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Here at Styleite, we’re experts on fashion, styling, and the media darlings who are masters of both. Unfortunately, fitness falls under none of those categories. And while we can tell you exactly what shoes will trick admirers into thinking your limbs are a few inches longer (nude Manolo Blahnik BB pumps, we’re looking at you), we can’t exactly advise on how to get your legs in shape the hard way.
However, as editors, we’re ever-resourceful and have scoured the web, picked the experts, done the legwork, and found the five best moves for getting your legs looking like Gisele Bündchen’s on a Brazilian beach in no time. From putting your ballerina skills to the test, to getting crafty with a chair, get ready to feel the burn.
1. Chair Bump Squats for Hips, Glutes, and Quads
Peter Monge, strength and conditioning specialist and owner of NYFitness, told Fitness Magazine about this classic method for sculpting sexy legs with a 15-minute routine (no running required!):
All you need is a sturdy chair and a phone book. Do 3 sets of each move. Stand about 1 foot away from chair with your back facing the seat, knees slightly bent. Squat, keeping knees behind toes, and tap butt onto seat. Squeeze glutes to stand back up. Do 10 reps.
2. Plie Slides for Inner and Outer Thighs:
Jessica Smith of Shape explained this thigh-perfecting move:
Start standing with your hands on you hips, heels pressed together and toes rotated out to the sides (about 45 degrees) [A]. Step your left foot out (wider than hip-width apart), into a deep “plie”: bend both knees out over your toes, lowering your body straight down to the floor, keeping your back straight and abs in tight [B]. Next, as you rise up out of the plie, slide your left heel back in towards your right, straightening your legs and returning to start position. Repeat 15 times with the left, 15 times with the right. Tip: Make sure your knees stay lined up over your toes on the plie, don’t let them roll in.
3. Leg Lifts for Calves, Glutes, Inner and Outer Thighs:
Cat Chiarelli, star of ExerciseTV’s Eroticise fitness videos, told Cosmopolitan about this all-in-one method:
Lay on your back with your legs straight up in the air and your feet pointed to the ceiling. Cross the right foot in front first, then cross the left leg in front, finally open to middle split (or as wide as you can!). Then raise your legs back to the starting position. Repeat 16 times.
4. Crossover Lunges for Calves and Hamstrings:
Shaun Dreisbach of Glamour revealed the best lunge for sleek limbs:
Stand with arms at shoulder height, palms down. Step forward with right foot, crossing it in front of left. Lower into a curtsylike lunge (right knee shouldn’t go past toes) while twisting torso right, as shown. Untwist, push off right foot, return to start. Do 8 to 12 reps; switch legs and repeat.
5. Step-Ups for Calves, Quads, and Hamstrings:
Anna Monette Roberts of FitSugar provided another way to use a chair for a leg workout:
When completing step-ups, be sure to have weight in your heel to your thigh rather than your calf muscle. Here’s how: Stand in front of a sturdy chair* (make sure it won’t slide out from under you) and place your left foot in the center of the seat. Step up onto the chair and bring your right knee forward and up. Lower yourself back to the floor, with the foot landing quietly. Switch legs, and repeat. That completes two steps. Do 20 steps total.
*If a chair feels too high, use a shorter stool or a bottom stair.
Whew. We’re tired just reading that. But if you’re ready to get even more pumped up, take a spin through the video playlist below.