6 Exercises for Ultra-Sculpted Legs
The higher the temps, the shorter the shorts — isn't that how the saying goes? But, seriously, now that summer has arrived in full force (hello, heat wave), the less you're wearing, the more comfortable you'll be. And this is the time of year where everyone's showing off some thigh, whether you're rocking a teeny cocktail dress at a wedding or dancing your butt off in very-on-trend leather shorts at the beach bar. Naturally, you want your legs to look as good as your just-off-the-beach glow.
To get those toned thighs and killer calves, we turned to Sadie Kurzban of 305 Fitness. The Miami native (hence the 305) knows a thing or two about hitting the dance floor, and she turned her South Beach expertise into a killer workout that helps you sculpt a dancer's body. In her own words, 305 Fitness will turn "your workout into a party" — in her classes, you'll have so much fun mashing up dance moves, sports drills, and high intensity interval training, you'll hardly notice you're getting a full body workout. Who knows, the class might even inspire some dance floor moves you can put to use at all those weddings filling up your iCal.
If you can't make it to one of Kurzban's studios, try out her dance-inspired moves at your own gym (repeat each move for 30 to 45 seconds, then perform the whole set three times):
Move 1: The Stairmaster
"This quad-sizzling move is way more fun than climbing stairs," says Kurzban. Start with your feet spread a little more than hip-width apart and face the right side of the room. Bend your right knee while leaning over to the right. As you raise your right knee, push your left arm in front of you on a diagonal and your right arm towards the back of the room on a diagonal. Then, as you then push your right leg back into a wide stance, push your left arm towards the front of the room and your left arm towards the back. Repeat for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
Move 2: The Bird
"Inspired by West African styles, this move forces you to get down and get looow!" says Kurzban. Start with feet together, arms crossed over your chest. Stick your butt out as far as you can while you squat down. While in a squat, step out into a plié by walking your right leg out to the side. Simultaneously, open your arms out to each side (like a bird opening its wings). Step your left foot towards your right foot while closing your arms back across your chest. Return to starting position. Repeat on the left side.
Move 3: Mini Side Kicks
"Straight from the dance floor, this move will leave your quads burning for days," says Kurzban. Face the left side of the room. Kick your right leg towards the left side of the room in front of you, twice. Then kick your right leg towards the back, twice. Switch sides and repeat.
Move 4: The B*tch Slap
"This move is proof that no one can mess with you," says Kurzban. Start with your legs together. Step out with your right leg while you lift your left leg hip height (knee facing left wall). Simultaneously, swing your right arm towards your left knee (as if you were swinging a tennis racquet). Change weight to the opposite foot and repeat on the other side.
Move 5: Bongo Beats
"Let your inner kid come out to play with this fun-loving move," says Kurzban. Start with your legs spread a little wider than hip-width apart. Squat down into a plié
with your toes pointed out to the sides of the room (keep your abs tight here). Pound your hands down towards the ground, alternating between right and left as if you are playing the bongos. Use your abs, glutes and quads to propel you up as you squat down. If you want to mix it up, beat the bongos from side to side.
Move 6: The Motorcycle Pump
"Pop it like nobody’s business!" says Kurzban. Start in a lunge stance with your feet a little wider than hip-width apart, facing the left side of the room; keep your left leg planted on the floor, right heel slightly raised. While in your lunge, extend your arms in a downward angle towards the ground. Tighten your abs and lower your right knee down into your lunge and then use your left heel to pull you back up. As you lunge down, push your right arm forward towards the ground in front of your left knee; as you rise up, pull your right elbow towards the right side of the room. Switch sides and repeat.