Leg toning exercise: Ditch the jogging and try this

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with Modern Dance Workout
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Forget pounding the sidewalk.  More shapely pins can be yours with our leg toning exercise based on Ballet and Modern dance moves.

Dancing - any dancing - will help to shape and define your legs. 

But here we've actually got a warm up / dance routine mixture that takes you through a whole load of incredibly beneficial leg exercises in less than 5 minutes. 

Good tone, shape and definition of your upper and lower legs can be yours through dancing alone, and so start to reshape your legs right now with a few simple dance steps.

Taught as part of our Modern dance workout program, this routine is a contemporary take on classical Ballet movements, so you'll hear a lot of Ballet terminology here.

As we've mentioned before, Ballet names for feet and arm positions, and steps and movments too, can be heard in classes for many different types of dancing.

It's nothing to be scared of and you certainly don't have to have studied Ballet nor even taken a single lesson to be able to understand what's meant by these terms. 

They aren't difficult to pick up and you'll be surprised at how easily you'll come to use them as part of your own dance language.

If you would like to get a little more insight before you start, you can look at the five basic Ballet postions and the basic Ballet barre exercises photo guides first.

Tone your legs by dancing

It's time to get ready for your leg toning exercise.

Firstly, stand with your feet in the basic 'first position'.

You'll hear teacher Alexx saying "turning out from the hips" which is the classic way to stand and move in a lot of dance - that's the way dancers and particularly Ballet dancers position their legs. 

It makes the leg more elegant and engages a higher proportion of muscles so you get a better workout.  It also helps you stand with better posture, again helping you get the most from the exercise.

So rather than standing in first position with just your toes facing out, rotate your whole leg out from the hip and the toes will naturally turn outwards.

The tendus that are shown are another Ballet classic - where you glide your foot along the floor into a point, so that just the tips of your toes are still in contact with the floor.

When you come to the tendus and Alexx suggests adding in the arm movements, try to keep your arms nice and soft - don't keep them rigid or lock you wrists or elbows, and try to keep them at no more than shoulder height.

If you are using the arm positions (you don't have to) then notice how the corresponding arm comes forward when the leg is pointed to the back (right arm extends forward as right leg is pointed to the back). 

This isn't classic arabesque - that uses the opposing arm to the working leg.  Here, using the same arm as working leg gives you a more contemporary dance feel.

The plié section uses more arm positions - again keep your arms softly rounded and supple - no robotics, please.

Having digested all that, have a go at the leg toning exercise all the way through.

Toned legs and core strength

While this routine is intended as an intense workout for the legs and feet, it is also absolutely brilliant for your balance and core strength. 

And as each of the individual movements is very simple, they and can be done slower for a more intense sensation or faster for a sweatier workout - whichever suits you.

That's the beauty of Modern dance - it's up to you to dance it however you feel like.

Do this leg toning exercise two times through to get the full benefit.  To do this whole routine to music, see the dvd.

If you've followed all the sections through in order, by now you will have done a complete posture check, warmed up thoroughly, done a section focussing on the arms and this one on the legs.  So now it's time to start linking some of your new moves together in proper dance routines...

› Leg toning exercise