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ELLE

Get the look: Legging it

Elle

Ken Fitzgerald, The owner of LIFTGYM in Manhattan. has some harsh words for the leg-obsessed: “The long, lean, exercise-induced leg doesn’t exist,” He says. with the weary sigh of someone who has had to explain this before to a very rich, very stocky client. “It’s genetic.” But, before you hang up your sweat pants for good, be sure to check out Ken’s picks for the most-effective-at-home exercises for toning, shaping, and maximizing your God-given assets.

“Whether it’s at home or in my gym, I would suggest that anyone interested in whipping their legs into shape start with the basics,” says Fitzgerald. How basic? We’re talking gym class flashback (but hey, remember the cute legs you had then?) Lunges, both forward and reverse, are still the gold standard of leg exercises, working almost all of your muscle groups (a reverse lunge, just like it sounds, entails taking a step backwards rather than forwards; the difference being an increased focus on balance and your glutes, as well as a minimization of stress on your knee joint).

The unglamorous – yet highly effective – bum firming squat is also at the top of Fitzgerald’s list, as is the slightly more sexy “pelvic bridge,” which consists of lying on your back with feet flat and knees up, and slowly drawing your hips up until they are parallel to your knees and then lowering down.

Fitzgerald suggests that all the above exercises be performed in two to three sets of fifteen for optimum effects, as should the following stair-dependant calf-raise: “stand backwards towards the front of a stair ledge, raise up on your toes like a ballerina and then lower down slowly until your heel has dipped below the ledge.” The best part of these stripped-down home exercises? They use only your body weight as resistance, so the results will be shapely, not bulky.

See, there ARE benefits to letting your gym membership lapse.

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