Get It Now: A Totally Firm Lower Body
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Solutions for Stubborn Trouble Zones
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.Solutions for Stubborn Trouble Zones Problem: Saddlebags
The Fix: Traveling squats with resistance band
"To tone your outer thighs, you need to move laterally," says John Boyd, group fitness director at Chelsea Piers Sports Center in New York City.
- Stand with feet hip-width apart and a band tied around your ankles.
- Step out to left side as far as you can, working against the resistance of the band.
- Bring right foot to meet left, then lift left leg out to side as high as you can, keeping torso upright and toes pointed slightly downward.
- Do 12 to 15 reps per side.
The Fix: Flutter kicks on the ball
"To lift and firm your butt, you need to work against gravity," explains Boyd.
- Lie with abs on top of a stability ball, hands on floor under shoulders, legs extended and parallel to floor.
- Keep thighs rotated out slightly, heels pointing in.
- Alternate small flutter kicks with each leg, moving the entire leg from your glutes as you kick.
- Work up to 25 kicks per leg.
The Fix: Standing calf raises
"You don't need more than your own body weight to gain definition in your calves," says Boyd.
- Stand with balls of feet on a step.
- Lift and lower heels as far as comfortable.
- Do 20 to 25 reps.
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