In your quest for great-looking thighs and calves, who better to emulate than a group famous for strong, beautiful legs: dancers. These ballet-inspired moves will strengthen and tone all of the muscles in you upper and lower legsand might even add more elegance to your stride. Try these moves 3 times per week, gradually increasing to 3 sets of each per session.
1A. Stand next to a chair, resting your right hand lightly on the back for balance (but try to use the chair as little as possible). With feet together, bend your left knee and bring your left foot to the front of your lower right leg. Extend left arm, and raise it to shoulder height.
1B. Push up through your right leg onto your tiptoes. At the same time, extend your left leg forward about 2 feet from the floor (or as high as is comfortable), keeping hips level. Pause, and return to starting position. Repeat 8–12 times on right leg, then switch legs.
2A. Stand tall with your heels together, toes pointing out. Step out to the side with your right leg, bending at the knees and hips to lower into a plie position. (Thighs should be almost parallel to the floor, with knees in line with toes.)
3A. Stand facing the back of a chair, resting your hands lightly on it for balance. Place your heels together with feet turned slightly outward, then extend your right leg behind you, with your toe pointed down. Keep your abs tight, and be sure not to arch your back.
- Imagine that youre being suspended by a string from the ceiling to keep you standing tall throughout the workout.
- Keep your abs tight and chest lifted during each exercise.
- Dont lock your knees when straightening your legs.
- Turn your legs out from the hips, and only go as far as is comfortable.
- Keep all of your movements fluid and graceful.
For some additional leg work (and a calorie-burning boost), incorporate hills into your regular walk or run, or increase the incline on the treadmill or elliptical trainer.