For strong and ribbed legs, on must do running, skipping, hopping, jumping swimming, kickboxing. All this targets the longer muscles of legs.
Besides this one can use special equipments for strengthening, sculpting, toning and stretching.
Leg raises done with machines or with a partner is also a good exercise for strong legs.
Nothing beats squats, lunges and calf raises when you exercise against your own body resistance.
In these exercises, technique is very important. These must be done after learning the right technique from a qualified trainer. The trainer is able to correct your posture and work on your body alignment.
You can use resistance bands or ankle weights to tone up your legs. The exercises can also be done on a swiss ball.
For stretching the legs yourself, thera band is very useful.
Here I am stating few very useful exercises for legs and the right way to do them.
1. Squat and Lunges- Keep the back straight. Make sure that the angle of knee flexion is not more than 90 degree as that tends to injure the knee. In Lunges, go straight down. The back heel should be up throughout. You can make squats and lunges more challenging by doing them on unstable surface like a Bosu. If your back hurts while doing a squat, keep a gym ball behind your back and place it against the wall. Then do the same. Slowly increase the repetitions and sets every day. Another excellent equipment to do squats and lunges is a ramp. It is a inclined surface which really targets your rear muscles like calves, hips and hamstrings a lot.
2. Calf raises- Stand on a raised platform. This can be a bench or even a thick book. To add more resistance, you can hold weights- either dumbbells or barbells. Lift the heels up and go down. It is very good calf exercise.
3. Side leg abduction- It works on abductors or the sides of the thigh. You can choose to do it side lying on a mat, or a bench or a surface like gym ball. You can even wear leg weights while doing it.
4. There areresistance bands that can be died to your legs to work on abductors and adductors. Thera bands specially help you to stretch the muscles of your legs. It is very important to stretch both quadriceps and hamstrings after activities like running, jogging, swimming and cycling.