Core and thighs are my favorite areas to workout. As some of the biggest muscles in the body, focusing on these areas can have the greatest impact. And if you do these moves in quick succession, you get great cardiovascular and conditioning benefits as well as toning and strengthening. To really engage all the muscles from your core to your knees, full-body moves like these are so much more effective than any leg press or quad extension machines at the gym! Squats are provide a great foundation for strong lower body, but moves that challenge your balance can truly make a difference–and whittle your core. For best results, do 2 sets of the below workout at least 2 times a week, and complement with your favorite cardio!
1. Side kick
From standing, engage your core, put your hands together in front of your chest, and pull your right knee up to your hands, foot pointed. Slightly bend your supporting knee–your torso should be straight and tilted forward slightly for balance (position 1). Still in plie, extend your right foot to the side in a tendu (position 2). Lift your right leg, as high as you can while still maintaining control. Lower down with control to position 2. Engage your core and bring your knee up to your chest again for position 1. Repeat 16 reps and do the other side.
2. Bridge Knee Tuck
Lie down on the floor with your feet on the ground, hip distance apart, and knees up. Exhale, wrap your core, and lift your hips up into bridge pose. With control, raise your right knee toward your chest. Lower back down. Raise your left knee to your chest, and lower down. That’s one rep–repeat 16 reps.
3. Boat Butterfly
Start lying on the floor. Exhale and raise your legs up, knees slightly bent, your shins parallel to the floor (position 1). Inhale and open your legs at the hips; pause. Exhale and bring your knees together, feeling the inner thighs working. For more challenge, raise your upper back and head off the floor, tucking your chin to protect your neck (the more you raise your upper body, and the closer your legs are to the floor, the harder it will be). Repeat 16 reps.
4. Spiderman Press
Begin in plank position. Exhale and raise your right leg and point your foot behind you (position 1). Inhale, come into push up position and bring your right knee to your right elbow (position 2). Exhale, and return to position 1. Inhale and come into push up with your knee to your left elbow (position 3). Exhale and return to position 1–that’s one rep. Do 16 reps or as much as you can. This one is challenging! You should feel all the muscles in your core and all around your thighs, as well as your side muscles.
Related: 7 Fun Thigh Slimming Exercises
7 Crunches Free Core Exercises
Photo: Peaceful Dumpling