs, and cardiovascular exercise will help with weight loss to let your leg muscles shine through. A better ratio of fat to muscle will make legs look longer.
Backing this up with a diet rich in the nutrients bones needs will help you to maintain bone strength, which will reduce the loss of height in old age.
You can express your height fully by improving your posture, and there are fashion decisions you can make to contribute to the illusion of being taller.
In short, you’ve got a lot of options!
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- Medline Plus. Chromium in Diet. Link.
- Ducros V. Chromium Metabolism – A Literatiure Review. (1992). Link.
- Picolinic Acid. Link.
- DiSilvestro R et al. Comparison of Acute Absorption of Commercially Available Chromium Supplements. (2007). Link.
- EFSA Panel on Dietetic products nutrition and allergies. Scientific Opinion on the Substantiation of Health Claims Related to Chromium. (2010). Link.
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