Fitness & workouts

Shape your legs with this 4-step ballerina workout

You’re just four moves away from a firmer, stronger lower body.

Reshape your thighs and calves with the simple dance-inspired strength moves below, designed by former professional dancer Lauren Kleban.

“Together these exercises work all the muscles on the front, back, and sides of your thighs, as well as your calves,” says Los Angeles-based Kleban. “That ensures you get a full leg workout. You stimulate the largest muscle groups in your body, which helps increase your metabolic rate before and after your workout.” 

Strong legs also boost your endurance, making everything from a tough spin class to walking up the stairs feel easier. So channel your inner ballerina, and start sculpting!

 

Your lean-leg plan


Warm up with 10 jumping jacks. Next, do the recommended reps of each move in the order below, performing 10 jumping jacks between each exercise. Repeat the entire series.

Try this workout at least twice a week. To increase the intensity, hold a dumbbell on each hip while you do the first three moves. (Skip the weights, or wear ankle weights, for the fourth exercise.)

 

Exercise Reps
First-position demi-plié 25
Jumping jacks 10
Second-position demi-plié 25
Jumping jacks 10
Relevé 10 pulses
Jumping jacks 10
Side lunge to lift 10 per leg

 

1. First-Position Demi-Plié

  • Stand with heels together and toes turned out, hands on hips.
  • Keeping shoulders aligned over hips, squeeze your glutes as you bend knees slightly.
  • Straighten legs to starting position; repeat. Do 25 reps.

 

2. Second-Position Demi-Plié

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out, hands on hips.
  • Keeping shoulders aligned over hips, bend knees until they are over your toes.
  • Lift heels, straighten your legs; then lower heels and repeat. Do 25 reps.

 

3. Relevé

  • Stand with feet shoulder-width apart and toes turned out, hands on hips.
  • Lift heels so you’re standing on the balls of your feet.
  • Keeping heels lifted and shoulders aligned over hips, bend knees until they’re over your toes.
  • Pulse thighs 10 times.

 

4. Side Lunge to Lift

  • Stand with feet parallel and slightly more than shoulder-width apart, hands on hips.
  • Bend right knee, so you’re lunging with right leg. Push off right heel and raise right leg straight out to the side.
  • Place right foot on floor to return to starting position; repeat.
  • Do 10 reps; then repeat on opposite side.

Before starting any new exercise routine, make sure to check in with your GP.