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Practically everyone knows that Pilates can help you sculpt beautiful abs. But devotees of the ever more popular workout have a secret: It's also a great way to get sleek thighs, a tight tush, and a totally toned lower body. You don't have to squander your savings on expensive studio lessons to reap the benefits.
"You can get the same great leg and glute workout on your own as you would on fancy equipment like the Pilates Reformer by changing moves to a standing position and incorporating tools like weights and stability balls," explains Michele S. Olson, PhD, a professor of exercise science at Auburn University in Montgomery, Alabama. "The added resistance helps target all the muscles of the lower body while strengthening your core and improving your balance." Olson, who created the following workout (that's also her modeling the moves!), recommends working up to two sets of 15 to 18 reps using a 9- to 12-pound body bar or barbell. Do these exercises three times a week for eight weeks and you'll show off enviable legs and an amazing butt to go along with your firmer middle.