Step away from the squat rack and build strong, pow­er­ful legs with these 5 out-of-the-box bodyweight moves.

Muscle & Performance - - For Women - BY LARA MCGLASHAN, MFA, CPT

Hav­ing sleek, toned legs is on ev­ery girl’s bucket list, but you don’t need a gym to get there — not with bodyweight moves like these five unique ex­er­cises. They hit mul­ti­ple mus­cle groups at once and are chal­leng­ing enough to build mus­cle while also burn­ing fat and im­prov­ing en­durance. Throw a few of these move­ments into your usual leg rou­tine to give your mus­cles the shock treat­ment, or take the sam­ple work­out for a spin in the park. Ei­ther way you’ll shake things up enough to elicit a meta­bolic re­sponse and whip those stems into primo shape in no time.

Re­verse Lunge Shrimp Squat

SETUP: Stand with your feet to­gether and ex­tend your arms in front of you at shoul­der height. AC­TION: Take a step back with one foot and lunge down un­til your back knee gen­tly rests on the floor. Lift your rear foot off the ground, bring­ing your heel to­ward your glutes, then shift your bodyweight for­ward slightly and stand up us­ing only your front leg. Do all reps on one side be­fore switch­ing.

Spi­der Squat Jump

SETUP: Stand with your feet shoul­der­width apart, arms at your sides. Squat down and touch the ground be­tween your feet with one hand, reach­ing the other up and back be­hind you. AC­TION: Ex­plode up out of the squat, leap­ing into the air and turn­ing 180 de­grees to face the op­po­site di­rec­tion. Land softly and im­me­di­ately squat down and touch your op­po­site hand to the ground be­tween your feet. Con­tinue, al­ter­nat­ing sides.

Sweep-the-floor Crossover Lunge

SETUP: Stand with your feet to­gether, arms in front of you in a ready po­si­tion for bal­ance. Ex­tend one leg in front of you so it’s straight. AC­TION: Sweep the trav­el­ing leg around in a large cir­cle from front to back, keep­ing it a few inches above the ground. Bring it all the way be­hind then across on the di­ag­o­nal while keep­ing your hips square. Place your foot down then bend both knees in a curtsy lunge. Stand up and sweep the leg back around to the front and across on the for­ward di­ag­o­nal, and lunge again. Do all reps on one side be­fore switch­ing.

Kneel­ing Cos­sack Jump

SETUP: Kneel on the floor with your knees un­der your hips, arms at your sides. AC­TION: Swing your arms back, then quickly swing them for­ward and pop up off your knees, bring­ing your feet un­der­neath you. Land in a deep squat and stand up com­pletely, then kneel back down and re­peat.

Ad­duc­tor Bench Plank

SETUP: Lie on your side on the ground per­pen­dic­u­lar to a flat bench and place one el­bow on a mat or pad un­der­neath your shoul­der. Po­si­tion your top leg on the bench as if in a side plank and lift your hips to align with your shoul­der and an­kle. Brace your core. AC­TION: Ei­ther with your bot­tom knee bent (eas­ier) or leg straight (harder), lift that leg un­der­neath the bench as high as you can and hold for 10 sec­onds. Lower and re­lax for a mo­ment then re­peat. Do all reps on one side be­fore switch­ing. n

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