If this weather has you doing a lot less walking, you may notice your pants fitting a little tighter than you’d appreciate. Luckily fitness guru Akin Akman has come to the rescue with a few at-home DIY leg workouts. Akman is a Senior SoulCycle instructor and IMG model, also known as the founder of Akin’s Army. He’s got a serious “army” of followers and has trained everyone from Karlie Kloss to Tommy Hilfiger – and that also includes playing tennis against Nadal in this year’s US Open Campaign.
Here are some of his quick and easy leg workouts to keep you in shape this winter, all of which you can do right in your living room. Your pants will thank you…no trekking through frozen tundra necessary.
Pistol Squats: Keeping one foot flat on the ground, hold your other leg straight out and lower yourself down to the ground. Hold your arms out with weighted assistance if needed to keep your balance. Make sure to keep your back straight and your squatting knee from passing past your toes. Using balance and strength from your glutes and hamstrings, slowly push back up into standing position while keeping the other leg off the ground. If you need to modify this exercise for beginners, you can keep the the non-squatting leg on the ground on the tip of its toes with as little pressure on that assisting leg as possible. Do 4 sets of 5 reps on each leg.
Hamstring Tucks: Lie down on the ground with a towel (or ball) underneath your the heels of your feet on a non-carpeted surface. Level yourself with your hands on the ground at arm’s length and push your hips up to the ceiling as much as possible. Use the towel to drag your feet in towards your hips while keeping your hips up off the ground. Straighten your legs back out again while still maintaining the hips upwards. This counts as one rep. Do 4 sets of 15 on each leg.
Calf Raises: Start at standing position with your feet flat on the ground. Using your calf muscles, slowly push up onto your toes and lift your heels off the ground. Take your time getting as far up on your toes as you can before lowering your heels back flat to the ground. The wider you spread your legs for this exercise, the more you are working your inner thighs as well. Do 4 sets of 20.
Curtsy Lunge: Start at standing position with both feet facing forward. Cross your left leg to the right side behind you so that you are lunging with your thighs parallel to the ground and your left knee as low as possible. Keep the weight of your front leg on the heel and make sure your hips and torso stay centered. Return to standing position and repeat the move on the other leg. Do 4 sets of 15 on each leg.
Eccentric Squats: Stand with your feet parallel to each other at slightly more than shoulder width apart. Instead of a regular air squat, slowly lower yourself towards the ground for 5 seconds and pause for 1 second at perfect squat level and then push back up with explosive power. As you get to standing position, squeeze your core and glutes at the top before lowering yourself back into squat position. This is all about building strength and explosive power by slowly resisting the movement and then responding with a sudden burst of strength. Feel free to use weights by holding them at your chest if available. Do 4 sets of 15.