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The Best Exercises at the Gym for Toning Your Legs and Bottom and Flattening Your Belly

by
author image Tina Pashley
In 2008, Tina Pashley put her passion for animal advocacy to work by writing a weekly pet adoption and care column in the Martinsville Chronicle. She currently contributes to two consumer advocacy websites and several healthcare publications. Pashley holds a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of Phoenix.
The Best Exercises at the Gym for Toning Your Legs and Bottom and Flattening Your Belly
Aerobics may help you lose fat. Photo Credit John Foxx/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Your legs, buttocks and abdomen are common problem areas when you want to tone your body and look your best. Fitness facilities are ideal for toning multiple muscle groups with numerous types of strength training machines and free weights. Use a variety of fitness equipment to target your quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and abdomen at least twice a week to tone your lower body and flatten your tummy.

Leg Conditioning

Gyms and fitness facilities frequently offer strength-training machines for your legs. Leg curl, leg extension and leg press machines effectively strengthen your hamstrings and quadriceps with weight machines that allow you to select different amounts of preloaded weight. Target your calves with a seated calf raise machine. Point your toes forward to target your central calves, point them inward to target your outer calves or point them outward to concentrate on the inner area of your calves. Select a light weight and complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each exercise to tone your legs.

Use a Smith machine to perform squats to target your thighs, glutes and hips. Stand with your feet hip-width apart. Position the bar of the machine on your lower shoulders and push your buttocks out behind you as you bend your knees. Continue bending your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Stand with your legs slightly wider to target your inner thighs or keep your feet together to concentrate on your outer thighs. Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.

Toning Your Glutes

Perform good mornings, an exercise similar to the barbell squat, to primarily target your glutes, or buttocks. Hold a barbell across your shoulders and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Maintain a straight back and bend forward at the waist, mimicking a bowing motion. Continue bending forward until your torso is parallel with the floor. Complete three sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

Backward lunges strengthen and tone your glutes as well. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with a barbell stretched across your shoulders. Step backward with one foot and bend both knees until your rear knee almost touches the floor. Return to the original position and repeat the movement with your opposite foot. Perform three to four sets of 10 to 16 repetitions.

Abdomen Firming

Abdominal-strengthening exercises do not help you shed fat from your abdomen. However, this type of exercise does help tone the underlying muscle. Use a Roman chair to perform knee lifts. Position yourself in the chair with your arms in the arm rests, your legs suspended below you and your back flat against the back rest. Tighten your abdomen and raise your bent knees toward your chest. Hold this position for one count before returning to the original position.

Perform holding crunches much like traditional crunches, but pause during the exercise to emphasise the resistance placed on your abdomen. Pause halfway through the movement of bringing your chest to your knees. Hold this position for one count before touching your chest to your knees. Complete two to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions of each abdominal exercise.

Aerobic Activity

To flatten your belly or lose fat from any area of your body, perform aerobic activity for at least 30 minutes a day, most days of the week. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend a minimum of 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise every week. Examples of moderate activity include brisk walking, leisurely bicycling and swimming. However, achieving more than this recommended amount will help you burn more calories and fat. As you lose body fat, you will lose it evenly over your entire body. While you cannot pinpoint the areas that will lose fat, you will ultimately shed excess fat from your abdomen, buttocks and upper legs.

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