Published May 03, 2012
NEW YORK – Stomachs have crunches and butts have squats, but what do legs have?
Legs are one of the trickiest body parts to perfect. Sure we admire David Beckham’s perfect calves when they’re on a sky high billboard in Times Square and Charlize Theron’s girlish gams when they peak through a sexy dress on the red carpet, but most of us regular folk have no idea how to actually get legs like the ones we covet.
This is one body part where men and women need to do completely different things. The goal for men is to build muscle and sculpt, whereas women are interested in a long and lean look like Charlize, without a lot of bulk.
Barry Jay, founder of Barry’s Bootcamp, kicks celebrity butts (and arms and legs and bellies) into serious shape. He has worked as the trainer for stars like Katie Holmes, Stacy Keibler, Eliza Dushku and Juliette Lewis. Barry’s personal training sessions can be pretty pricey, but he gave Fox411.com an inside look at how he helps his stars keep their legs looking so darned good—for free.
For the guys, Jay suggests three exercises, dead lifts to build muscle, squats to sculpt and jump rope to tone and shed that extra fat.
Stand with your feet parallel, a little wider than your hips. make sure your knees don't go past your toes when you squat down. Look straight ahead not down. Keep your back straight and abs tight. Put the body weight in your heels. You should be able to wiggle your toes and add a good old-fashioned squeeze of the butt at the top for extra firmness.
Remember you're not bowing and that means your chest shouldn't be lower than your butt. Have a problem keeping your chest up? Hold a broom horizontally in front of you with two hands. You chest will be up and your back will remain straight. Once your posture is set, men should do four sets of squats, 10 repetitions with 20 lb. weights.
Jumping is great cardio and does wonders for calves. Start off with 3 min. in between your weight training exercises to boost your heart rate.
Align your feet with your hips and slowly bend at the waist. Keep arms straight with one dumb bell in each hand. Go down as far as you can without arching your back. Slowly come up back, pulling your abs in and squeezing your butt at the top. Engage your hamstrings on the way up. Do four sets of ten to 15 repetitions.
Ladies looking for a longer and leaner leg without all that muscle should try exercises on all fours with no weights. Barry recommends three moves: kickback, fire hydrant and lunges.
Do one hundred kick backs each side for the upper thighs. While on your hands and knees bring knee to chest and extend it fully back in line with your spine.
Put your legs shoulder width apart. Keep your back straight and your head aligned in a neutral position. Lift the bent knee up to the side of the body (like a dog does with a fire hydrant). Squeeze your butt at the top. Do 15 with a 15 second hold on each side.
Try one minute lunges with no weights. Lunge long and low, not letting the front toes go beyond the front knee. Let the back knee bend towards the floor. Don't lean or arch. Keep a good straight spine and use your core for balance. Do four minutes for each leg.