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Saturday Morning Drills: Shape and Tone Your Legs with Ankle Weights

 March is here which means one thing – spring will soon arrive and bikini season will be next. You’ve been working hard on that New Year’s resolution by cleaning up your diet and keeping a consistent workout regimen. But what else can you do to make sure those legs are bikini ready? If you’re looking for more ways to shape and tone your legs, than you’ve stumbled across the right read.

For this week’s Saturday Morning Drill, all you need is a pair of ankle weights. Ankle weights can range from two pounds each all the way up to 10. If you’ve never used them before, I recommend starting out on the lower end of that scale. Incorporating these simple devices into your workouts can be more difficult than they come across.

Not only do they help with toning and shaping your leg muscles, but they also help increase your stamina and endurance levels. Ankle weights are a great way to fatigue those leg muscles. When you continue the same leg workouts for multiple weeks at a time, the benefits begin to taper off because your muscles have adapted to the exercises and they know what to expect. By doing the same exercises with ankle weights added, you can cause muscle confusion which will spike those benefits again.

Not only are they a great switch but they’re also extremely versatile. They can be used in multiple positions such as standing, sitting, squatting, lying and kneeling. Check out these exercises below for a boost toward your leg toning goals.

Stair Laps

The name says it all. Strap on the weights and begin stepping. They may not seem too intense at first, but believe me, you’ll be feeling the burn in those quads after a couple more. Make sure to do quick steps on the way up, but on the way down slow it down a bit so you can concentrate on balance by not holding onto the rails. If the staircase is about 20 steps long, I suggest five down-and-backs before resting to really get that heart rate up.

Step Ups

Pick anything you have around such as a bench or short stool. One foot at a time with the ankle weights in tact, begin stepping onto your elevated surface. If you step up with the right leg first, be sure to step down with the right leg first as well. Perform 10 times on each leg before resting.

Knee Tuck Jumps

Begin standing feet together with your arms raised straight above your head. The goal here is to jump as high in the air as you can while tucking your knees into your chest. While you do this you will also bring your arms down and wrap them around your legs as they arrive at your chest. In midair you should look like you’re doing a cannonball into a pool. Perform three sets of 10 tuck jumps.

Fire Hydrant

Here you will start on your hands and knees like you’re a dog. One leg at a time, raise the knee in an outwards direction so that your two legs are making a 90 degree angle with one another. The inside of your foot should be parallel with the ground. The name is your visual image. You should look like a dog who’s lifting its leg over a fire hydrant. Perform three sets of 10 on each leg.

Donkey Kick

Here you will also start on your hands and knees like a dog for this exercise. Instead of raising your leg in an outwards direction, like you did with the fire hydrant, you should kick that foot upwards and backwards at the same time for a donkey kick. Do 10 consistent reps on one leg before switching to the other side. You should end with three sets on each leg.

Flutter Kick

Here’s an added bonus. Not only does this one work your quads, but it’s also going to help hit those hard-to-reach lower abs. Lay flat on your back with your legs straight. Gently raise your legs about three to six inches off the ground and begin slightly fluttering them up and down in an alternating fashion. This one should be for time rather than reps. Beginners should shoot for 15 seconds without dropping the legs, and more advanced can shoot for 30-45 seconds. Perform three sets.

Also Read:

Free Weights vs. Machine Weights

Saturday Morning Drill: Bikini Body Blast

Toned Legs: Olympic Style

image via skinnymom.com

March 2nd, 2013

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