Michelle Lovitt understands the pressures an A-list actress faces to always look camera ready. As personal trainer to Cougar Town’sCourteney Cox and Parenthood’sLauren Graham, she’s constantly coming up with ways to mix up their workouts and target trouble spots such as the hips, butt, and of course, thighs.
“Increasing strength in your lower body increases lean body mass, which raises your metabolism and helps your body burn calories at a higher rate, even at rest,” Lovitt says. “So the most important thing you want to do for lean legs is strength train them by lifting weights that will cause your muscles to fatigue after 10 to 15 repetitions,” adds the Zobha Brand Ambassador and celebrity trainer. “Then, add in cardio exercises like hill running, hiking, walking, skating, and bike riding to sculpt the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes by aiding in body-fat loss.”
Squats are one of the best exercises you can do to tone your hips, butt, and thighs, Lovitt says. They burn fat and help build muscle in your legs by using your bodyweight as resistance.
How to do it: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, holding a 5- to 10-pound dumbbell in each hand, elbows bent at 90 degrees, with palms facing forward. Keeping your chest up, begin to squat down.
As you lift back up through your glutes, twist your body to the left, allowing your feet to pivot so that right heel lifts off the floor. At the same time, press dumbbells overhead. Return to start. Switch sides and repeat.
Begin with 12-15 reps on each side. Begin with one set and work your way up to three sets.
Keeping the weight in front of your thighs, tip forward from your hips and lower as low as your flexibility allows. Keep your back flat or with a natural arch and make sure you keep your abs contracted to protect your lower back.
Squeeze your glutes on the working leg and raise back up. Do two to three sets of 12-15 reps.
Stand with feet hip distance apart. Step back three to four feet with your right leg, land on the ball of your right foot, and lower into a lunge. Pause, then push yourself to the starting position as quickly as you can. Repeat 12-15 reps on your right leg and then switch to the left. Aim for two to three sets total.
Stand facing a set of stairs or an elevated platform. Step onto the platform with your right foot. Keep your right foot on the stair as you press through your heel and rise. At the same time, lift your left foot to touch the step quickly and then extend your left leg back (really squeezing your butt) before returning to the starting position with both feet on the floor.
Repeat until you have performed 25 repetitions with each leg.