We all know that our legs never looked better than when strap on our sexiest stilettos. But wearing stilettos everyday can sadly be a hassle and as much as we may want to, our tender tootsies can only take so much. So, ELLE enlisted the help of Nicole Yamanaka, owner and personal trainer at Le Physique in Vancouver to get our legs toned stiletto style with these exercises, minus the high heels.
Remember to check with your physician before starting any new (or making modifications to your current) exercise program. Working a trained and experienced personal trainer will enhance your results as well as keeping your safety in mind.
Modified Straight Leg Deadlift
Tones: hamstrings, abdominals and lower back.
1) Begin with good posture and hold the weights in front of your thighs.
2) Like a robot, keep your torso straight and stiff, begin your movement by hinging at your hips. Imagine pushing your bum back as though you were bowing.
3) Keeping your spine long, and your legs straight but not locked, slowly lower the weights past your knees and stopping at your shins. At this point your body should look like the number 7 and you should feel a gentle stretch in the back of your leg.
4) Make sure your abdominals are still pulled in tightly and slowly return to a standing position, recheck your posture and repeat.
Tones: glues, quadriceps, hamstrings, abdominals and lower back
1) Start with good posture and feet hip width apart, begin the movement by hinging at the hips and gently pushing your bum back like you were going to sit on a high stool.
2) Watch your form in a mirror and keep your chest, head and eyes up to promote spinal extension (think of your back as a ski-ramp) or look out a window and enjoy the view.
3) As you lower your bum, bend your knees and “sit down“ until your knees reach approximately 90 degrees.
4) Though your back should be straight, it should not be perpendicular to the floor. You will be leaning slightly forward to counterbalance the weight of your hips and to keep you from the sensation of falling backwards.
5) Stand up by squeezing your glutes and pushing your hips forward, check your posture and repeatWalking Touch-Down Lunge
Tones: Glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves
1) Again starting with good posture, take a giant step forward (about three feet) with your first leg.
2) Keep the pressure on the heel of your front foot. Don’t allow your knee to extend over the foot.
3) Slowly lower your body by flexing both front and back knees and hips as you reach your hands to touch your front shoe, as though trying to tie your shoelaces. Your chest will be very close to your thigh or knee, head is up, eyes looking straight forward.
4) Allow your back foot to flex and your back knee should almost touch the floor
5) Keep your abdominals tight, return to standing position by pushing off your back leg, extending at the hip and step forward with the next leg.
Tones: Inner thighs, glutes and quadriceps
1) This exercise is very similar to the squat described above, but your feet are about 3 feet apart (outside shoulder width) and toes pointed outwards at a comfortable angle.
2) Start by hinging at your hips, pushing your bum back (you’ll feel fabric on the back of your shorts tighten up), allowing the knees to bend as you lower your body down.
3) Keep your knees in line with your toes, head and chest are forward, eyes looking up and bum back. Your weight should be on your heels.
4) Abdominals should still be tucked in, lower to a 90 degree bend in the knees and return to start position by squeezing your glutes.
Single Leg Calf Raise
Tones: Lower leg/calves
1) Tuck the abs in and knees straight are but not locked.
2) Place the ball of your foot securely on a raised platform (an aerobic step or a stair at home will do the trick). Your other leg is bent and not supporting any weight. Hold onto a wall or rail for balance if you want to.
3) Keeping your supporting leg straight, raise your body up and stand on the ball of the foot or your toes, depending on how flexible your foot and ankle is.
4) Slowly lower your body, being careful not to drop your heel too low (don’t over stretch your calf during the exercise) and complete the set before switching legs.
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