The Look-Good-in-Your-Leggings Workout
There's not much to hate about leggings, a wardrobe staple both in and out of the gym. While they cover up, these skintight pants leave little room for forgiveness. The good news: we can assure you that this 20-minute workout will help you rock the tights with confidence. Grab a stability ball, and give it a whirl!
Instructions: After completing the five-minute cardio warmup, perform the workout moving from one exercise directly to the next. Repeat the strength-training circuit two times, then cool down with the lower-body stretches.
Related: 1 Move to Transform Your Entire Body
Warmup: 5 Minutes
To prevent injury and loosen up your muscles, begin with this warmup series.
- High Knees: Alternate legs, quickly bringing your knees to your chest.
- Butt Kicker: Similar to jogging in place, bring (or "kick") your heels to your butt.
- Side Shuffle: Speed is key here. In a low stance, shuffle in small steps to your right, then back to your left.
Cycle through this series at your own pace for five minutes.
Plié Squat: 15 Reps
Widening your stance while doing squats will target your glutes differently and will also tone your inner and outer thighs.
- Stand with your feet wide, toes pointing out. Hold your hands comfortably in front of your chest.
- Bend your knees, lowering your hips so your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Keep your weight back in your heels and knees tracking in line with feet.
- Then rise back up, straightening the legs completely and squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement.
- Do 15 reps.
Standing Dirty Dog: 15 Reps Each Leg
Similar to the clam series, this move targets the outer thigh while testing your balance, too.
- With your arms on your hips, start standing with your feet hip width apart.
- With your core engaged and a solid standing right leg, lift your left leg out to the side, squeezing your waist and hip.
- Lower the left leg down, barely touching the ground with your left toes, then lift that leg again.
- Complete 15 reps before switching legs.
Plié Squat Jump: 15 Reps
Plié squat jumps offer a new take on the traditional — one that you're definitely going to feel in your quads and deep glutes.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and slightly turned out, arms resting on your hips.
- Bend your knees and plié, then jump up explosively. Keep your core engaged.
- Land with control, lowering your body back into the squat position to complete one rep.
- Do 15 reps.
Pulsing Plié Squat: 20 Pulses Up and 20 Back
Now go for the burn and add pulses at the bottom of your plié squat to target glutes and inner thighs.
- Start in second position, with your legs opened wide to the sides and your toes turned slightly outward. Placing your hands on your hips, bend your knees, going as low as you can. Make sure your shoulders remain directly over your hips and your knees are in line with your feet.
- While holding second position, make small pulses up and down, moving about an inch. Do 20 reps.
- Then hold at the lowest point of your squat and gently pulse the knees back a half inch for 20 reps.
Plank Leg Lifts: 10 Reps
Doing these plank leg lifts on an exercise ball further challenges your balance to help strengthen your core while you work your backside.
- Place your belly on an exercise ball, and walk your hands out so the ball is underneath your shins. Your hands should be underneath your shoulders.
- Draw your navel toward your spine to engage your abs, which will help keep your spine straight and your body stabilized.
- Lift your left leg into the air, then slowly lower it onto the ball. Keeping your pelvis level, switch sides and lift the right leg. This counts as one repetition.
- Do 10 reps.
Bridge: 20 Reps and 20 Squeezes
Adding an inner-thigh squeeze to your basic bridge will tone your inner thighs.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart. Place a pillow, block, ball, or toning ring between your knees.
- Press through your heel to raise into a bridge, keeping your ribs aligned with your pelvis. Lower back to the floor. Repeat for 20 reps.
- At the top of your last bridge, hold your pelvis in the air and squeeze the pillow, block, or ball at your knees 20 times.
Superman Ball Lift: 15 Reps
The Superman ball lift is a butt-challenging variation on your standard Superman.
- Lie on your belly, and hold an exercise ball between your lower legs.
- Engage your abs, and extend your arms straight out in front of you.
- Squeeze the ball, and lift your legs, arms, and chest off the floor. Hold for a count of five, and then slowly release your body back to the floor. Lift your legs by engaging your glutes, not by overarching your lower back.
- Repeat for a total of 15 lifts.
Cooldown Stretches: 5 Minutes
Stretch your legs and hips to keep flexible and lengthen your hard-worked muscles.
- Hamstrings and inner thighs: Hold the modified hurdler stretch for 30 seconds to stretch your left hamstring. Then center your torso and lean straight ahead to stretch your left inner thigh for 30 seconds. Switch legs, and repeat on the other side.
- Quads: Hold the kneeling quad stretch for 30 seconds on each side.
- Calves: Hold Downward Facing Dog for five deep breaths, then tread through the feet to increase the stretch.