Everyone already knows one way to tone your legs: squats, squats, and more squats. But to learn about some other, not-so-basic moves, the Cut called upon Jackie Dragone, director of FLEX Barre at FLEX Studios, to teach us some of her favorite leg-leaning tricks. Here, in the GIFs below, are five moves to tone your butt and legs that you can do at home, no weights required. (Do 12 to 15 reps of each move for two rounds.)
Move 1: Dragone calls this the “single-leg balance to flat back,” a move that targets your glutes and quads. Keeping your weight in your heels and your hips square, extend your hips and legs back. Be careful not to push your standing knee over your toe and draw upon your abs to help with balance. As a modification, you can also tap your foot on the ground when you extend your leg back.
Move 2: The back-cross lunge works on your quads. Notice that Dragone keeps her hips stable — they don’t move, even as she crosses her legs to lunge.
Move 3: In the butt lift, the key here is to lift your leg using your hamstring and glute, and not your knee. Keep your hips square, activate your abs, and don’t kick your weight out. Also, be careful to keep your weight even in both hands as you lift your knee — don’t sink into your left hip. You should feel this move right in the section where your butt meets the back of your thigh.
Move 4: With the kneeling side-kick, lift your leg using your inner thigh. The key here is more about using your inner thigh to lift, rather than lifting your leg as high as you can. If you’re doing the move correctly, you should also feel it in the stabilizing leg.
Move 5: When doing the shoulder bridge, be careful to keep your hips in a straight line and avoid tilting your pelvis. Make sure to keep your hips up; don’t let them drop.