Squats are great moves for building both strength and muscle. Since this move activates more than one joint and muscle it is classified as a compound movement. The Sumo or Plie Squat is a variation of the normal squat. This variation works more of the inner thighs and glutes than the regular squat.
Movement: Stand with your feet wider than hip-width apart (the wider the stance, the more you work your butt and thigh muscles). Have your toes turned out instead of forward like in a regular squat. Slowly lower your hips making sure that your knees do not move beyond your toes. Slowly raise your hips up making sure to squeeze your glutes at the top of the movement. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times for 3 sets.
Advanced: Add a medicine ball or weights. Try to go for weights heavier than a bowling ball, purse, or baby. You can either hold the weight or medicine ball to your chest or hold a dumbbell between your legs as you squat.
If you want to make it harder, add in weighted tricep extensions. To give yourself a total body workout, as you squat slowly bend arms at the elbow to lower the dumbbell behind your head. As you move out of the squat raise your arms to complete the movement. Beginners use a 3 lb dumbbell.
Around the Clock Lunges:
Lunges are great for working all of the lower body muscles and joints. This particular move incorporates all of the lunge variations- front, side, and reverse- into one exercise that works your hamstrings, quads, inner and outer thighs, and butt muscles.
Movement: Stand with feet hip-width apart with hands on your hips. Take a big step forward with your right foot and lower your hips until both knees are at 90 degree angles. Make sure that your front knee does not go over the ankle. Step back into starting position. Then take a big step to your right side and slowly bend your knee. Make sure to keep your knee over your ankle. Do not lean forward with this move as you could seriously injury your ankle. Step back to start. Take a big step backwards and bend your knees until they are at a 90 degree angle. Go back to start. Repeat this move 10 to 15 times on one side. Then switch to the other leg.
Advanced: Instead of placing hands on your hips, do a weighted lunge instead. Beginners start with 5 lbs working your way up. If you’re already experienced, start with a 12 lb weight instead.
You can also add in a weighted bicep curl with each lunge. Beginners start with a 3 lb weight.
Side Leg Lifts:
This particular movement is a great way to exercise not only the outer thigh and hip muscle but also your abs and back. Prepare to melt away fat and firm your thigh area with this gentle but effective move.
Movement: Lie down on your right side making sure to align your body in a straight line. Stack one leg on top of the other. Bend your right arm to a 90 degree angle to hold up your head. For balance, place your left hand on your hip. Tighten your core as you lift the top leg. Lift your leg about six inches to a foot off the floor. Slowly lower the leg. Repeat this movement 10 to 15 times for 3 sets. Switch sides.
Advanced: Use a resistance band. Put a band around your feet so that it wraps around your ankles. As you lift the top leg, it intensifies the resistance and makes you work harder.
Now, after you can do that, instead of putting your hand on your hip for balance place it on your head instead. This increases the amount your core has to work in order to keep you from falling over.
Inner Thigh Lift:
This move focuses on both the inner thigh as well as the abs and back muscles. It conditions and strengthens the inner thigh muscle as it move towards the center of the body.
Movement: Lie on your right side with your bottom leg straight while the top leg crosses over the bottom one. The right leg should be positioned so that the knee or foot rests on the floor. You can either prop up your head or rest it on the outstretched arm. Lift the inner leg slowly upwards. Do 10 to 15 reps for a total of 3 sets. Switch and repeat on the other leg.
Advanced: Instead of 10 to 15 slow lifts, do 10 quick pulses before lowering the bottom leg to the ground. Do this for a total of 5 to 10 times.
This exercise is great for all of the core muscles- the lower abs, back, glutes, and quads. Do this exercise to hit all three cellulite trouble zone areas.
Movement: Lie down on your back. Bend your knees up, keeping your feet flat on the floor. Tilt your pelvis up pushing your belly button to the back of your spine. Push your hips up so that the tops of your legs make a diagonal line. Lower your hips but do not release the contraction by touching your hips to the floor. Do 10 to 15 reps for 3 sets.
Advanced: Cross the right leg so that the ankle is just resting below the bent knee of the left leg. Raise your hips as high as possible. Lower your hips without touching your hips to the floor. Switch legs after completing the 3 sets.
Leg Kickbacks focus primarily on the butt muscles but also works the hamstrings. While the move looks simple, it’s important to engage the core muscles as you kick your leg to keep from hurting your back.
Movement: Begin this exercise on all fours. Make sure that your wrists are aligned beneath your shoulders and your knees beneath your hips. Tighten your abs before you lift your right leg. Keep your foot flex as you lift. Do not raise your leg above your hips. Bring the knee back to the starting position. Do this 12 to 15 times for 3 sets. Repeat on the other side.
Advanced: Use a resistance band to make the kickbacks harder. Place the band around the foot and hold either ends beneath your hands. As you push your leg back, keep your foot flexed in order to keep the band around your foot. You can also add ankle weights as well.
While this move mimics the stereotypical dog peeing on a fire hydrant, it is great for working the hips, outer thighs, and glutes.
Movement: Start on all fours, making sure to keep your hands aligned beneath the shoulders and the knees aligned beneath the hips. Keep back in a neutral spin. It should not be arched in any way. Raise the right leg out to the side, keeping it in the bent leg position. Raise the leg until it is parallel to the ground. Lower to the ground and repeat 12 more times. Do two sets of this for each leg.
Advanced: Start this movement as prescribed. After you’ve lifted your leg, straighten it out and hold for three seconds. Then bend the leg back and return to the starting position. By adding in the kickout at the end, you use both your quads and hamstrings as well.
Kick it up a notch: Add ankle weights to this exercise. Be careful not to stress out your hips too much though. Only add weights if your hips can handle the extra pressure.