WITH summer on its way, the season of skirts, shorts and swimsuits is almost approaching.
And while we can’t guarantee you a set of legs to rival Heidi Klum’s, we can certainly help you on your way to a peachy bum, strong quads and toned calves.
Plus, there’s no need to even set foot in a gym. In fact, you can tone up in the comfort of your own home, in front of Netflix.
Could this be a dream? well, apparently not…
Jess Rosart is personal trainer, coach and gym manager at WIT House London. She’s put together seven moves that, when done four to five times a week, will give your lower body a boost and help firm up any problem areas.
Each of the exercises can be done using just your body weight for resistance, although adding extra weights is a sure-fire way to work your legs and glute muscles (AKA your bum) that bit harder. Plus, you’re more likely to see results quicker.
No weights? No problem! Try water bottles, tins or bags of rice.
If you do want to invest in a set of weights, avoid pricey ones and pick up a second-hand set on eBay or Facebook Marketplace. Let’s get going!
COFFEE TABLE SPLIT SQUAT – 10 REPS EACH LEG
With your back to the table, prop the back of one foot on it and keep your other foot on the floor. Keep your back straight and eyes forward.
Use the front leg to stabilize you as you dip your back knee down and your glutes fire up. Your front knee shouldn’t come past your toes.
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Pause at the bottom, then push up through the front heel to return to the start. To add resistance, hold a weight or heavy item to your chest.
struggling? Swap the table for a low step.
GOBLET SQUAT – 10 REPS
If you’ve got a dumb-bell or weight at home, then use it. If not, hold a bag of rice on each shoulder or clutch a heavy book to your chest.
Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart. Keep your back flat and gaze forwards as you push your hips back, bend your knees and drop down into a squat.
Aim to get your hips below parallel to the ground. Then push up through the heels to rise.
Not feeling it in your glutes? Pause at the bottom or add a tiny pulse to wake up your butt.
STAIR CALF RAISES – 10-30 REPS (BUILD UP OVER TIME!)
Try using the bottom step on a set of stairs for this one. Stand on the edge of the step with your heels off the edge.
Press down on the balls of your feet while lifting your heels up, engaging your calves, coming right up on to your toes. Then slowly lower your heels back down and repeat.
Fancy making these calf raises a little tougher? Try putting ankle weights on if you have some at home.
SINGLE LEG SOFA DEADLIFTS – 10 REPS EACH LEG
“This is an excellent move for your glutes,” says Jess, who adds it’s also great for working your core muscles.
Prop your back foot on a sofa or bench, like for the split squat, but this time bend at your hips to reach your arms towards the ground.
Squeeze your glutes and engage your core to come back up into a standing position.
You should feel this in both muscle groups, especially your core as it works overtime to stabilize you.
SOFA STEP-UPS – 5 REPS EACH LEG
Use a firm sofa edge or a chair for this move. Start by standing upright, facing your sofa or chair.
Carefully, step up with your left leg and drive your body up, keeping your back flat and gaze straight ahead. Then lower back down to the ground. Move so you feel your glutes slowly firing up.
Too easy? Fill a backpack with heavy items and wear it.
“This move mostly works the quads, but it also targets the hamstrings, groin, hip flexors and calves,” says Jess.
WATER BOTTLE BODY SWINGS – 20 REPS
Boost lower-body strength and work your abs and arms, too, with this powerful move. Before you start, make sure you have ample space in front of you.
Fill up a two-liter water bottle, screw the lid on tight, then hold the top in both hands. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and let your arms hang down between your legs.
Thrust your hips forward, keeping your back flat. Using the power from your lower body, swing the bottle up to eye level, before letting it fall back down between your legs.
Your abs and arms will thank you.
SOFA JUMPING SQUATS – 10 REPS
Stand in front of your sofa, facing away, with your feet hip-width apart. Push your hips back, bend your knees and drop down on to your sofa.
Let your back touch the back of the seat and as soon as it does, use your legs to drive you up into a big jump.
Focus on squeezing your bottom at the top of the jump to extend your hips and engage the glutes.
Safely land on your feet and slowly lower yourself back to the sofa.
GLUTE TO KNOW
“Your glutes are your butt muscles. The muscles along the front of thighs are quads, while the ones along the back are hamstrings, and calves are the back of your lower leg,” explains
Jess. “Working these muscles strengthens the lower body to prevent back injuries and improve mobility.”
GET A LEG UP
Research has found there may be a link between leg fitness and brain health,* while a US study also suggests building moderate muscle strength could help reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes.**
Having strong leg muscles can also help you lose weight, as working your glutes (your body’s largest muscle) burns calories fast and helps speed up metabolism.
*King’s College London **Iowa State University