Chisel Your Lower Half

Get lean legs now

You want lean, strong legs (and a tight, lifted butt!). But in the quest for toned thighs, we often overdo it and end up with bulky legs. That’s exactly what many exercises give you. Not to mention that they leave the muscles in your rear totally sedentary, leading to flat-butt syndrome. I’m not saying don’t ever run or spin, but doing so several times a week can create thigh thickness.

These four moves work multiple muscles at once while improving balance and strength. You’ll feel the burn not only in the working leg but in the supporting leg, too. Do this sequence in order (first on right side, then on left), plus 30 to 60 minutes of cardio, six times a week.

Are your butt and thighs dragging you down? Here are the four moves to add for real results.
exercise-lower-half-body

Credit: Nathaniel Welch

elbow-plank

Credit: Nathaniel Welch

 

Elbow plank with attitude butt buster

Start in plank on elbows, with right ankle resting on left calf and a slight bend in right knee (A).Keeping knee bent, lift right leg(B). Hold position, then pulse right leg up. Do 30 reps.

Engage abs throughout the move.

 

cross-knee-lift

Credit: Nathaniel Welch

 

Cross knee and butt lift

Start on all fours, with a 3-pound weight tucked into crook of right knee. Cross right knee behind left(A). Lift right leg out to side until it’s at hip-height (B). Return to “A” position. Do 30 reps.

You can do this move without weights.

 
hamstring-stretch

Credit: Nathaniel Welch

 

Attitude lift with hamstring stretch

Start on all fours, with right knee facing out to side and right shin crossed over left calf (A). Keeping knee bent, lift right leg (B). Lower back to start, then raise right leg, extending it up as you press left leg straight (C). Lower back to start. Do 30 reps.

Lift leg as high as possible.

 
single-arm-kick

Credit: Nathaniel Welch

 

Single-arm side kick

Start on all fours. Extend right leg back diagonally and point toe on ground; tuck left arm into chest(A). Drop down to left forearm; as you lift right leg, bend knee, then extend leg straight out to side(B). Return to “A.” Do 30 reps.

 
moody-run

Credit: Getty Images

 

Not there yet? Switch it up!

The brain maps movements, meaning once your body figures out a move, it stops transforming. If you are constantly doing the same exercises, yes, your body will get stronger—but only by using the same exact muscles, which can create imbalance. So change routines regularly!

lose-weight-chips

Credit: Getty Images

 

Bonus nutrition tip: Bypass a binge

My mother was ahead of her time in terms of eating healthy. We grew up feasting on organic chicken and baking our own whole-grain bread. We even had an organic garden. Her influence has laid the groundwork for what I do now. The only issue: She wouldn’t let me have any junk food. So when I’d go to my friend’s house to play Barbies, I would head right to the family’s Ding Dongs drawer and gorge myself! That’s why I don’t believe in deprivation. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having foods you enjoy—the trick is eating them in moderation.

 
 

by Tracy Anderson
From Health magazine

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