rediff.com
News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

Rediff News  All News 
Rediff.com  » Getahead » How to tone your legs and thighs

How to tone your legs and thighs

Last updated on: November 2, 2009 10:25 IST

Easy ways to sexy legs like these celebs

     Next

Next
Brinda Sapat

It's really not that hard to get a pair of hot legs and a shapely butt. A few key toning exercises tossed up with some cardio will have you ready for a hot miniskirt within a few weeks.

But first, a little technical info...

Your legs (like any other part of the body), have two layers that need to be worked on:

1. The top layer of fat.
2 The muscles that lie beneath the fat.

You need to hit the treadmill, cycle or join an aerobics or fast-paced dance class to help burn off the fatty layer. The unsightly fat will melt away when you do any of these for 30 minutes nonstop, 4-5 days a week. This will also tone the muscles to some extent and gain bone density, which slows down ageing.

The muscles need resistance exercises (more popularly known as toning exercises) in order to make your legs shapely. Resistance training also helps to burn more fat while the body is at rest.

And finally, eating healthy food ensures that the muscles are getting enough protein to build and repair themselves, while cutting down the fats will prevent them accumulating on your body.

So pick your cardio exercise, choose your foods wisely and perform the fabulous toning exercises outlined in the following pages thrice a week. And start with a 5-minute warm up like a brisk walk or climbing stairs or dancing.

Brinda Sapat is head of the Group Exercise Department at Gold's Gym, Napean Sea Road, Mumbai. Certified with Training Zone & Progressive Fitness (USA), she has been a fitness instructor for over a decade.


Image: For toned gams like these pretty ladies, read on

     Next

Squats: Quick and slow!

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Simply varying the speed of the squat will fire all the different muscle fibres and work through the entire muscle group, shaping every bit of your glutes, front and back of the thighs as well as the inner and outer thigh.

Stand with your feet a little more than hip distance apart. Tighten your abdominals and keep your back flat. Extend your arms out at shoulder height, in front of you for balance. Now slowly bend your knees and lower your hips till your thighs are parallel to the floor. Imagine you are trying to sit on a chair that is placed far behind you. Make sure your knees stay in line with the ankles. Lean forward only as much as you need to for balance, without arching or rounding your back. Press the heels into the floor and push yourself back into standing position without locking your knees.

Go quick: Take 2 seconds to go down and 2 seconds to come up. Do 16 repetitions.
Go Slowww: Take 4 seconds to go down and 4 to come up. Do 12-16 repetitions.

Quick and Slow: Do 2 quick and 1 slow for 8 repetitions.


Image: Squats will help you get Deepika's lithe legs
Photographs: Atul Kasbekar, Kingfisher Calendar; Illustrations: Uttam Ghosh
Prev     Next

Lunge and lift

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Place the right leg about 3 feet in front of the left, hands on your waist. Now lower your body down (not forward) by bending your knees, making sure your front knee stays in line with the ankle. Next, push yourself back up to the start position and come up do a side leg lift with your left leg, squeezing the outer thigh. Then lower it back into the lunge.

Do 16 reps, then change sides, starting the lunge with the left leg in front of the right.

This exercise attacks the outer thigh, butt, front and back of the thigh and some of the inner thigh.


Image: Lunge and lift for tennis ace Maria Sharapova's super form
Photographs: Mark Blinch/Reuters
Prev     Next

Calf raises

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

This exercise makes your calves stiletto-ready!

Stand with your feet hip distance apart. Lift your heels off the floor, squeezing your calves and slowly lower. Before the heels come in contact with the floor, lift off for the next repetition.

Do 16 repetions. Rest and repeat.


Image: You'll look as great as Priyanka Chopra in a mini if you do raises

Prev     Next

Leg raises

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

This one's for your butt.

Get onto the floor on all fours. Come down on your elbows for better support. Lift your right leg up, keeping the knee bent at 90 degrees and your foot flexed. Lower your knee till it almost touches the floor. Then squeeze your butt and raise the leg as high as you can without arching your back. Imagine you are pushing something heavy back and away from you.

Do 16- 20 reps, then work the left leg.


Image: Wonder if Halle Berry does leg raises to keep her pins in shape
Photographs: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters
Prev     Next

Butt crunches

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

More butt work!

Lie on your back with your knees bent and heels digging into the floor. Place your arms by your side. Squeeze your butt and lift it off the floor. Slowly lower and just before you touch down, squeeze and lift again.

Do 16 reps, rest and repeat.


Image: Model Jesse Randhawa has a shapely lower body thanks to dancing
Photographs: Uday Kuckian
Prev     Next

Platypus walk

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Stand with your legs wide apart, toes and knees turned out. Make sure your knees are in line with the ankles and don't go beyond. Place your hands behind your head, elbows out to the side. Go into a low squat and staying low, take 8 steps forwards and back.

Do this 4 times. Rest and repeat.

This exercise works almost all the leg muscles.


Image: If you do the platypus walk, you'll be as hot on the catwalk as Heidi Klum
Photographs: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Prev     Next

Hamstring curls

Prev     Next
Prev

Next

Shape up the back of your thighs with this one.

Strap on your ankle weights and lie face-down on your bed, with your knees at the edge and lower legs hanging off the bed. Place your hands by your sides and turn your head over to one side. Now bend your knees to bring your heels up to the hips, keeping your feet flexed. Squeeze the back of your thighs as you lift the legs up. Slowly lower.

Do 16 repetitions, rest and repeat.


Image: Closer to home, our tennis star Sania Mirza has super-toned thighs
Photographs: Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters
Prev     Next

Knee extensions

Prev     More
Prev

More

Give the front of your thighs a sexy tone with this exercise.

Keep your ankle weights on. Lie on the floor on a mat. Extend your legs straight up towards the ceiling and keep your feet flexed. Slowly bend your knees and lower the flexed feet down towards your hips. Then raise the legs up again, imagining yourself to be pushing something heavy away from you.

Do 16 reps, rest and repeat.

Round off your session with some stretches for your legs and butt. This is very important, as it will help to open up the muscles and prevent stiffness and soreness.

Then slip on your miniskirt and enjoy the appreciation!


Image: Carmen Electra's legs score a perfect 10 -- bet she works hard to keep them in such great shape
Photographs: Jim Ruymen/Reuters
Prev     More