Guest blogger: Bonne Marcus
A fitness industry expert for 27 years, Marcus holds numerous certifications from the Aerobic Fitness Association of America (AFAA), including Step, Spin, Bosu™, Pre/Post Natal, Youth Fitness, Aqua, and Personal Training. She has taught for New York City’s top health clubs, including Crunch, New York Health and Racquet, and Reebok Sports Club. A recognized name on Long Island, Bonne has taught at Dany Holdstein’s Two Worlds, North Shore Health Club, LA Fitness, Sport time, Equinox and currently teaches at the Sid Jacobsen JCC in Roslyn. Learn more at getfitwithbonne.com.
If you’re a bride wearing a form-fitted mermaid or sheath dress that clings to the body, you’ll want to have a great view from the front and back. And let’s not forget about short wedding dresses that show off your legs! Along with cardio, you can tone up those muscles with some of my favorite body-shaping exercises. But first, I’d like to clear up some myths and common misconceptions about exercising your legs and butt.
True or false: Leg and butt exercises will get rid of cellulite, saddlebags, and hip flab.
False! Leg and butt exercises can tone and firm the muscles of your lower body but won’t work magic on their own. To get the best results, you have to combine your leg and butt workout with overall strength training, aerobic exercise, and healthy eating habits.
True of false: Your body shape is purely the result of genetics.
False! Nothing could be further from the truth. Many believe that mothers with large, overweight backsides beget daughters with the same, while mothers with flat, skinny butts will pass the trait onto their daughters. While genetics are a factor in the shape of our glutes, training and diet can offer significant changes for anyone. And while many women shy away from working the legs for fear of bulking, this is the furthest thing from the truth.
Here are a few of my favorite exercises that target the booty, legs, and abdominals.
1. Walking Lunges with Medicine Ball Twist (a.k.a. “The Wedding March” )
Holding a medicine ball, begin the lunge by taking a large step forward with your right foot, keeping your head up and torso erect, shoulders directly over the hips. Lower your hips, and allow your left knee to drop to a point just before it touches the floor. Hold the lunge position, and rotate your upper body to the right, then back to center. Step your left foot in to meet your right, and repeat on the opposite leg. Using long, controlled steps, lunge forward in a walking motion either from one end of the room to other or around the perimeter of the room (15-20 reps per leg).
2. Plié Squat Travel with a Side Bend
Stand with your feet together, your toes and knees turned out comfortably, holding a four-pound medicine ball. Keep your back straight and abs contracted. As you take a big step to the right, bend your knees and lower your hips (think sliding down an imaginary wall) into a squat, and raise the ball above your head. Holding the squat position, lean to the right, then return to center before dragging your left foot to the right. Using controlled steps, travel sideways in a walking motion, either from one end of the room to other or around the perimeter of the room. Then reverse the direction by taking a big step with the left foot (15-20 reps per leg).
3. Gliding Disc Tucks
Get into the plank position with your hands on the floor and your feet on top of a gliding disc (if you don’t have a glider, you can use a paper plate). Bring your knees in toward your chest, then extend your legs back to the starting position. Make sure that you keep your hands directly underneath your shoulders and your core muscles engaged as you extend your legs so that your back does not arch. Repeat 20 times.
4. Medicine Ball Twist
Sit on the ground with your knees bent and your heels about two feet from your butt. Lean slightly back, as pictured, without rounding your spine. Holding a medicine ball, extend your arms straight out in front of you. Hands should be level with the bottom of your ribcage. Pull your navel in, and twist to the left, back to center, and to the right. Aim for 30 repetitions.
Photo Credit: Robert Cincinnati / Model: Maddi-Lyn Alvarez