Skinny jeans and teeny-weeny bikinis have one thing in common: Both look front-page worthy when worn on a woman with an impeccably toned butt, thighs and legs. But you? You're busy! That nine-to-five rat race leaves little time -- or energy -- to hit the gym. Yet you can tote along flexible exercise bands and work those muscle groups from anywhere. And anytime -- from your lunch break to T.V. time.
For a workout that doesn't just tone your butt, but also tightens your thighs, abs and back, add an exercise band to moves working your glutes, abs and your hip abductors. The bands increase the resistance, making for a tougher exercise. For a bodacious bum, do lunges, standing hip abductions and travelling squats. For traveling squats -- a move recommended for "Fitness" magazine by Chelsea Piers Sports Center's group fitness director John Boyd -- loop your exercise band around your ankles, tying a side on to each. Spread your feet hip-width apart and step to the right until you feel tension. Squat down as you bring your left foot over to meet the right. Repeat this movement. Do enough repetitions so that you feel warmth in your glutes and thighs.
Tack on three more moves for slimmer thighs. Be warned, this full series will work more than your inner and outer thigh muscles, though. You'll feel the burn in your hamstrings, abs, obliques and even your quads. To tighten your thighs, grab your exercise band and try some standing hamstring curls, standing leg extensions and -- a special move designed by Equinox Fitness Club manager Keli Roberts -- x wraps. Hit the mat and spread your legs into a wide "V." Loop your band around your thigh, grabbing on to the ends. Tighten your abs, lift your chest and raise your lower legs. As you tug on the band ends, pull your legs apart and back in. Don't lower your legs during reps.
Weighted Exercise Band Workout
Pump up the power of your exercise band routine with dumbbells. According to "Fitness" magazine's Betsy Stephens, by doing so, you'll pump up your lower-body strength times three. Tip: To avoid muscle fatigue, buy a set of light- to medium-weight dumbbells for this routine. Stephens suggests a workout created by Equinox's Keli Roberts. Roberts created a five-minute, five-move routine. Pushup rows to stationary lunches with triceps kickbacks will tone your lower body, leaving no muscle flabby. From your glutes to your calves, adding weights will get results.
All new routines and equipment have a learning curve, so start out slowly. Start by doing 10 to 12 repetitions, then pause before doing another set. If your exercise band is doubled up, of a high resistance, or you're using a medium set of dumbbells, you may need to reduce the number of repetitions in each set. Adjust the number of reps and sets to your needs. For best results, alternate body parts, working each on separate days.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.