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To strengthen the thighs, push through the ups and downs

If you're like most of us, you want tighter thighs in 2016. This dance-inspired move by BarreAmped creator Suzanne Bowen will do the trick.

What it does

Tightens and tones the thighs.

What to do

Start with a quick warm-up. A few minutes of walking or jogging will do. Grab onto a countertop — or chair that won't slide away from you — for support. Begin by placing feet a little more than hip distance apart, at a 45-degree angle or so from the body. Fight to keep chest and head high as you begin to "pulse" — dropping your bottom and raising back up to the starting position, going only as deep as comfortable. Protect your knees by making sure they do not travel out beyond your toes, so reposition your feet as necessary.

"Press up through your heels so you really feel this in your thighs," she says.

Don't worry if you can't go very low, Bowen says. You'll gain a greater range of motion over time. When you get a little stronger, you can widen the feet even more and drop lower.

The advanced version of this move? Perform the move while standing on the balls of your feet. (This time, you might need to reposition your feet to bring them closer to the body, to give you a sturdier foundation.)

"You'll really feel your [thigh] muscles burning and shaking in this exercise."

How much

Perform this exercise for one to three minutes a couple of days of week. Rest a day or two between sessions.

rene.lynch@latimes.com

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
A version of this article appeared in print on December 26, 2015, in the Features section of the Los Angeles Times with the headline "You can set the tone - TRY THIS!" — Today's paperToday's paper | Subscribe
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