The Take-Anywhere Toned Leg Workout
Pilates. If you immediately picture middle-aged women in bright spandex suits dancing around in a room, it’s time for a wake up call. First of all, this isn’t Prancercise. Second of all, Pilates is centered around the most important part of the body—your core—which makes it ideal for, well, anyone.
“I try to switch things up,” Eden Sassoon, founder of her Pilates Plus studio in Beverly Hills. “I love my SoulCycle and yoga and think of myself as a very fit person. But I took a Pilates class today for the first time in a couple of weeks and it was crazy—I almost threw up!” According to her, nothing quite beats a “Pilates body.” We got Lexi Pacella, Pilates instructor at Sassoon’s Pilates Plus studio, to share five moves for sexy, toned legs that you can do anywhere, all under 10 minutes. In other words, it’s time to kick your “I have no time to go to the gym!” excuse to the curb.
Keep reading for four take-anywhere moves for sexy legs!
1. Get on your hands and knees, with your palms directly underneath your shoulders.
2. Place a 5-pound weight behind your right knee.
3. Lift your leg into the air, using your glute and hamstring, while flexing and pointing your foot.
4. Lift and repeat for one minute.
5. Repeat your with other leg.
One note: You can also do this exercise without any added weights, especially if you are a beginner.
“Pilates is about strength,” Pacella says. “It’s good for everybody, and when people do Pilates, they do it for their whole life. We like to sculpt you all-around, but this exercise will work the back of your butt and tone the backs of your legs.”
Need a visual? We’ve got you covered.
Middle of glutes
1. Stay in the same position as you were for the weighted butt lift.
2. Extend your right leg behind you and lift it up.
3. Trace a half circle in the air with your foot, from left to right.
4. Repeat for one minute.
5. Repeat with other leg.
“This will give your glute that roundness and fullness,” Pacella says. “You’ll work your hamstring and butt for a minute on each side, or until exhaustion. You’ll feel the burn!”
1. Lay on your side with your knees bent and feet together.
2. Place your hands behind your head, with the bottom arm providing support for your head.
3. Lift your feet into the air.
4. Open and close your top leg for one whole minute.
5. Pulse (smaller, rapid movements) for 15 seconds.
6. Repeat on other side.
This video is a good example of how to do a proper clam.
1. Get into position, as if you were about to do a clam.
2. Instead of keeping your feet together, lift your entire bent leg into the air.
3. Open and close for one minute.
4. Repeat on other side.
One note: you can also do this exercise on your hands and knees, and incorporate weights, as shown here.
1. Stand in ballet’s first position, with your heels together and toes apart.
2. Lift your heels up and down, pulsing for 40 seconds.
3. Bend your knees into a plié, then lift your heels.
4. Repeat for 20 seconds.
“Calf raises are always the best,” Pacella says. “I like to do calf raises in the first position, because it protects your knees.”
Have you tried any of these Pilates moves? Try them out and tell us what you think!