Summer Goals: Your Best 5-Minute Legs Moves with Vegan Fitness Guru Caroline Deisler
If strong, toned, lean legs are one of your summer goals, as you bike to town in shorts, run into the surf in your swimsuit, head out to dinner in a sundress, or because you want to run faster, have better balance or be able to crush your morning workout, this is the best 5 minutes you can invest.
The best way to achieve toned leg muscles is by targeting your larger muscles first, such as your glutes, hamstrings, and hip flexors that lift your legs, then work your smaller muscles after those are fatigued, including your calves and your lower leg stabilizers. This way you'll end up working all your muscles to their fullest and not let the larger ones take on the work of the smaller ones. Remember, it's often the littlest weak spot that leads to your next injury.
A plant-based diet can help you achieve your body goals, but moving is the other piece
The Beet is here to help achieve your strongest, most toned body with these quick, effective five-minute exercises demonstrated by Caroline Deisler, the vegan fitness guru who made this video exclusively for you. Check out her Best 5-Minute Ab Moves, and her Best 5-Minute Butt Moves when you want a total body workout.
We assume since you're trying to eat healthy by following a mostly plant-based diet that you are also striving for overall fitness and wellbeing. Each of these moves will get you closer to your goals, whether that's to get the summer-tone muscles, increase your running pace, or simply because you want stronger legs for better balance, mobility, and overall health.
These workout moves are simple and don't require any exercise equipment. So, queue up your playlist and follow along to this tough 5-minute video anywhere: Outside on your lawn, in your living room, or at your desk. After your workout, you will feel accomplished with a slight burn in your leg muscles, which is a sign you worked them hard enough to tone up fast.
Strong legs are extremely important for your overall health.
Strong leg muscles help maintain your balance, extremely important as you age, plus key for good posture and core strength (and avoiding an achy back). Everyone, especially athletes, needs to make sure they exercise their legs several times a week, since having stronger legs propels you through your activities, whether you plan to take a walk, ride a bike, or surf. Plan to stretch after doing your leg moves, so you don't tighten up the muscled you just worked or risk getting cramps.
Here are your best five-minute moves:
The 1st move: Sumo Squat with Pulse. Standing on a mat or rug, get into a squat position and place your feet out further than your hips, what's called a Sumo squat, so your knees point out to the side. Then, squat your butt down and ground your heels into the mat, holding the deepest part of the squat for 30 seconds. Then stay in the position and pulse up and down in small movements for another 30 seconds. This move will strengthen your hamstrings and glutes. Complete the entire move for one minute, then stand up.
The 2nd move: Low Sways Side to Side. In the same sumo squat position, cross your arms in front of you, one on top of the other. Sway side to side, with your leg bending to the side you're leaning into, and straightening the other leg for 30 seconds. Once the 30 seconds is up, in the same position with your legs wide and arms crossed in from of you, lift up your heels so your toes are the only part of your foot touching the mat, then place your foot down. Lift each heel individually and repeat for 30 seconds. This move will help strengthen your calves. Complete the entire move for one minute. Then stand to rest for 30 seconds.
The 3rd move: Arm Reach in a Sumo Squat. In the same squatting position, raise your hands in the air and move your body side to side alternating each arm to reach the sky. This move helps strengthen your core, hip flexors and hamstrings. Do this move for 30 seconds. Stand to rest for 30 seconds.
The 4th move: Jumping Squats. Standing on the mat, get into a squat position, your legs should align with your shoulders. Use your heels to jump upwards in a fluid motion from quat to jump, without a pause, and repeat this move for one minute. Rest for 30 seconds.
The 5th move Side Squats and Leg Raises: In a squat position, move your body to one side and squat lower. Alternate each side so you will perform quick movements. This exercise targets the inner thigh and strengthens the glutes--giving you long and lean summer legs. Do this move for one minute. Then, add a 30-second raise to each leg. Move your body into a standing position from the squat. Lift one leg into the air and at your side. Your leg will make a right angle with your torso. Move your leg upwards into the sky and back down to the group. Alternate each side so you tone both muscles. Do this move for a total of one minute.
After the workout, make time to stretch. Stretching is extremely important after leg exercises since you build up lactic acid and this can help you to recover faster. It also can prevent a pulled hamstring or quad and will allow you to feel fewer aches and pains the next day. Try practicing simple yoga moves like downward dog, child's pose, "soccer" stretch of your quad with foot pulled into your butt and knee flat on the floor, and simply touch your toes to stretch out your hamstrings. Hydrate! Drink enough water so you can flush out your cells and give your body the energy it needs to get through the day. For the amount of water to drink, see this story. Stay tuned for another five-minute workout from Caroline Delsier targeting different muscles next week.