Lower body tone-up tips

Thunder thighs are the headache for any woman during the bikini-wearing season.

But Heinrich Smith and Emile Solomons from N2 Fitness says body squats and lunges are the perfect exercise to tone-up the lower body.

“When exercising, muscles that are most neglected are hamstrings, abductors and adductors. Squats and lunges are great as they are compound exercises (working more than one joint in an exercise) and work deep into the quads and glutes,” says Smith.

He adds that if you prefer to avoid doing the adductor and abductor machine, what you could do is “zig-zag walking lunges” instead of static straight lunges and “side squats” instead of normal squats.

How do you do a proper squat?

Solomons says that with a side squat you need to imagine leaning to one side as you go down and then return to the normal squat stance as you stand up.

“Be sure to do the same amount of repetitions on the left and right side. Your weight should also be reduced (about half of your regular squatting weight) as you are using smaller muscles,” says Solomons.

He adds that, in general, using your body’s own range of motion will always be better than using the mechanics of a machine as you are using your body’s biomechanics.

“So instead of using the leg curl machine for hamstrings and calf raise machine for calves, do supine leg curls with stability ball (lying flat on your back and heels on the ball) and calf raises on an aerobic step (to allow your heals to drop lower than your toes),” says Solomons.

Common mistakes when doing lower body exercises:

Squats:

– Allowing your knees to go beyond your toes.

– Not keeping your feet parallel to each other.

Lunges:

– Not making your strides big enough and allowing your front knee to go beyond your toes.

Calf exercises

– Doing calf raises too fast on the calf raise machine, i.e. bouncing up and down instead of doing a controlled steady motion.