Whether you click into skis, hop on a bike, or lace up your sneaks, a strong yet flexible lower body will allow you to move with control and speed. This eight-posture lower body yoga sequence focuses on strengthening the core, quads, and glutes, while opening the hamstrings and hips, to make your body more powerful whatever your activity.
A toned inner thigh is a healthy inner thigh — attractive and strong. So show yours some love with these 10 inner thigh exercises that will help you feel confident sporting your bikini or teeny shorts when Summer rolls around.
— Additional reporting by Leta Shy
It's never too early to start getting your legs and backside ready or bikini season, and these five yoga poses will strengthen and stretch muscles into toned perfection. Do the poses on their own, or mix them into your next flow sequence. Whatever you choose, you're sure to notice a difference in the mirror and during your next workout.
This fat-blasting workout video, created for FitSugar by Andrea Orbeck, will work your entire body in 10 minutes. Andrea has trained many Victoria's Secret models — who will walk the catwalk tonight in their annual fashion show — 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.
Be sure to check out all of the workouts Andrea created for FitSugar:
We've always been curious about how the Victoria's Secret Angels prep for their annual runway show. Lucky for us, one of our editors was invited to work out with model Alessandra Ambrosio and the Angel's trainer, Justin Gelband. The secret to runway legs? Working out with a resistance band at the ankles while you kick, jump, and lunge. Take a look at all the moves, and tell us your favorite.
When it's time to dress up, putting on a pair of heels is an instant game changer. Aside from your favorite kicks, they are the ultimate way to boost confidence and complete a look. But heels are also an accessory that can show off your hard-earned time in the gym by giving your calves center stage. If you're looking to sculpt and define your legs for a special event or just want to to strengthen your calves to rock a pair of heels, consider adding these three exercises to your next workout.
- Raise that leg: Calf raises will shape and sculpt your lower legs in no time! Facing a wall for stability, begin with your feet flat against the floor; slowly raise both heels three inches off the ground, and then slowly lower yourself back down. You can do these alone or in between intervals during a circuit or running workout. Standing on a step with your heels partially extended out from over the stair will increase the challenge.
- Step on the StairMaster: The StairMaster is a machine dreaded by many, but the total-body results, especially in the calves, are incredible! A little burn and a couple of minutes will go a long way. For an extra challenge, alternate minutes stepping on your toes versus a flat foot. Don't have a gym membership or StairMaster? Actual stairs or the local high school stadium work just fine!
- Pack your jump rope: Pack this little tool in your gym bag and see results fast. If you want killer calves, incorporate a few jump-rope moves into the start and end of your usual workout. Alternating between two-feet jumps, one-foot jumps, and jogging in place will help your calves get high-heel ready. Take it to the next level by jumping higher and faster over time.
Head over heels for high heels? Don't forget to show your feet some love with these leg-lengthening exercises to prevent tightness and injury after a night spent in heels.
Source: Flickr User vestman
Who cares about feeling calm and blissful? I want to feel muscles in my thighs I didn't even know I could work! If this sounds like you, then you're not alone. Many people head to their mat for the physical benefits of yoga, including Ashtanga yogi Gwyneth Paltrow. If stronger, more lean legs is your goal, here are some tips to incorporate in your next yoga practice that'll strengthen your legs even more effectively.
- Three is the magic number: Taking a class once a week is better than nothing, but you'll really notice a difference in your upper body when you take three or more classes per week. Choose 90-minute classes, rather than 45- or 60-minute sessions.
- Pass on the chill classes: Certain types of yoga focus more on standing poses like Ashtanga, Vinyasa, Jivamukti, and Bikram classes. The more you're on your feet, the more you're toning your legs.
- Change up your Down Dog: Since you hang out in Downward Dog for a good portion of the class, do some variations that work your legs in different ways. Step your feet out wide, stand on the balls of your feet, lift one leg in the air, lift one leg and bend that knee, or take your lifted leg out to the side so your hip makes a right angle.
Keep reading for more leg-strengthening yoga class tips.
If your sartorial wish list for Summer includes look-at-me shorts, it's not too late to incorporate some leg-defining moves into your routine.
Tone while you run: Lean, strong legs are a happy byproduct of your running routine. To tone even more, make sure your routes (or treadmill time) include inclines to bump up your workout's muscle-building potential. Try this 470-calorie-burning running and toning workout to get shorts-ready legs in no time.
Long and lean: Celebrities are often blessed with amazing genes in the form of long gams, but that doesn't mean they don't work for them as well. Want to know how they do it? We've got a 10-minute video to sculpt Cameron Diaz legs, and check out the three moves you should be doing to get legs like Jessica Biel and Angelina Jolie.
Butt-lifting: Another key to looking great in shorts is a toned backside. Read our tips on how to take your butt from flat to full, and watch our workout video with Tracy Anderson, who shares the butt-shaping moves her client Gwyneth Paltrow swears by.
Just like push-ups are an essential strength training move for your upper body, squats are a must-do exercise to strengthen your legs and tush. The basic move is hard enough, but here are some ways to make it even more challenging.
- Raise one heel at a time as you lift and lower your hips. Also try lifting both heels together – this will challenge your balance.
- Instead of lifting and lowering your bum, hold the lowered squat position for 15 to 30 seconds.
- Work one leg at a time with Balancing Side Leg Lift Squats, or try these multitasking squat variations.
- Make it a multitasking move for your upper and lower body by lifting dumbbells while you squat. Try Twisting Dumbbells Presses or Hammer Curls.
- Target different muscles in your lower body with yoga variations including Open Side Fierce where you twist your torso, or Goddess with your legs wide.
- After working your quads, hamstrings, and glutes doing squats, it's nice to do some squat stretches. Lower your bum all the way down, widen your stance so your feet are shoulder-width distance apart, and hold a Wide Squat. This will open your hips and stretch out your calves. Or you can do a Bound Wide Squat to get all the benefits of a Wide Squat, but it will also open your chest and shoulders, and increase flexibility in your spine.
We are pumped to share one of our favorite stories from Self here on FitSugar!
Angelina Jolie, Jessica Biel, Cameron Diaz . . . Who hasn't watched their favorite movie stars walk the red carpet and grown a little envious of their mile-long legs? Granted, most leading ladies are blessed with superior DNA, but that doesn't mean you can't score long, lean gams too! "What is possible for others is possible for you," says Barry's Bootcamp cofounder Barry Jay, the celebrity trainer behind Eliza Dushku's, Stacy Keibler's, and Juliette Lewis's fit physiques. "But be patient! If you want legs that look like Jessica Biel's, do the work!"
That means ditching the late-night pizza runs and sticking to a healthy diet. Also remember to maintain proper form during those calorie-torching sweat sessions or all of your hard work will be for naught. "Form is everything," says Jay. "Don't just do it. Do it right!"
To get started, incorporate these three moves using a set of five- to eight-pound hand weights (or set a timer for one minute per exercise if hand weights are unavailable) into your regular routine twice a week. "Good legs are important because they help your whole body change," says Jay. "You burn the most calories when you work out your legs. They are the foundation of your body, a gift, and they deserve to look their best!"