These 6 Moves Will Strengthen and Tone Your Entire Legs and Butt
You don’t have to be J. Lo to have a strong booty, and you don’t have to train like her either. With just a few simple moves, you can be well on your way to a toned lower body. We chatted with Emma Elfving, an instructor at Barry’s Bootcamp — which just opened its largest studio in Northern California in SF’s Castro District — who gave us her favorite moves for getting great gams and a bootylicious butt. These exercises will target and strengthen your glutes, quads, hamstrings, and even core. And best yet, they require no equipment, so you can make every day leg day, anywhere and anytime.
Recommendation: Do 12-15 reps of each exercise and aim for 3-5 rounds.
1. Good Morning + Squat: Says Elfving, “This is my go-to exercise for warming up my hamstrings, glutes, and quadriceps.”
Good morning: Place feet shoulder width apart with a slight bend in your knees. Lift hands behind your head with your elbows wide. Hinging at the hip, bring your chest towards the ground, hold for one count and stand. When you stand, keep your chest up, elbows wide, squeezing your glutes.
Squat: Lower down into a squat with your heels planted firmly on the ground. With your weight in your heels and chest up, drive through the soles of your feet and lift back up to standing position, squeezing your glutes again.
Alternate between the good morning and squat.
2. Sumo Heel Lift: This movie targets the deep glute muscles and also engages the core as you balance on one toe.
Standing in a wide squat stance, slightly angle your toes out. Lower down into sumo squat position, keeping your knees and toes angled out. As you lower down, remember to keep your spine neutral and core engaged (do not arch your lower back). Repeat this sumo squat five times. Lift your right heel off the ground, placing your weight on your right toe, squat up and down five times, keeping the right heel elevated. Repeat on the other side with the left heel elevated.
3. Rocket Jump: This is a fun, explosive exercise that’s also a great way to get your heart rate up.
Standing tall with your feet hip distance apart, step back with your right foot into a lunge position, keeping 90 degrees in both knees. Hold this lunge position for one second. From this position, you will drive through the left heel and jump explosively lifting your right knee into the air. As you lift your right knee into the air, naturally you will get a slight hop on the left foot. Make sure you keep the core activated as you step back and hop straight up. This is a very quick movement, so try to complete 10 full range movements on each side. Then switch to the left foot. If the jump feels like too much impact, lunge back slowly and drive that same knee up quickly, keeping the opposite foot on the ground.
4. Lunge Sumo Squat Combination: This combo is a two-for-one: the lunge activates the quads, and the sumo squat targets the glutes. The wider the stance, the deeper the muscle activation.
Standing tall with your shoulders relaxed and hands by your sides, take one big step back with your right leg into a lunge position. Keeping your foot behind you, pivot your back toes opening into a sumo squat position. When finishing your squat, pivot your toes back forward into your lunge, and then stand driving through your left heel. Switch sides!
5. Glute Bridges: This is an amazing pelvic floor to work the glutes.
Lie flat on the floor in a sit-up position with a 90-degree angle in both knees. Keeping your spine neutral, shoulders on the floor, hands by your sides, lift your glutes off the floor as high as you can. Once you reach the highest point, squeeze tight and lower back down. Right before your bottom hits the floor, lift right back up and squeeze.
(Photos and GIFs via Brittany Griffin/Brit + Co)
Lesley Chen is a California native who writes about travel, health/fitness, and other lifestyle topics. She has a serious case of RBF and exercises mainly to balance out an aggressive candy addiction.