There’s nothing to boost your confidence like feeling like you have a great butt and great legs.
You walk around standing a little taller, wear heels, skirts and dresses a little prouder and look back at yourself in the mirror a little longer. More than that though, it’s a great boost to your fitness level and is key in allowing you to squat well, do heavy deadlifts, and not to mention excel at sports such as running and cycling.
If you’re looking for a place to get started on improving your fitness, confidence and body image, your legs and butt are the place to go.
Here are 5 exercises you can do at home in your living room - equipment free – that are great to get you started.
While it may seem simple, and may not work up a sweat in a hurry, do enough of these and you’ll feel the burn. Better yet, head to a barre class where you’ll do a lot of exercises on raised feet, with activated calves and then you’ll definitely know how well they work. To perform the exercise simply find a step, or a raised box, and stand on it with just your tippy toes. From there, with your toes remaining on the step, lift your heels as high up as you can, feeling your calf muscle doing the work. Do 3 sets of 15 repetitions and then finish by dropping your heels below your toes to stretch out your calves.
This one has lots of modifications, including the option to do it from a plank position to make the exercise harder, as well as to make it more challenging for your core and give you a nice abs workout! The basic technique involves the following: come on to your hands and knees, in a table top position, hands directly below your shoulders and knees and legs lined up with your hands. Maintaining this position, lift your right leg up directly out to the side, as high as you can go. Repeat 10-15 times and then switch sides. Do 3-4 sets, of both legs, and you should feel the burn in your buttocks, quads, inner thighs and hip flexors.
While regular squats are a great exercise for giving you a toned butt and legs, pulsing exercises are a great option for a bit of a change and for an added challenge. The idea is to take your muscle to fatigue through small movements, which simultaneously work your larger muscles, as well as smaller muscles not often targeted. To complete squat pulses, simply come into a squat position, knees directly above your ankles, weight in your heels and legs at a 90 degree angle, and then hold this position, gently pulsing up and down. The movement is very small and you should not be moving more than a few centimeters. Repeat 20-30 pulses at a time and then repeat 3-4 times.
Another variation of a squat, wall sits are a challenge because they require sustained activation of your muscles with no break. This includes the quads and glute muscles and you will feel the burn in both of these areas during this exercise. To complete the exercise, lean your back against a wall, with legs out in front of you at 90 degrees, hip width apart, as if you are sitting in a chair and the wall is the chair back. Maintain this position for as long as possible, leaving your hands by your side, or folded in your lap. Repeat if you can!
For this exercise, all you need is something you can step up on to that will support your weight. It could be the stairs, a chair or a table, and the height will depend on the strength of your legs and glutes. As you perform the exercise more and improve, you will be able to step up higher and can eventually switch to jumping up to work your legs and glutes even more. To perform the exercise, simply step up on to your chosen box or step with one leg at a time, with no help from the second leg. Step back down and repeat 12-15 times for each leg, and then do 3-4 sets.