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Tone and Tighten Butt & Thighs

Put your lower half to work with these simple tips, and sculpt a better body

Written by Mike Geary

When searching for the best exercises for the thighs, you see tons of ads promoting all of these fancy so-called inner-thigh blasters, thigh squeezers, thigh-toning machines, etc. Take my word when I say that you do not need any of these ridiculous “thigh-blasting” gadgets to tighten and tone-up your legs, butt and hips for good.

As always, the best exercises for the thighs come in the form of free-weight or bodyweight exercises. Despite the plethora of gym equipment available, some of the greatest exercises remain the ones you can do with just your body weight — for instance, squats and lunges. The best workout to build leg strength and improve athletic performance is the full-range, rock-bottom, single-leg squat. You really need not look any further than various forms of exercises like lunges, squats, deadlifts and step-ups to get those toned thighs that you want. In addition, there are plenty of variations of these basic exercises to choose from, so in reality, it is simply a waste of time messing with all of these inner-thigh gadgets and fancy thigh machines.

Here's an example of one of the most effective thigh exercises that you can do. I'm sure you have done some variation of lunges before. There's probably about 20 different versions that you can try, and they all kick butt.

One of the best variations of lunges are walking lunges (and a couple ways to do these slightly different to change the emphasis). Instead of standing lunges where you either lunge forward or lunge backward for one step and come back, with walking lunges you keep traveling forward on each step for anywhere from 10–30 steps, and then you turn around and come back that same distance.

A couple ways to improve on these and get better results over time is to increase your distance each time or start carrying dumbbells to increase the resistance. Walking lunges done right are a real thigh-burner.

1. Watch Your Step

Step far enough forward so that your front shin stays approximately vertical and your front thigh is approximately parallel to the floor at the bottom of the lunge.

2. Leg Placement

Place your opposite leg behind you while lunging with a slight bend in the knee. Your knee should come just short of touching the floor. Try not to touch the knee to the ground during walking lunges.

3. Hold in Place

Pause for a second at the top of each step before you lunge forward again for your next step. Use control and balance to push yourself back up.

4. Keep a Firm Core

Good posture is key.Keep a straight back, straight shoulders and tight core to help maximize the benefits of the workout. Be careful not to relax your posture when doing side twists.

Ok, now that you've mastered the basic walking lunge, let me give you a couple ideas for lunge variations that change the emphasis a little bit for working the outer thighs, inner thighs and buttocks in a slightly different manner. One variety is to step at an angle outward on each forward step. A second variation is to step at a slight angle inward on each forward step. The inward stepping version of the walking lunge is also called a cross-over lunge, and it really stretches out the buttocks and hips.

Go ahead and give these lunge variations a try and I guarantee that you will be firming up those thighs in no time. Whatever you do, just please say no to the fancy thigh machines and inner thigh squeezers, and use these more effective bodyweight exercises and free weight exercises, and you'll be much better off for it.

Leg workouts to get rid of cellulite Cellulite is characterized by enlarged fat cells that push superficially to the skin that causes the skin surface to appear dimpled. It also happens to be a woman’s worse nightmare. According to the Mayo Clinic, weight loss through diet and regular exercise is one of the most beneficial treatments of cellulite. Performing various leg workouts and exercises can strengthen lower body muscles while burning fat to reduce cellulite. While diet and exercise can provide health benefits, always consult a doctor or dietitian before starting a nutrition or fitness program.

Tips and tricks to toning by livestrong.com

Tip #1

Perform cardio workouts three to five times per week. Cardio workouts can include running, swimming, biking or rowing and are designed to increase the heart rate while burning fat and building muscle in the legs. Include one or more exercises into the workout program for about 30 to 60 minutes per workout.

Tip #2

Strength train four to six days per week. The goal of strength training exercises is to build lean muscle tissue and burn excess body fat that eventually rids the body of cellulite. Focus on functional compound exercises such as squats, deadlifts and lunges that incorporate two or more major muscle groups during the exercise. Perform three to five sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each exercise.

Tip #3

Participate in a group fitness class. These classes provide expert instruction and motivation from the group atmosphere. Examples of group fitness classes that provide a leg workout that can reduce cellulite include kickboxing, step or Pilates.

Tip #4

Consume complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables, lean protein from fish and poultry and healthy fats from nuts and seeds. Focus on getting 40 percent of the calories from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein and fat.

Article Reviewed: June 22, 2012
Copyright © 2014 Healthy Magazine

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