18 exercises to tone your legs, butt and thighs

Exercises that tighten and tone your legs from butt to ankles and everything in between.
Health.com // Health.com

Want mini-skirt worthy legs? These moves will get you there in no time at all. Pick a few moves, or try them all to sculpt your butt, hamstrings, quads, thighs, and calves.

--By Rebecca Toback, Health.com

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Warrior III

This yoga move can tone your legs, and core too.

How to do it: Stand with the feet together, and lift up the left leg with a pointed toe, putting your body weight onto the standing, right leg. Continue to lift your leg and drop the head and torso so they form a straight horizontal line from head to toe with the arms at your sides. Engage your core and make sure the left thigh, hip, and toes are aligned. Remain facing down and keep your back as straight as possible. Ensure your right knee doesn't lock and center the weight on the middle of the foot. Hold for 5 breaths and then slowly return to standing.

Switch legs and repeat.

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Chair Squat

This is a perfect move for beginners, and we're betting you're sitting on the only equipment you need as you read this. Hint: If you have a chair (and your glutes), you're good to go.

How to do it: Begin standing with your back to a chair, feet hip-width apart. While keeping your weight centered on your heels, draw in your abs and hinge forward at the hips slowly lowering your butt toward the chair. Pause right before you would sit down and return to standing while keeping the core engaged.

Do 3 sets of 10-15 reps.

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Pivoting Curtsy Lunge

How to do it: Standing with feet hip-width apart, step your right foot diagonally behind you and into a 7 o'clock position. Bend both knees so you're in a lunge stance. Lean your torso forward 30 degrees and pulse up and town 10-15 times. Straighten the body and pivot 180 degrees so your right foot comes to the front. Again, lower into a lunge.

Pulse up and down 10-15 times on each side to complete one set; do 3 sets.

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Low Lunge Hover

This standing move works both the legs and butt.

How to do it: Stand with feet hip-width apart before stepping your right foot back, and lowering into lunge stance with the left knee over the ankle. Bring your arms over your head and hinge forward from the waist. Lower the chest forward toward the thighs as your arms reach forward. Lift the right leg while straightening the left. Hold for 3 breaths before returning to the starting lunge position.

Do 3 reps; switch legs and repeat.

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Skater Lunge

This move works the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

How to do it Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and the arms at your sides. Take a large step backwards with your left leg and cross it diagonally behind the right leg. Meanwhile, extend your right arm out to the side and swing the left arm across the hips. Hop about 2 feet to the left and come back to the beginning stance.

Repeat with the other leg; that's one set. Do 3 sets of 20 reps.

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The Lean

This move works the inner thighs and begins with the same stance as the skater's lunge.

How to do it: Begin with feet shoulder-width apart and the arms down at your sides. Take a step diagonally back with the right foot. Then, bend sideways from the waist toward the side where your right leg is stretched out, and reach your right arm up and left arm down and back toward your right calf. Return arms to starting position to complete 1 rep.

Do 10 reps, then switch sides and repeat.

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Leg Lift

This move targets the quads.

How to do it: While you stand facing a chair, raise your right leg, knee facing up, foot flexed and place your heel on the seat. Make sure not to lock your standing knee as you lift your right foot off the chair and straighten it out until you feel your quadriceps engage. Keeping your lifted leg in the air, bend the leg on the floor slightly and then straighten it again.

Do 10-15 reps, then switch sides and repeat for 1 full set; do 3 sets.

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How-to video: Standing Glute Toner

Want a leg-lift exercise to work your glutes? Of course you do. Watch this video to find out how to do it right.

Watch the video: Standing Glute Toner Video 

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Two-Thirds Jump Squat

Ready to work your quads and hamstrings? This move will really do the trick.

How to do it: Begin by standing with feet shoulder-width apart, arms at the sides. Lower the body into a squat, going two-thirds of the way down. Immediately jump straight up with your arms pointed up toward the ceiling. When you land, go right back into the next rep.

Do 3 sets of 20 reps each.

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