Leaner and stronger legs are something both men and women strive for when hitting the gym or working out in general.
But did you know that you don’t have to run for hours or join 60-minute Zumba classes to lose weight, burn fat and get slimmer, leaner legs? Pilates can get you those results too!
In this article, we have some of the best and easiest Pilates moves you can perform if you want your legs to look and feel leaner.
They are great for beginners in Pilates or even people who haven’t worked out before, so don’t think twice before trying them out!
How Can Pilates Moves Help My Legs Get Leaner?
Pilates workouts are great for toning your leg muscles as they activate and engage the obliques, glutes, and the rest of the leg muscles in our body.
While it seems easy, Pilates is actually a very demanding type of workout that focuses on flexibility and strength.
By working all the muscles in your body, Pilates can help you lose fat and build muscle effectively. As you become more experienced and stronger, you can progressively overload your workouts by adding resistance bands and weights.
As a beginner, Pilates will help you see great changes in your body, and focusing on the following Pilates leg exercises will help you put those legs at work and see them get leaner as the months go by!
The Best Beginner-Friendly Pilates Moves For Leaner Legs
Facing the sky and with your back on the floor, bend your legs and keep your arms on the sides with your palms facing down. Slowly lift your hips and bring them back to the floor.
If you want the extra challenge, once you have lifted your hips up and are on a glute bridge position, hold it for 3-5 seconds before coming down. Alternatively, you can add some pulses for each rep.
Complete 10-12 reps.
Standing on the floor and looking straight, put your hands behind your head like you would do when performing standard crunches.
Balancing on one leg, lift your other leg to the side on a 30- to a 45-degree angle (or higher if you can) and stay in that position for 20 seconds. You should feel both your abs, adductors, and abductors work.
Once 20 seconds have passed, perform the same exercise on the other side.
Front And Back Kicks
Lying on one side, start moving your upper leg (not the one you are lying on) back and forth without moving your shoulders or hips.
If you find this easy, then add a pulse both when your leg reaches the top front and the top back points. Alternatively, you can perform double kicks both to the back and the front.
Complete 8-110 reps on each side.
Up And Down Kicks
Move your top leg upwards as if it were weightless to create a 90-degree angle. Then bring it back to touch your lying leg slowly to feel your adductor muscles work.
Try to focus on your heels as you move your leg up and down; try not to touch your heels and rest your upper leg on the one that is on the floor to feel more tension during this movement.
Complete 5-8 reps on each side.
Bring the toes of your upper leg along your lying leg up to the lower leg’s knee’s height by raising your upper leg’s knee to the sky.
Then raise your leg and stretch it upwards, with your toes facing the sky. When you lower your leg for the next rep, focus on your inner thighs and make sure you feel their work.
You want your leg to move up as if it were weightless and come back down as if it’s really heavy.
Complete 3-5 reps on each side.
Clockwise Lying Circles
As you are lying on one leg, keep your legs parallel and slightly raise the upper leg to start moving it circularly.
Perform small circles that will engage your side booty (abductor), and make sure your heels touch every time you complete one circle.
Try to move your upper leg as high as possible when performing the circles.
Complete 8-10 reps on each side.
Anti-clockwise Lying Circles
Perform the same exercise as above but now move your leg anti-clockwise. Again, you want your legs to go as high as possible and your heels to touch every time you complete a circle.
Complete 8-10 reps on each side.
Inner Thigh Lifts
Lying on one leg, fold your upper leg’s knee and bring your upper leg in front of your lying one. Balancing on your upper leg’s feet and with the support of your core, raise your lying leg up as if you are trying to reach out long and then up.
Add some resistance with your core and upper leg when you bring your leg back to the floor so that you don’t end up swinging up and down with your entire body.
For this move, it is important to keep your upper leg’s knee straight and focus on moving your lying leg up by activating its inner thigh.
Complete 8 reps on each side.
Inner Thigh Circles
Staying in the same position as in the previous exercise, start performing circles with your lying leg by activating again your inner thigh.
Your upper leg’s knee should remain straight, and you should strengthen your core so that it stays firmly on the floor.
Complete 5 reps on each side.
Lying on one leg, support your lower body on your lying leg’s hips and move your legs like scissors. When one leg is moving backward, the other one should be coming to the front.
Make sure to keep your core tight and still as your legs move and place your upper side’s hand on the floor in front of you for some extra support. However, do not add to much pressure on it.
Complete 15-20 scissor movements on each side.
Single Leg Raise
Lying with your chest on the floor, stretch one of your legs up while trying to keep both hips pressed into the floor.
As you stretch your leg up, keep it straight (don’t bend it as you would for donkey kicks). You should feel your gluteus maximus (upper booty) work in this exercise.
Complete 8-10 reps on each side.
Double Leg Raise
Holding your hip bones on the floor, move both your legs up by keeping them straight. Keep your core on the floor and engage your glutes to only move your legs upwards.
Complete 8 reps.
What Else Can You Do To Get Leaner Legs?
While exercise can definitely help you get leaner legs, a healthy diet is what will make the biggest difference.
If you are overweight or want to lose some extra weight, being in a calorie deficit is important, while if you want to grow muscles, eating healthy, nutritious food and staying at maintenance or a slight surplus can help.
The Bottom Line
Pilates is an effective type of workout that can help your legs get leaner and stronger.
The moves in this article are perfect for Pilates beginners who want to see their legs get leaner, but it is important to follow the right diet too for the best results!