The Easy 4-Step Exercise That Works Your Legs, Glutes, and Core

Photo via iStock.

“The best exercise for great-looking legs is the squat-into-calf-raise,” says Fairfax personal trainer Lynne Maloney. “This move hits every major muscle in your legs and glutes and even activates your core muscles.”

Step 1

Stand with your feet about hip width apart and your kneecaps aligned over your second and third toes. If you like, hold a five-to-eight-pound dumbbell in each hand for added resistance. Keep arms down by your sides if you’re holding dumbbells; otherwise, arms can come up to chest level and palms can come together.

Step 2

Keep your abs tight, shoulders back, and chest high as you sit back as if sitting into a chair. Make sure you aren’t leaning too far forward and that your knees don’t extend past your shoelaces.

Step 3

As you come back up to standing, think about pushing down into the ground through your heels, a move that will really engage your butt. Continue straightening your legs so you’re up on the balls of your feet and squeezing your calf muscles.

Step 4

Lower down again slowly and repeat for 15 reps. This should be a slow, fluid movement. Rest for 30 seconds, then do another 15.

Jennifer Barger ( is a freelance style writer and personal shopper.

This article appears in our April 2016 issue of Washingtonian.

Get Our Health Newsletter

How to stay fit, eat smart, and live well in Washington.

Or, see all of our newsletters. By signing up, you agree to our terms.