Squats and lunges aren't always fun, but they are very effective for reshaping your legs and hips. According to Pauline Nordin, creator of the "Butt Bible" workout video series, legs are more difficult to improve than arms because our legs are already used to quite a bit of work holding us up and moving us around. Challenging them enough to make change takes commitment, targeted exercise and a healthy diet. Keeping your caloric intake low, in conjunction with squats and lunges, can help you lose weight in your lower body.
Squats for the Outer Thigh
The basic squat does wonders for your outer thighs. Stand with your legs just a little farther than hip-width apart, and place your hands on your shoulders. As you progress with this exercise, add dumbbells in your hands to increase the challenge. Squat down as far as you can in this position and then stand back up. Sometimes it helps to put a chair behind you and tap it with your butt to make sure you are going down deep enough. Let your buttocks push out behind you as you squat so you do not end up leaning too far over your toes, which can stress out your knees. Do this for 60 seconds and then switch to the next exercise.
Squats for the Inner Thigh
A sumo squat changes an outer-thigh exercise into an inner-thigh reducer. Stand with your legs hip-width apart and take one large step to the side with one leg to create a wider gap. Hold a dumbbell with both your hands with straightened arms down in front of your center. The dumbbell will just hang there while you squat down. The placement of the weight here is a big part of how you are able to target your inner thighs. Do this for 60 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise.
Lunges require steady balance, which is a good workout for your core, including your waist and hips, as well as your legs. Stand where you will have plenty of room in front of you, with your feet together. To help keep your balance, you can spread your arms out to the sides. Step forward as far as you can with your right leg and sink your left knee down. Pushing off your right heel, bring your right leg back up to standing. Repeat for the left side. If you can't get all the way down at first, that's okay. As long as you are feeling the stretch, you are doing good work. Do these for 60 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise.
Combining a side lunge with a lean will target both the thighs and the obliques in your waist. Hold a dumbbell directly over your head with both hands. Step out to the right to lunge to the side. Bend toward the right, keeping your arms straight above your head. Use the obliques on your left side to straighten and then bring your right leg back to standing. Repeat on the left side. Repeat this entire circuit two times with a 30-second break between each circuit. Do this workout at least two times a week to build strength and lose weight on your thighs and hips.
- The Butt Bible; Pauline Nordin
Meredith Berg received her B.F.A. in directing from NYU's Tisch School of the Arts. Now living in Los Angeles, she works as a film and television writer, comic-book editor and director of plays and films. In addition, she loves tackling paleo recipes, workout routines and DIY projects.