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Classic Thigh Calisthenics and Mat Leg-Lifts from the Pilates Method

Want healthier, firmer legs? Try this series of classic thigh calisthenics and mat leg-lifts. These exercises are from the Pilates method and require no equipment whatsoever.

For a while, these retro thigh conditioning exercises fell out of style – and that’s a shame because they work.

This pilates mat series improves joint mobility and helps to give you stronger, well-shaped legs and a firmer, rounder booty. It’s effective for men or women and can be easily modified to match any age or unique circumstance.

Of course, squats, lunges, and deadlifts will continue to be the foundation of your lower body training.

However, in resistance training, there is a fundamental principle, and that is the principle of exercise variation.

That means that changing variables can impose a unique stimulus for adaption and growth, such as:

  • range of motion
  • the number of sets
  • equipment

Since variation is essential, doing these isolation moves now and then will train your leg and core muscles differently, and – because it’s new and different – your body will respond with visible, positive results.

Besides, doing back squats every leg workout gets boring after a while.

strong woman doing thigh leg lifts of the pilates method

Thigh calisthenic tips:

  • Do 20 repetitions (on each thigh), per exercise.
  • It’s all about form and breathing. Keep your body long, your belly button pulled in tightly, and your glues activated.
  • When your legs are supposed to be straight, ensure they’re straight (but without hyperextending the kneecaps).
  • Don’t flop your thigh like a wet noodle; keep it taut. Imagine laser beams of energy shooting out your toes – like your thigh should be registered as a lethal weapon!

This video showing examples of Pilates leg exercises on the mat (no equipment needed) has a running time of 54 seconds:

Another advantage to this workout is that you can do it absolutely anywhere – outdoors, indoors, or even in a hotel room while traveling.

For purposes of warming up and avoiding injury, start out gently with the movements. You can always increase the range of motion and speed as your body temperature rises and you begin to feel more limber.

Additional Sources for Thigh Conditioning:

Variety in Strength Training Is Essential – https://projectsports.nl/en/is-variation-of-movement-important-in-strength-training/

Warm-Up Proven to Reduce Injury – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16679062/

Stronger People Live Longer – https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2022/03/05/health-study-live-longer-30-60-minutes-weight-training-weekly/9389339002/