Get Your Legs Long & Lean
Do you covet the long, lean legs sported by celebrities? Have you been committed to your daily cardio in hopes that it will tone your lower body? Are you ready to change your workouts to make sure you have those sexy gams by summer?
If so, celebrity trainer Gina Lombardi has the five must-do lower body exercises for you! In addition to toned thighs, these exercises will also give you great glutes as well as tighten up your torso. These exercises are the rage with celebrities and by incorporating these moves into your workouts, you, too, can have A-list legs.
These five exercises, recommended by Gina Lombardi, featured trainer on ExerciseTV, work the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and core muscles. For best results, do these lower body exercises three to four times per week. In addition to consistent cardio and a healthy diet, you will see results in just a few weeks.
Squats on a vibration platformAccording to Lombardi, this intense exercise is a favorite of stars Hillary Swank and Madonna. Vibration platforms have become an increasingly popular fitness tool – doing exercises on the vibrating platforms results in increased muscular power, strength, flexibility and balance. The increased stimulus to the muscle fibers also delivers results sooner than doing the same exercises on the floor. In addition, vibration platforms can boost your bone-density and are often used in rehabilitation for a wide range of injuries. Check with your local health clubs and personal training studios for vibration platform availability. (For more information, check out Lifespan Fitness' vibration plate article.)
The move: Standing on a Lifespan or PowerPlate vibration platform, perform the same traditional squat you would do on stable ground. Stand with your feet hip-width apart, bend knees and lower your buttocks until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Keep knees over your ankles and not jutting forward past your toes. Pause and return to start position. Repeat for 60 seconds. Rest. Repeat three more times.
Buddha LungesLombardi says these high-power lunges keep Sally Pressman (from "Army Wives") in tip top shape.
The move: Start with your feet together. Step forward with your right leg, keeping your back straight, and bend your knees until your right knee forms a 90-degree angle. Hold this position for a count of five then push back with your right leg and return to start position. Do 12 to 24 lunges on each side.
Mountain ClimbersActress Catherine Bell, best known for her role as Sarah "Mac" MacKenzie on the TV show "JAG," keeps her legs fit with mountain climbers. You can do this exercise at varying speeds – the faster you "climb," the more cardio it will become. Make sure you keep your belly button pulled in toward your spine to best engage your core muscles.
The move: From a traditional push-up starting position (on your hands and toes), lift your right foot and bring your knee to your chest. Touch your right foot down then return to start position. Repeat with your left. Do 24 repetitions for each leg.
Step-upsYou can do this exercise using only your body weight or you can hold a 5 to 10 pound dumbbell in each hand for added resistance. This is another exercise that targets your muscles while also boosting your heart rate.
The move: Using the stairs or another step (you can use a sturdy chair, if you are tall), step up with your right foot. Bring your left foot up to touch the right foot and then step back down to start position with both feet on the floor. Repeat with your left leg. Do 24 repetitions on each side.
Squats with Kettlebell swingThis is another hard-core exercise favorite of Army Wife Sally Pressman. Kettlebells are one of the newest and most effective tools in functional fitness (and considered a celebrity fitness secret!). Kettlebells are solid cast-iron weighted cannon balls with U-shaped handles. They come in a variety of weights from ten pounds up to over 100 pounds. Kettlebell training is a full-body modality that improves overall strength and also gives you an awesome cardio workout. Best of all, according to fitness experts, when you use kettlebells, you can get superb results in half the time of traditional exercises. (For more information about kettlebells, check out this article!)
Here are a few more exercises to give you those sexy, long, lean legs you have always wanted: