Top Five Thigh Tush Toners

Learn how the five best exercises for toning your thighs and butt will also keep your out of assisted living facilities. Add squats, lunges and more to your workout for looks and longevity.

Properly exercising your butt and legs will result in shapely firmness from your fanny down to your feet. One of the biggest reasons people seek personal training is for help with toning their thighs and backside. Beyond self-esteem and good looks, the harsher reality is that the day you can no longer squat down, use the toilet, and stand back up, you are headed for an elderly-care home. Every workout in the present is a deposit towards your future quality of life.

So, direct from the desk of a real personal trainer, fitness manager and certified group exercise instructor, here are the top five exercises for burning your back-end. Squats, lunges, leg curls, straight-leg dead lifts, and leg side-raises are the best exercises for targeting the legs and tush. Squats will be explained in detail first because, of all five exercises for the legs and rear, the fundamental squat is a basic activity of daily living.

SQUATS: If you have never done a single squat before, you can learn proper form with a chair. Stand in front of your chair with the backs your knees touching the front of the seat. Raise your arms out in front of you and slowly lower your bottom back toward the seat, trying to keep the backs of your knees touching the chair at all times. If you feel you are ready for real squats put a couple dumbbells on your shoulders or a barbell on your back. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed forward, chin up, chest out, abdominal muscles tucked in, and your spine in neutral. Press your bottom back and sit in an imaginary chair. You should always be able to glance down and see your toes. As you come up, consciously squeeze your bottom and thighs.

LUNGES: Stand with your feet together, holding dumbbells at your sides, or put a barbell on your upper back. Reverse lunges are safer for the knees than forward lunges. So step back as far as you can, one leg at a time, and touch your toe lightly behind you. Exhale as you return to standing. Your legs should make two 90-degree angles at the bottom of the lunge. Your back knee does not need to touch the ground, and you should not lean forward. If you prefer stationary lunges, hold an open lunge position and imagine a carousel horse, gliding up and down on a pole.The smith rack can be used for lunges with heavy loads.

SIDE LEG LIFTS: Using your own leg weight, ankle weights, or a cable attached to a strap around your ankle can increase the intensity of side leg lifts, working the gluteus medius. Simply stand with your legs together and lift one leg straight out to the side, raising it as high as you can without arching your spine.Inhale you relax the leg.

LEG CURLS: Find a machine that lets you lay on your stomach while pulling your feet toward your fanny or a machine that lets you sit while pulling your feet underneath you. Hamstring curls focus on the biceps muscles in the back of your thighs. They carry the same name as the muscles in your upper arm because they look and function the same way.Exhale as you curl the weight; inhale as you relax.

DEAD LIFTS: Doing dead lifts with your legs straight will nail you from the knees up. Hold a barbell or dumbbells and stand with your legs shoulder-width apart. Hinging at the hip, lower the weight down toward the floor, keeping it close to your body. Keep your eyes forward, your chest out, your back super straight, and your abs inward. Keep your legs straight but not locked. Exhale as you return to a standing position, flexing your bottom and thighs the whole way up.

Shape the image you leave behind by doing two or three of the above exercises every few days. Do two to three sets of 12 to 15 reps of each exercise. Offer your body variety by using machines or slightly differing weights and reps. Do cardiovascular training on the days in between your weight workouts. Change your routine every six to eight weeks, because keeping your body guessing will burn more calories.

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