Always envied Lisa Haydon for her endless legs? Celebrity fitness trainer Mickey Mehta lists out these toning exercises.
As the temperatures soar and the October heat is in full swing, it is time to get those shorts and mini-skirts out. However, below are a few exercises to get those toned legs to strut those minis.
1. Ballerina Lunges
Lunges are one of the best leg toning exercises. If done religiously, it can tone your legs in no time.
Put one leg forward and one back, making sure both heels are on the ground. Lift both heels up off the floor and then lunge down.
Do 10 small pulses (raising up and down a few inches in each direction) before switching legs.
If you need frontal support, grab a chair.
This short stance lunge 'en releve' (on the balls of the feet) will work the thighs, glutes, hamstrings and calves.
Squats are one of the all-around best exercises that can be used to tone your thighs and hips.
To perform a squat, start by standing with your back flat against a wall and your feet slightly in front of the wall and one foot apart. Take a deep breath, and as you inhale your breath, lower your rear end towards the ground.
As your knees approach a 90 degree angle, exhale your breath, and push yourself back up to your starting position.
3. Leg Lifts
Leg Lifts are another great exercise that is extremely effective to tone and shape your thighs.
Lay down a yoga mat on the floor. Rest your right elbow on the ground, with your hand resting in your hand. Take a few deep breaths. As you exhale your breath, use the muscles in your thighs to kick your right leg up towards the sky as high as possible.
As you inhale your breath, slowly lower it back down to the starting position. Do two sets of 10 repetitions of the exercise with each leg in order to ensure optimal results.
4. Leg Extensions
Leg Extensions are another strength training exercise that can be used to tone the thigh muscles.
Lay down on your stomach. Make sure that your legs are fully extended behind your body. Rest your arms by your sides, or extended out and away from your body.
Take a deep breath. As you exhale your breath, use the muscles in your thighs to extend your legs up towards the sky.
Inhale and slowly lower your legs back to the floor. Repeat equal number of times on each side for good results.
This V-Position is similar to a ballet plie and just like that classic move, it works the thighs, hips, and glutes.
Stand holding the back of a chair with one hand. Place your feet in a V position, toes should be about 4 inches apart and heels stay pressed together. Bend your knees and lift the heels a few inches off the floor.
Then, lower your hips until you feel your quads are intensely working. Pulse up and down. Keep the breathing going, while you make 3 sets of 20 repetitions.
6. Hip Bridges
This move is a modified bridge and targets the glutes and gives a satisfying stretch to the back muscles.
Lie on your back with knees bent and facing up. Plant your heels into the floor and lift the toes toward the shins. Raise the buttocks off the ground until your back forms a straight line from the knees to the shoulders.
Hold for a few seconds before lowering down. Breathe in while you go up and breathe out, contracting your stomach inwards when you touch the floor. Continue to do so for 15-20 repetitions.
7. Standing Forward Bends
This move fights cellulite and works the quad muscles and provides for a good morning stretch too. It increases flexibility too.
Stand with feet hip-width apart and hinge forward at the hips. Keep your knees slightly bent, lay the chest on your upper thighs, and let your head fall forward toward the ground.
Keep the quads engaged and slowly work to straighten the legs without locking the knees. Hips should stay centered over the feet.
Hold for 8-10 slow and deep breaths and rise higher with arms above your head, dropping them sideways.
Note: Picture used only for representational purpose
Photograph: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com