Building lean muscles with exercises that target the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and calves in your legs will help you look leaner, according to "Fitness" Magazine. Cardio exercises that work the legs sculpt these muscles while burning calories. Stretches relieve tension that prevent you from standing tall and yoga exercises may improve posture. These exercises give you a leaner look without actually adding inches to your height.
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Forward lunges work all the major muscles of the legs. You'll also tone your transverse abdominus muscle, which is a trunk stabilizer muscle of the waist important for posture. To perform a right forward lunge, slowly lift your left heel and step your right foot forward without leaning. Drop your hips toward the floor by bending your knees, keeping your left shin perpendicular to the floor. Stand back up to complete one rep. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions per side.
Cross-country skiing tones your legs for a leaner look, and burns calories. Even slow cross-country-skiing burns 493 calories per hour for a 155 pound person. Moderate cross-country skiing burns 563 calories an hour. Pick up the pace and burn 633 calories. You'll also work your upper body and core for an allover toning exercise.
The locust pose is a yoga exercise that strengthens the muscles of the back that run along the spine. Strong back and shoulder muscles help you stand up tall. Locust pose also strengthens the glutes, back of the legs and arms. To perform locust pose lie on your belly with your arms at your sides, palms up. Raise your legs, head, arms and chest toward the ceiling and hold for 30 to 60 seconds.
The c-curve is a stretching exercise for the lower back. "Fitness" recommends this as one of six exercises for a lean, limber body. To perform the c-curve, sit on the floor with your knees bent and your feet flat about 12 inches from your glutes. Reach behind your thighs and interlace your fingers. Tilt your chin down and round your back as you pull in your abdominals to tuck your tailbone. Alternate between pushing into the floor with the ball of one foot as you lift the ball of your other foot into the air. Repeat five times.