It all started with Angelina Jolie’s infamous thigh-baring 2012 Oscar gown (and the memes that followed). Now high-slit skirts and dresses have flooded the market and we’re all about showing off some leg (sorry crop tops, your moment is up).
Related: The Four Week Workout to Crop Top Worthy Abs
Luckily, there’s still a little time before we have to start getting dolled up for all those holiday parties. So we reached out to Lisa Wheeler, senior creative manager of group fitness at Equinox, to create a program that will get our gams in top shape in just one month.
Related: The Four Week Workout to Tank Top Worthy Arms
Watch your new workout below (no dumbbells or equipment required!) and learn nutrition and cardio tips to help you burn even more calories as you tone. For the best results, alternate your two weekly exercises for three sets, three times a week.
Exercise #1: Roll and Lift
Begin on your right side with your right leg extended and your left leg bent in front of you. Keep your hips stacked, your spine neutral, and your neck relaxed with your head down on your right arm. Rotate your right leg at the hip so your toes point up to the ceiling. Next, keep your leg straight and lift it off the ground as high as possible. Hold for a beat then release back down to the floor and rotate your leg back out. Perform 12 reps and repeat on the other side.
Exercise #2: Plank Side Leg Lift
Begin on your right side with your shoulder directly over your elbow and both legs straight, hips stacked. Lift the top leg up until it is parallel with the floor. Keeping the left leg in position, lift your hips off the ground into a full elbow side plank. Hold, and then release your hips to the floor before lowering your left leg to the starting position. Perform 12 reps and repeat on the other side.
Nutrition Tip: Take time to go through your kitchen and throw out any processed or “trigger” foods. Restock your kitchen with healthy essentials like fresh produce, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and seasonal fruits. Try to plan your meals at the beginning of the week and you’ll be more likely stick to eating healthy.
Related: Your Four Week Guide to Getting the Best Beach Booty
Cardio Tip: To really start burning calories and fat add one minute of jumping jacks or squat jacks after each exercise for a four-exercise circuit. These are great cardio moves that will help tone your calves and legs even more.
Exercise #1: Tip Toe Chair Squat
Begin standing with a chair to your left resting your left hand on it for balance. Bring your legs together and squeeze your inner thighs (if this causes any knee pain, place a rolled up towel between your knees). Rise up on the balls of your feet with your heels off the ground. Keep your spine neutral and your chest lifted. Slowly begin to bend your knees and send your hips back as if you were sitting in a chair. Reach your right arm overhead. Aim for your thighs to be parallel to the ground and then return to standing. Perform 10 reps on each side.
Exercise #2: Lunge Extension Hinge
Begin standing with a chair to your left resting your left hand on it for balance. Step back into a lunge, aiming for a 90-degree bend in both knees. Press into your front foot, straighten your left leg, and bring your right knee up towards your chest. Then, extend your right leg, keeping your spine long and your chest lifted. Finally, sweep the right leg back, hinging at the hips until your right leg and torso are parallel to the floor. Return to standing and repeat. Perform 12 reps then repeat on the other side.
Nutrition Tip:It’s just as easy to get dehydrated in colder weather as it is when it is hot. It’s important to always get your fluids, and it doesn’t have to be just by drinking water. Eating things like soup and oatmeal work, too. Aim to drink half your body weight in ounces and stay away from flavored waters or tonics that have added sugars or sodium.
Cardio Tip: Add dance, barefoot cardio, or a cardio barre style class to your routine. Some of these classes, like Equinox Rhythm + Barre and Deep Extreme, add some light plyometrics, which target the legs and burn the fat, and you will have a blast while doing them.
Exercise #1: Plié Lunge Combo
Begin standing with your feet wide apart, rotated out from the hips, with arms by your side. Keeping your chest lifted, bend your knees, and reach your arms out and up. Stay low in a plié and turn your right leg inward to lunge toward your left side, folding your arms inward. Open the right hip and return to the plié position before standing. Repeat on the left side. Perform 12 reps on each side.
Exercise #2: Cossack Squat
Begin standing with your feet wide apart, your arms extended out in front of your chest, and your hands clasped. Bend your right knee, send your hips back, and reach your arms forward to counterbalance. Keep your chest up to avoid pitching too far forward. Keeping your left leg straight and turned out, lower down as deep as possible. Press back up to standing and repeat on the other side. Right and left equal one rep. Perform 12 reps.
Nutrition Tip: If you haven’t already, start removing processed sugars from you diet. Instead of eating that extra sugar, put it to good use in a DIY body scrub. Mix together a cup of sugar, coconut or olive oil, and lemon juice to create an exfoliating mixture that will leave your gams glowing.
Cardio Tip: Sign up for a charity run. Having a deadline and a higher purpose will keep you on track with your personal goals.
Exercise #1: Bulgarian Split Squat
Begin standing on your right leg with your left foot behind you resting in the center of a sturdy chair. Keep your hands on your hips, with your abs engaged, and your shoulders rolled back. Bend your right knee and lower down into a split squat allowing your torso to tilt slightly forward. Press into your front foot and return to standing. Perform 12 reps and repeat on the other side.
Exercise #2: Side Lunge to Curtsey
Begin standing with your feet under your hips and your arms overhead. Step out to the left and bend your left knee keeping the right leg straight. At the same time, reach the right arm to the left foot and reach the left arm behind you. Press into the left foot and return to standing position, swinging your arms overhead. Next, step your left leg back and cross behind the right knee reaching your left hand to the floor and your right arm behind you. Return to standing. Perform 12 reps and repeat on the other side.
Nutrition Tip: Relax! Studies show many people make bad food choices and overeat when they are stressed out.
Cardio Tip: Jump your way to beautiful legs. Jumping rope for 10 minutes is about the equivalent of running at a moderate pace for 30 minutes.