These Pilates-inspired exercises will give you more stability and help you build muscle.
Ready to give your legs some targeted attention? In this video, Blogilates founder and POP Pilates creator Cassey Ho walks us through her go-to thigh exercises that will tighten and tone your legs, and improve your overall strength. Here, five moves that will have you feeling the burn.
1. Plié Squats
Unlike regular squats, your feet face outwards in this pose. Slowly come down into a squat position with your core tight and head tall. With arms out in front of you, come up and go back down. Want a serious challenge? Come up onto the balls of your feet to make this move even tougher. These squats work the inner thighs and calves. Do 15 to 20 reps.
2. Criss-Cross Scissors
Start sitting with your legs facing forward, toes pointed, and hands in front of you. Slowly roll down onto your back vertabrae by vertabrae. Here, Ho recommends making sure that your lower back is pressed into the mat (not arching up!) to protect your hip flexors. Next, cross your legs out into a “V” shape then bring them back together to cross in the center. Do 20 reps.
3. Bridge Butterflies
Lie down into a bridge position with hands on the ground and hips lifted. Bring your legs out and in while keeping hips up to work your lower body. “It feels really good, effective immediately,” Ho says. Do 20 reps for tighter thighs and glutes.
4. Side Lunges
Stand with legs spread wide and toes facing forward. Lunge down so one of your legs is bent and the other is straight with toes still facing in the same direction. Slowly come back up (making sure to keep the opposite leg stick-straight!) and repeat on the other side. Do 10 to 15 reps on each leg.
5. Hot Potato
Come down onto your side with your head either propped up or resting on your arm. Tap the foot of your top leg twice in front of you, lift your leg up as high as you can go, then tap it back twice. This move works both your thighs and butt. Do 12 to 15 lifts up in the air, then switch sides.
This article was originally published on January 4, 2016 and has been updated for accuracy.
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