Health & Wellness

How to tone your legs: 5 exercises that bring the burn

Whether you’re outside or stuck at home, you can get a great workout by incorporating stairs into your routine. Using these exercises on a set of stairs will help tone and strengthen your legs and glutes.

These can be challenging moves, so if you feel they're a bit more intense than what you're used to, try subbing in an alternative exercise. For example, if the sumo squat jumps seem impossible, try doing a regular sumo squat.

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1. Warm up: Run up and down stairs

Chrysten Crockett
5-exercise stair workout: Run the stairs

To begin the workout, run quickly up and down the stairs several times (aim for three to five minutes). The goal here is to get your heart rate up, which will give you a better fat burn as you move throughout the rest of the exercises. Once you start to feel your heart rate elevate, move on to the first leg and glute exercise.

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Partner workout: 3 challenging exercises to do with a friend

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Partner workout: 3 challenging exercises to do with a friend

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2. Sumo squat jumps

Chrysten Crockett
5-exercise stair workout: Sumo squat jumps

Facing the stairs, you’re going to squat down as low as you can (in a sumo squat position), keeping your feet turned out and slightly outside of your hips. This will fire up your hamstrings. Then, jump up to the next step and land in the same position. Challenge yourself by going up as many steps as you can. If you're using just one step, you can continue to hop on and off the same step. Perform 20 repetitions before moving onto the next exercise.

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3. Jumping jack squat

Chrysten Crockett
5-exercise stair workout: Jumping jack squat

Next, you're going to add your arms to the equation. This move may be a little tricky to get down, but once you get the hang of it, it will seem easy. Do this exercise while you're going down the stairs, land in a squat while hopping down, then come up in a jumping jack motion. Take your time and focus on proper form in your squat. Perform 20 repetitions before moving on to the next exercise.

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4. Side hop

Chrysten Crockett
5-exercise stair workout: 04 - Side Hop

After you’ve completed the jack squats, you're going to side hop up the steps. With both feet together, use your arms to help you to the next step. Be sure to stabilize yourself before moving to the next step to prevent injury. Perform 20 repetitions on each side before moving onto the next exercise.

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3 exercises you can do with a chair

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3 exercises you can do with a chair

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5. Sumo squat and close-leg squat

Chrysten Crockett
5-exercise stair workout: 05 Sumo squat and close-leg squat combo

Finally to finish off the workout, you are going to combine two different squat variations. As you jump from step to step, alternate between the sumo squat you performed in the beginning and a close-leg squat. This combination is really going to engage the glutes, quads, calves and hamstrings to top the workout off with a great burn. Perform 20 repetitions.

For a longer workout, repeat this circuit of exercises back-to-back with short rests in between for three rounds. You'll feel the burn! For more diet and fitness advice, sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter.

For more workouts from Chrysten, check out her website and Instagram.

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