Remember that resolution you made last summer when you swore that by the next time bathing suit season rolled around you would be a world-class marathon runner/body builder? The bad news is it’s too late to do either of those things before bikini-pocolypse is upon us, but the good news is there are still several easy toning exercises that can have your legs looking tighter in just a couple weeks.

Important Tip: Always stretch before and after a workout. It prevents injury and helps create those long, lean muscles that are the most efficient calorie burners.

5. Running lunges

Beginners should stick with a traditional lunge: bring one foot forward and lower your body down until both your knees form 90 degree angles. Walking lunges are a great next step, but if you feel comfortable adding cardio, running lunges are the best combination for trimming down. Do a traditional lunge, pulse, and then jump to rapidly assume a lunge on the opposite leg.

Bonus round: Add a bicep curl or shoulder press with every lunge.

4. Chair lunges

Even if you can’t afford a pricey gym membership, you probably have a chair somewhere on hand. Make sure it’s a sturdy surface. Place the top of your foot on the seat of the chair, making sure there is enough room between you and the chair for you to lunge on the opposite leg without letting your knee come over your toe. This one requires some balance, but the muscle isolation involved is one of the best ways to get results.

Bonus round: Add a bicep curl or shoulder press with every lunge.

3. Plié squats

Remember that one ballet class you took when you were 6 years old, the one you hated and quit as soon as your parents let you? Well like it or not, anyone who’s seen "Black Swan" can tell you that ballerinas know a thing or two about muscle tone. This ballet-inspired exercise is perfect for inner thighs. Place your feet slightly wider than shoulder’s length apart with your toes pointed slightly out, and then follow the steps of a traditional squat: lower yourself down with your chest up and butt back, like you’re about to sit down in an invisible chair.

Bonus round: Add a jump in between reps.

2. Skaters

If you’re a fan of balance and muscle isolation, skaters are a great sports-inspired way to trim the butt and thighs. Balance firmly on one leg and bring the opposite leg off the floor, extending it behind you. Bend your knee, lean forward and pulse, using your arms for balance. Think of what a speed skater looks like mid-race. To finish, return the extended leg back to a standing position. Repeat on the opposite leg.

Bonus round: Instead of coming back into a standing position, see if you can touch the floor with both hands while bringing one leg behind you. To make it even more challenging, add a one-legged jump in between reps.

1. Leg dips

Leg dips are yet another gem from the torturous (yet highly effective) school of muscle isolation. On a low surface (lower than a chair, think a stair or a step stool) bring both feet together with toes hanging just slightly off the edge. Bring one leg forward, off the surface, and lower your body down as far as you feel comfortable while still being able to bring yourself back up. This sounds simple, but it targets the incredibly tricky area at the top of your thighs and will lift your butt if you are persistent.

Bonus round: Don’t let your dipping foot touch the stair/stool in between reps.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.