Looking to tone up your entire body? This eight-exercise routine will have your arms, core, back, tush, and thighs burning by the end. Grab a set of dumbbells, a bench, an exercise ball, and a block, and get pumping. After you work your muscles, stretch them with this sequence.
Squats — you love 'em, you hate 'em, or you love to hate 'em. In any case, they are a simple, effective, and versatile move to have in your workout arsenal. Squats work your entire lower body: calves, hamstrings, glutes, quads, and lower back. They help prevent injuries caused by imbalance or overuse, and they also help with your balance. Whether you are new to the squat world or are bored with your normal workout, here are seven squat variations to add to your routine.
— Additional reporting by Leta Shy
Toned legs aren't just for show. Aside from helping you feel proud when wearing thigh-hugging pants, strong legs will make your favorite form of exercise feel easier, and building muscle mass also keeps your metabolism going strong. All these moves require no equipment — just you and five minutes. Repeat this five-move circuit two or three times, and you'll feel your inner and outer thighs, hamstrings, and calves burning.
Switch JumpBegin in a lunge position with the right knee forward. Jump the feet, and switch them so the left leg is in the front. Continue jumping for one minute. Love this thigh and cardio move!
Temple With TonersFrom a Goddess (Temple) wide-squat position, raise your right heel, and pulse the hips up and down for 30 seconds. Then lift the left heel for another 30. You'll feel this in your outer thighs and calves.
Scissor KickLie on your back with your legs in the air, toes pointed out. Cross the right shin over the left, and pulse for two, then cross the left over the right, and pulse for two. Continue for one minute to work the inner thighs.
Thigh DancingSit on the shins, and lift your tush two inches above your heels. Shift your hips from side to side, punching the arms in the air for one minute. You feel this in your quads and hamstrings.
Single-Leg BridgeFrom a bridge position on the hands and feet, raise the right leg in the air. Lower the hips, and raise them again for 30 seconds, then switch legs for 30 more. A total hamstring and butt burn!
Your legs and tush don't ask for much, but if you listen closely, all they want is one small thing: you, on your mat, and five minutes of your time. This isn't called "Burning Squats Yoga Sequence" for nothing! Hold each of these poses for the full five breaths, and your lower body will be on fire.
- Come onto the hands and knees with your wrists underneath your shoulders and your knees underneath your hips.
- Inhale as you tuck your toes under your heels. Then exhale to lift your hips, coming into the classic upside-down "V" shape called Downward Facing Dog.
- Spread your fingers wide, and create a straight line between your middle fingers and elbows. Work on straightening your legs and lowering your heels toward the ground. Relax your head between your arms, and direct your gaze through your legs or up toward your belly button.
- Breathe deeply for five breaths.
- From Down Dog, inhale to step your right foot forward between your hands. Turn your left heel in, press into your feet, and lift your torso up.
- Raise your arms up and press your palms together. Draw your shoulder blades down toward your hips, and gaze up toward your hands.
- Stay here for five breaths.
- Hold your legs in Warrior 1 position, and on an exhale, cross your left elbow over your right thigh.
- Press your palms together firmly, and push into your bottom arm to lengthen the spine and increase the twist.
- Gaze over the right shoulder, breathing for five full breaths.
- Hold Rotated Warrior arms, and inhale to step your left foot forward to meet your right.
- Stay for five breaths, keeping weight in the heels.
Open Side Fierce
- From Side Fierce, exhale to plant your left palm on the floor beside your right foot. If you can't reach all the way, just allow your fingers to hover in the air, as close to the floor as possible.
- Extend your right arm straight up toward the ceiling, stacking your shoulders, and gaze at your lifted palm. Make sure both knees are parallel.
- Hold for five deep breaths.
- From Open Side Fierce, plant both hands to the right side of your mat so they're parallel with your thighs. They should be shoulder-width distance apart with fingers spread wide.
- Lean into the palms, and rest your right hip on your right elbow and your outer right knee on your left elbow.
- Try to keep your knees together as you shift all your weight into your hands and slowly lift your feet off the floor.
- It's OK if you lose your balance and fall over. Just keep trying until eventually you can hold this pose for five even breaths.
It's true, in five minutes and five moves, you can tone your entire body. Perfect for those traveling over the holidays, these exercises don't require equipment and can be done anywhere. Set the stopwatch on your phone, and get ready to feel the burn. Time is tickin'!
Arms: One-Legged Push-Up
- Start on your hands and knees.
- Extend your left leg behind you so it's parallel with the floor. Engage your abs.
- With your leg extended, bend your elbows lowering your torso toward the floor while keeping your left heel in line with your left hip. Straighten your elbows to push yourself away from the floor.
- Repeat for a total of 30 seconds then lift your right leg for another 30 seconds.
Backside: Standing Booty Kicks
- Stand tall, and place your hands on your hips.
- Put all the weight in your left leg, keep both legs straight, and lift your right leg directly behind you. Let your glutes do all the work. Keep your right foot flexed, and work on lifting your heel as high as you can without leaning your torso too far forward. Engage your abs to help you stay balanced.
- Then lower your right leg so it's parallel with your left, but don't let it touch the ground. Then lift it back up behind you.
- Repeat this move for 30 seconds at a moderate pace. Then lift your left leg, and repeat the same movement for another 30 seconds.
- Lie on your back, and reach your arms rigidly to your side, off the floor. Lift your legs off the floor, and point them so they are at about a 45-degree angle. Lift your head so your shoulders are off the floor as well.
- When ready to begin, lift your upper torso off the floor, and bend your knees. You can lean back to make this move harder or come up more to make it easier. Lower back down to the floor so your legs are straight out and your back is on the floor but not your head, shoulders, or legs.
- Repeat for one minute. Keep your abs engaged as you perform this move instead of relying on gravity; if it gets too hard, then keep your knees bent as you lower down.
Legs: Wide Squat
- To start, keep your hands clasped in front of your chest as shown. Step your feet apart so there's about 20 inches between your heels. Point your toes out slightly.
- Bend your knees and elbows, keep your shoulders over your hips, and lower down so your weight is back in your heels. Then straighten your legs and arms.
- Repeat this movement for one minute.
Obliques: Twisting Side Elbow Plank
- Come into an elbow plank on your right side, with your feet stacked one on top of the other. Rest your weight on your right elbow with your fingers reaching away from your body, palm down.
- Place your left arm behind your head, and inhale to prepare.
- Exhale and pull your navel to your spine to engage your deep abs, and rotate your left rib cage toward the floor. Stay there for a second, and deepen your abdominal connection, pulling your navel in toward your spine even more.
- Return to starting position, and repeat for 30 seconds. Switch sides and repeat the motion for another 30 seconds.
Even if you've nixed your membership at the gym, there's no excuse to skip your workout. Forget the days of hauling around free weights, and focus on using your greatest tool — your body's strength! — with these 53 exercises. If you're trying to specifically focus on your upper body, lower body, or core or you want some new plyometric moves to get your heart rate up, click below to head to the right place.
This fat-blasting workout video, created for POPSUGAR Fitness by Andrea Orbeck, will work your entire body in 10 minutes. Andrea has trained many Victoria's Secret models — who will film the annual fashion show tomorrow that will air Dec. 10 — and now she'll train you in the comfort of your living room, no props needed. So no excuses!
Press play, and follow along as Andrea leads you through this short but intense workout.
Dear inner-thigh fluff, so sorry to see you go. Love, yoga. If your inner thighs could use some attention, here are nine yoga poses that'll fire up this area. Be prepared — you'll instantly feel the burn that lets you know your thighs are getting slimmer.
- Begin in Downward Facing Dog. Step your right foot forward, rising up into Warrior 1. Open your hips, arms, and chest into Warrior 2.
- Inhale to lower your left hand to your left thigh or calf and raise your right arm overhead, arching toward the back end of your mat. Continue pressing the right knee forward, with the front thigh parallel to the floor. Hold Reverse Warrior for five breaths.
- Rise up, and switch sides.
Open Extended Triangle
- Work your way into Warrior 2 with the right knee bent. Straighten your front leg, extend your right arm away from you, and lower it to the floor.
- Bring the upper arm parallel to the floor. Gaze at your left palm, holding for five breaths.
- Rise up, and switch sides.
- Stand with both feet together. Bring your palms together, rotate your torso to the right, squat down, and cross your left elbow over your right outer thigh.
- Press your palms together, and actively push your bottom elbow against your thigh to lift and rotate your chest up, increasing the twist.
- Keep weight in the heels, gazing over the right shoulder for five deep breaths.
- Stay in the low squat as you rise back to center and rotate the torso over to the left side for another five.
- Stand with both feet together. Shift weight into your left foot, and bend your right knee. Lift it off the floor, and wrap your leg around your left thigh, tucking the right toes around your lower left leg.
- Cross the left elbow over the right, then bring your palms together.
- Hold like this for five breaths, lifting the elbows as high as you can, gazing at the hands.
- Release, and switch sides.
- Stand at the front of your mat. Step open to the right, opening your legs about three feet apart. Turn your heels in.
- Bend your knees coming into a sumo wide squat until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Your knees should be directly over your ankles, so adjust your feet if you need to.
- Lift your arms up, bending your elbows at 90-degree angles, opening the palms away from you.
- Enjoy this pose for five deep breaths.
- From Down Dog, step both feet together. Move your right hand to the center of your mat, and roll the body to the right, balancing on the outer edge of your flexed right foot.
- Raise the left arm overhead, gazing at the fingertips.
- After five breaths, release the left hand to the center of the mat, and roll open to the left for another five breaths.
- Begin sitting on the floor with your legs extended in front of you. Place your palms behind your hips about six to eight inches away, with your fingers pointing toward your toes.
- As you inhale, press into your hands and feet firmly, lifting your hips into the air. Slowly release your head back, looking behind you.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, and then release.
- Begin lying flat on your back with your arms along the sides of your body, palms facing down. Bend your knees, and place your feet flat on the floor. Walk your heels as close as you can to your tush.
- With your palms and feet pressing firmly into the ground, lift your hips up. Try to keep your thighs parallel. Bring the hands to the lower back for support or interlace the palms together.
- Stay here for five deep breaths, actively pressing your feet into the floor.
Get excited for the CMA Awards with this barre-inspired thigh-toning move from our friends at Self. Long and lean Karen Fairchild of country group Little Big Town swears by it!
It's hard to take your eyes off long-legged beauty Karen Fairchild, right? As one-fourth of country group Little Big Town, she's already likely crossing her fingers and toes that Little Big Town will nab a Country Music Award on Wednesday night.
The stunner cuts quite the long-legged silhouette — whether onstage singing her heart out or strutting her stuff through a music video. To keep her figure in top-notch shape, Fairchild loves taking barre classes with Amy Weber of Releve One in Franklin, Tenn., a practice which is designed to tone, tighten and lengthen your entire bod.
"I love seeing results . . . [it] inspires me to keep going," says the singer. "It's always good leaving a class [feeling] completely worn out."
To tone her legs and core, she recommends a move that involves just an ordinary playground ball. "I can't think of a girl I know that doesn't want to tighten and tone her thighs, and this move will achieve that!" she says.
And it sure looks like her work's paid off. Summing up Fairchild, teacher Amy Weber exclaims, "She's long and lean from head to toe, but if I had to pick? LEGS LEGS LEGS!!! Um hello, haven't you seen the "Pontoon" video?!" Anyway, grab yourself a small barre ball — you'll be glad you did after you see the results.
The Move: Pulses in Parallel Position with Ball
Works: Inner thighs, quads, abs
Stand a long arm's distance away from a countertop or chair for balance. (Or, if you're lucky, the bar you had installed in your basement.) Position feet hips-width apart and point toes forward. Place an eight-inch playground ball between inner thighs. Lift up onto the balls of the feet and raise heels up about six inches from ground. Your weight placement should be in the big and second toes. Bend at knee, untuck pelvis (keep a neutral spine), zip up abdominal wall and lower body down about ten inches, maintaining high lift of heels. Hold until you feel the deep heat in thighs. Press in on ball — keeping tension and pulse inward one inch. Start with a set of 30 pulses and work up to 50. Repeat pulses using slow, tiny, and controlled movements, for one minute. Keep hands with a light grip on the countertop nearby. Repeat set two to three times. Thighs should tremble and shake fairly early in first set if done properly.
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