Monday, November 24, 2003

Exercises tone and sculpt shapely legs


This week's moves

By Paula Rath
The Honolulu Advertiser

You'll be much happier with how your legs look in that cute miniskirt if you work on toning them first.

While physicians and fitness folks emphasize that there's no such thing as spot reducing, spot toning is possible. Eric Okamura, owner of Fit for Life in Honolulu, who is also a certified personal trainer and massage therapist, offers some exercises that will help achieve shapely legs.

He says it's neither necessary nor desirable to exercise obsessively - or excessively. Rest between each set for 45 seconds to one minute. For each exercise, start with one set of 15 and build up to three to four sets of 20.

Squats

Works the entire lower body. Place a bar on your shoulders. (If you don't have a bar, or broomstick, simply hold your arms in front of you at shoulder height.) Place legs shoulder-width apart, with weight evenly balanced on both legs and at the center of the foot. Keep your abdominal muscles tight by pressing your belly button toward your spine. Lower your body until the top of your thigh is parallel to the floor. Be sure to keep your knees above your toes and not in front of them. Stand up and tighten the butt and thigh muscles. Breathe in going down and out going up.

Reverse lunges

Good for overall lower body workout: glutes, thighs, lower back, hamstrings and abs. Keeping your abs tight, lunge backward until the top of your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your knee above your toes, not in front of them. Weight should be on the center of the foot of your front leg. Keep as little weight as possible on your back foot. From the front view, the spine is perpendicular to the floor. Stand up using the front leg only (no pushing off the back leg). Tighten the butt and thigh muscles of the front leg. Breathe in going down and breathe out going up.

Heel raises

Good for shaping calves. Place feet directly under your hips. Raise up on your toes and hold the pose for one second, keeping your weight on your big toes. Exhale on the way up and inhale on the way down.




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