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Couch Pilates: Work your legs and glutes while you watch TV

Stephanie Mansour shows you how to step it up while lying down.
/ Source: TODAY

Have you been binge-watching TV shows, or are you taking a break and channel surfing from the couch? Either way, you’re in a perfect spot for exercising your leg and gluteal muscles.

As a Pilates instructor, the couch is one of my favorite places to do a leg and glute workout. Why get up and move to a Pilates mat when you have the comfort of your couch — and pillows — to help prop up your body and head?

This series works the sides of the legs, the quads and the glutes. It takes less than five minutes to work both the right and left sides of the body, so don’t give up. Just get started.

Starting position

Lie on the couch on your right side in a straight line with your legs straightened. Prop your head up with a pillow or your hand, or by pressing your forearm onto the couch with your shoulder at a 90-degree angle. Pull your navel in toward your spine. Keeping your legs together, lift them up to bring them forward. Set them down. Your legs will now be at a 45-degree angle — your feet will be at the front corner of the couch cushion and your hips will be closer to the back of it. Perform the below exercises from this position.

Lift and lower

Lift your left leg up toward the ceiling and point your toes. Then flex your foot and lead with your heel as you lower the leg back down. This works the quad and the gluteus medius. Repeat 10 times.

Leg circles

Lift your left leg about 1 foot above your right leg. Rotate it forward into forward circles 10 times. Then reverse the circles to rotate the leg backwards in circles 10 times.


Holding your left leg about 1 foot above the right, point the left leg forward and bend your knee in toward your chest. Once the knee is bent, press back through the heel to extend the leg behind you toward the back cushions of the couch. With the leg now straight, swing it around toward the front of the couch until it’s out in front of you again. Bend the knee into the chest, and repeat 10 times. Then reverse it.

To reverse the movement, bend your knee in toward your chest. Then extend your leg forward to the front of the couch. With your leg now straight out in front of you, swing it around toward the back of the couch, and then bend the knee in toward the chest. Repeat 10 times.

The motion is like pedaling a bike, except you’re lying on your side and pedaling through the air. First you pedal forward, and then you reverse the pedaling to pedal backward.

After completing the series, get up and switch to the other side. Make sure to rest the leg that’s moving before going onto the next side. You can loosen up the muscles of the glutes and upper thigh by gently pounding on your upper leg with your fist.

More easy exercise routines