Boost your workout with a few leg-shaping moves
Get a leg in on summer fashion by toning up your calves, butt and thighs in five moves you can take with you wherever you go.
This pilates move will tighten and tone your thighs while strengthening your core. To get started, lay down on a mat with your back flat on the floor and your arms lying at your side with your palms facing down. Your knees should be bent so your feet are flat on the floor. Lift one leg in the air and point your toes towards the ceiling. Move your leg in a circular motion -- making five small circles in one direction and then five more in the opposite direction. Repeat these steps with the other leg.
The ultimate butt-busters -- lunges actually work to tone all of the major muscles of the lower body and help to improve balance. Do them at the gym or even at home while watching your favourite TV program. The key to an effective and injury-free lunge is keeping your front knee bent to a 90-degree angle. It should never go over your toes. Also, it is important to not let your back knee touch the floor. Increase the level of difficulty by making them walking lunges -- walking lunges uphill are even more difficult.
Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, your back straight and bend your knees as if you were sitting in a chair. Stand, repeat and prepare to have a tighter backside. Like the lunges, it’s important to keep your knees over your ankles -- they should never go over your toes. Increase the sheer toning power of this move by working in plyometric, or jump training. This can be done by jumping up from the squat position instead of standing -- an easy change for a more difficult workout.
Hip raises work your hamstrings, lower back, abdominal muscles and glutes. Start in the same position as the leg circles, except turn your palms up. Keeping them flat on the floor, bring your feet as close to your butt as possible. Begin the exercise by squeezing your glutes and raising your hips off the ground. Your body should form a straight line from your knees to your shoulders. Hold for five to 10 seconds, and lower your body back down. Repeat.
Walk or run
Walking and running are majorly effective ways to burn calories, and slimming down will certainly make you look like a lean and toned machine. A nice bonus: Walking and running also work your butt and leg muscles. Make sure you make it hard enough on yourself. Find a hilly route. Increase your speed. You shouldn’t feel ill, but you should feel slightly winded and your heart rate should go up. Like any workout, they are typically easy or effective, but they are rarely both.