Here's proof this move will tighten up your thighs: Super-sleek fitness expert Suzanne Bowen, creator of BarreAmped, has been doing this dance-inspired move several times a week for 14 years. And still her legs are like Jell-O by the end of it. (You can go online to see her trembling legs for yourself at latimes.com/TryThis, where we have a video of this and dozens of other fitness moves.)
We especially like this move, called the parallel, because it can be done anywhere. Even in your kitchen while you're waiting for your coffee to brew.
What it does
Targets and tones the thighs, especially the front and inner thighs.
How to do it
Start by warming up for a few moments, maybe with a few brisk minutes of walking or marching in place. Stand about an arm's length away from a source of support, such as a kitchen counter or a chair that won't slide away from you, and rest a hand on it for balance. Feet should be hip-distance apart, toes pointing straight ahead. Now raise your heels, bend your knees a few inches, and begin to "pulse," small up-and-down movements.
Take a moment to check your alignment: Ears over shoulders, shoulders over hips, hips over heels. Fight the tendency to lean forward. Your knee caps will also want to "cheat" by splaying to the sides. Keep them pointing forward. If you're super fit, you can bend your knees deeper. But beginners won't need to go all that far to feel the burn after, oh, about 15 seconds.
"After 14 years of doing this, I'm still getting a great burn," Bowen said. "This is one of my favorite exercises."
Perform this exercise two to three times a week, working up to a minute or so of pulsing. Remember to take a day of rest in between workouts.