Shake a Leg

How much time do you devote to your legs? Probably more than you think. Whether you’re walking, strolling, climbing stairs, or merely tidying the house, those muscles are always working in some way. If you want to give those gams some extra attention, we’ve got a fun toning routine on the stability ball.

For this workout, do three sets of 12 to 15 repetitions of two wall slide exercises, swapping between the two traditional ones and the variations on them (note that the wall slide 21s have a different number of reps), then do three sets of 12 to 15 reps of the bridge and hamstring curl.

Wall slides
This exercise works practically everything below your waist. Depending on the position of your feet, you can shift the emphasis to your glutes, quadriceps and hamstrings or to your inner and outer thighs (adductors and abductors, respectively).

Basic wall slide: With your back facing a wall, place the stability ball on the wall at the same height as the belt loops on your pants, or just above your butt. Your spine, including your lower vertebrae, should be pressed up against the ball, but don't lean back on it. Walk your feet out in front of you about a foot so that your toes are visible. With your feet hip-width apart and your back straight, slowly sit down as if sitting in a chair, bringing your thighs parallel to the floor but no lower. Make sure your knees do not shoot out beyond your toes. (If they do, walk your feet out a little farther in front of you.) Pause at the bottom of the movement and then slowly straighten your legs. To make this exercise more challenging, hold 10-, 12- or 15-pound dumbbells by your sides as you perform the wall slides.

Plie wall slides: Place your feet a little wider apart than hip width. Turn your toes out to 45 degrees and perform the wall slide, making sure your knees are in line with your toes. To add resistance, hold dumbbells by your sides.

Wall slide 21s: For this variation on the basic wall slide, hold dumbbells by your sides, slide down the ball so your thighs are parallel to the floor, but rise only halfway up for seven repetitions. Next, come all the way up and go only halfway down for seven repetitions. Finally, do seven repetitions using the full range of motion.

Glute wall slide: Bring your feet and knees together as you perform the basic wall slide. You'll feel this exercise more intensely in your glutes. Hold dumbbells for more of a challenge.

Bridge and hamstring curl
This exercise works your core muscles, hamstrings, glutes and calves.

Lie on the floor and place your heels on top of the ball. Your legs should be straight. Your arms should be out to the sides at shoulder height with palms facing the ceiling. From this position, lift your hips off the floor so that your body forms one unbroken diagonal line from feet to shoulders. Bend your knees and bring your feet and the ball toward your butt. Don't let your hips drop. Straighten your legs again, and then when they're fully extended, let your hips drop back down to the floor in a smooth and controlled motion.

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