The 9 Most Effective Exercises for Beautiful Legs and a Toned Butt
Signing up for expensive membership at a gym is not the only way to keep yourself fit. In fact, you can get in great shape without ever leaving your home. All you need is 20 minutes a day and strong desire to get better.
Bright Side has found a set of exercises that will help you tighten your butt, thighs and legs.
Exercise #1: Squats
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart or slightly wider.
- Take a deep breath in and start pushing your buttocks back as if you’re trying to sit on an invisible chair. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor or slightly lower.
- Breathe out and return to the starting position. Do 4-5 sets of 10-12 repetitions each.
Note: Squat down as low as you can (the lower you squat, the more you engage your glutes). While performing the exercise, keep your back straight and make sure your knees do not extend over your toes.
Exercise #2: Forward bends
- Stand straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Now lean forward, keeping your back straight.
- Lower your torso until it’s almost parallel to the floor, and bend your knees. Then return to the starting position. Do 4 sets of 10 repetitions each.
Note: You shouldn’t feel your back muscles working as you pull your upper body up. Not only does this mean your technique is wrong, but it’s also dangerous for your health. Use your gluteal muscles to lift your torso, while your back muscles should only help you to maintain a straight body position.
Exercise #3: Jump squats
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart. Your back is straight.
- Breathe in, and lower yourself into the squat until your thighs are parallel to the floor. If you’re able to squat a little below parallel, that’s great.
- As you exhale, jump up, using the power of your whole feet to give you a lift. Try to leap as high as possible, fully straightening out your legs as you do so and using your thighs like springs.
- When your feet fully touch the floor again, lower your body back into the squat position. Repeat the move for 4 sets of 12 repetitions each.
Note: Make sure that your landings are controlled and that you touch the ground simultaneously with both feet. Your knees should be slightly bent. On landing, lower the body back into the squat position immediately.
Exercise #4: Bulgarian split squats
- Stand with your back facing a chair or a couch.
- Position one of your feet on top of the chair and take a step forward with the other leg. Keeping your back straight, slowly squat down until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
- Place your weight on the front leg and bend it to form a 90-degree angle while keeping the other leg relaxed. You should also transfer your total weight back on your heel.
- Return to the starting position. Do 4-5 sets of 10-12 repetitions on each leg.
Note: Shifting the load from the front of the thigh to the buttocks is important during this exercise. As you squat, don’t let your front knee move beyond your toes.
Exercise #5: Plie squats
- Stand with your legs wide apart. Turn your toes to face outwards to create a 45-degree angle with the ground.
- Slowly lower yourself down into a squat, keeping your back straight. Then slowly push back up to the starting position. Apart from the glutes, the plie squats develop the inner thigh muscles that are weak in most women.
Complete 4-5 sets of 10-12 reps.
Note: As you squat down, make sure that your knees do not protrude past your toes. Focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet and perform this exercise with your back straight. And remember: if you want to get your buttocks in shape, squatting as low as possible is very important.
Exercise #6: Lunges
- Start by standing up straight with your feet a little narrower than shoulder width apart.
- Take a big step forward with your right leg, and lower your body until your thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your shoulders back and relaxed. Your arms should be down by your sides. Walk around the room, lunging with each step. Once in the lunge position, your working leg (front leg) should form a 90-degree angle.
- Use your heel to push yourself upwards and bring your rear leg forward to perform the next lunge.
- Repeat for 4-5 sets of 20 lunges each.
Note: Don’t lean forward and keep your back straight. Lunges are a great exercise to help build strength not only in your glutes but also in your front thigh muscles and calves.
Exercise #7: Floor leg raises
- Kneel down and place your hands on the floor directly under the shoulders.
Bend your right leg at the knee, and raise it to the ceiling as high as you can. Then lower it back down to the starting position. If it gets too easy, you can use ankle weights to add resistance. Complete 4-5 sets of 30-40 repetitions each.
Note: While doing the exercise, hold the peak position for a few seconds and try to tighten up your butt muscles as hard as you can.
Exercise #8: Hip bridge
- Lie on your back with your legs bent and your feet on the floor shoulder width apart.
- While in this position, lift your hips toward the ceiling, then lower them back down. To make the exercise harder to perform, you can extend one leg out straight or put some weight on your abdomen.
Note: As you lift, hold the peak position for a few seconds and squeeze your buttocks to make them more firm.
Exercise #9: Burpee
- Begin in a standing position with your arms down by your sides.
- Now, lower your body into a squatting position, shifting your weight to your toes.
- Kick your legs backwards into the press up position.
- Return to a squat position.
- Jump up.
- Do 3-4 sets of as many reps as you can.
Note: To obtain best results, perform the exercise as quickly as possible (without pauses). However, you should know your limits. If you feel any unpleasant symptoms, like nausea or an overly increased heart rate, stop doing the exercise immediately.
Photographer: Roman Zakharchenko, Model Alexandra Martynova for BrightSide.me