|Shape, tone and strengthen with lunges and squats.
Q: I exercise but I am having trouble toning up my thighs and butt. What are some good exercises that will help target and firm up those hard to get areas?
- C. Rozants, Foothill Ranch, CA
A: Shapely thighs and a firm butt are usually high on the list of most women. It is also important for men to strengthen these areas as well however; the thigh and butt area is often a problem spot for many women. Since women’s bodies are meant to bare children, a lot of fat is deposited in this area, which the body is reluctant to let go of. There are exercises that can help tone up that problem area. Performed on a consistent basis, below are a few thigh and butt exercises that will help tone and shape you up!
Lunge: Lunges are one of the most effective moves for firming your butt and your quadricep (thighs). This exercise also strengthens your hamstrings (muscles behind the leg), creating a natural brace for your knees.
Stand with feet hip-width apart, legs straight, abdominals contracted inward. Take a large step forward with left foot, leading with you heel. Bending knees so left knee is in line with left ankle as you lower hips (aiming for a 90-degree angle). Your back leg will naturally bend as well, but keep your weight on your left leg. Do not lock your back knee, keep torso erect, rear heel lifted. Press your left heel into the ground (which activates your hamstring) and push off from the heel. Bringing your left leg back to start position. Repeat 15 repetitions on same leg, or alternate legs to complete reps on each side.
Tip: When in the lunge position, make sure your knees stay directly above your ankle. This is especially important if you have weak knees. Be sure to use your heel when pushing off from the lunge position, using the ball of your foot will transfer weight to your knee. As you plant your foot, keep torso centered and perpendicular to the floor with body weight over back leg; you should be able to lift your front toes slightly off the floor and balance on your rear foot when in this lunge position.
Squat: This is perhaps one of the best exercises for shaping, toning, and strengthening the butt and thighs. Apart from tightening and toning the thighs and butt, it is also great for building lean muscle in the area. The squat is an excellent exercise for glute (buttocks), quadriceps, hamstring and hip development. It can be performed on the floor however it can also be accomplished on an unstable service, such as the Bosu; you also incorporate your abdominals and lower back while balancing.
You should have adequate flexibility in the hips, lower back, hamstrings, ankles and shoulders. Tightness in any of these areas will compromise form.
Stand on the floor or on top and in the center of the rounded part of a Bosu. Feet should be between hip and shoulder width (long femurs will require a wider stance). Draw in your abdominal muscles and balance while bending knees to perform the traditional squat. The knees should be in the same path as toes through the entire range of motion. Watch that knees do not extend over the toes. Inhale as you squat downward. The lower back should not be hyper-extended or flexed at any time during the movement (neutral spine). Shoulders back, chest and head should be facing up, and looking ahead to keep in alignment with the spine. Exhale as you come up. Perform 3 sets of 12-15 repetitions. Weights can also be held in the hands to increase the intensity.
Plie` Squat: Begin by standing with your feet wide apart, with your toes pointing outwards. Place your hands on your hips and inclining your torso a little forward, bend your knees and go down until your thighs are almost parallel to the floor. Make sure that there is no arch in your back and that you don’t lean too much forward. Then, squeezing your inner thighs and butt, push yourself up again. Repeat 12-15 times. You can use weights if you want to increase the intensity.
Reverse Leg-Lifts: Get down on the floor on your hands and knees. Then keeping your head facing the floor, lift your left leg up from behind, with the heel facing the ceiling, keeping you knee bent at a 90 degree angle, until the thigh is parallel to the floor. Then slowly lower the leg back into position. Repeat with the same leg about 12-15 times, and then switch legs. You can use ankle weights to add intensity.
Step Ups: Stand in front of a low bench or step. Start by stepping up on it with your right leg, bringing up the left foot after getting on. Then, step down with your right foot, with the left foot following it down. Repeat 12-15 times, and then switch legs. You can use weights to add intensity to the exercise.
No responsibility or liability is accepted by Shawn Ferrando Studio Fitness for any loss or damage suffered by any person as a result of adopting the exercises and information in this material.
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