How to… get your legs ready for summer shorts

How to… get your legs ready for summer shorts

12:50 AM on 23rd May 2011

Ultra-short shorts are all the rage for summer. London-based personal trainer SAMANTHA ALESE reveals how, by regularly doing these exercises — two or three sets of ten repetitions — you can tone up your legs without going to the gym.

Perfect pins: You can get them this summer without going to the gym

Perfect pins: You can get them this summer without going to the gym

Warm up with a gentle ten-minute jog or cycle. Then mobilise your trunk for about five minutes.

Roll your shoulders forwards and back, twist your trunk from the waist, hold on to the back of a chair and swing each leg back and forth without locking the knee, then rotate your ankles.

TheGood Morning exercise targets your bottom. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, keeping the knees soft. With your weight on your heels and a flat back, bend your knees, breathe in and send your hips back behind you.

Hold for a couple of seconds before you squeeze your buttocks and raise yourself upright. Breathe out.

A broom handle across the top of your shoulders will help to keep your spine aligned. Repeat between eight and 12 times.

Squatshurt, but they work. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and squat down, ensuring your hips stay above the line of your knees. Hold for a second before rising up then squatting again. Make sure the hips never go lower than your knees or you risk damaging your lower back.

Takea wide stance and place a Swiss ball on the floor between your feet. Keeping the heels in place, turn your toes outwards to a 45-degree angle. Keeping the weight in your heels, squat as if you are about to sit on the ball and raise your arms out straight to shoulder height.

When you get to a 90-degree angle, rise up, inhale and drop the arms, squeezing the muscles behind the back of the knee and in the glutes.

Lay flat on your back on the floor with your hands palm down. Stretch out your legs and place the back of your calves on top of the Swiss ball. Apply pressure to the arms and ankles to enable you to raise your pelvis off the floor, creating a bridge. Keep your shoulders on the ground and relax your neck. Gradually and gently bring the knees towards your chest.

Tone up: Do a ten minute jog or cycle before starting the exercises

Tone up: Do a ten minute jog or cycle before starting the exercises

The secret to a shapely leg is a well-defined calf. Hold on to the back of a chair or face a wall. Take one leg off the floor and hook the top of the foot behind the other ankle so you are balancing on one leg. Breathing in, slowly rise up on to the ball of your foot and then gently lower, breathing out. Repeat on the other leg.

This is great for the quads and inner thighs. Kneel on the floor and place the Swiss ball to one side of you. Take the leg on the side farthest from the Swiss ball and stretch it out to the side, ensuring the foot is flexed, the toes are facing forward and you are resting on the other knee.

Lean over to the side and rest your elbow on the Swiss ball, bracing your stomach muscles. Next, lift your outstretched leg from the floor and, keeping the foot flexed, pulse the leg up and down. Change sides after 15 repetitions.

This isometric buttock contraction shows what a difference small movements can make. Stand with your heels hip width apart and your toes turned slightly outwards. Place your hands on your waist. Squeeze your bottom muscles as hard as you can for a count of five and release.

Ensuring your knee is directly in line with your ankle, step forward with one leg in a lunge position. The other leg must remain facing forward and strong, with both knees at 90 degrees. Immediately after you’ve made the movement, spring back to your original standing position and repeat. Repeat on the other side.

To engage your core and reduce strain on your back muscles, place your hands on your waist and press your toes into the floor for balance. Keeping your eyes fixed forward will help keep you balanced.

Samantha Alese: [email protected]