Photos by BillyBow Photography (Book a Shoot with BillyBow)
Do you want rock-hard abs, firm butt and toned legs? Add Nikki’s ab, leg and butt exercises to your workout regimen. You’ll feel and see the results with a clean diet. Don’t wait til after the holiday season…It’s time to TRAIN 110% for a TIGHT BODY!
HANGING KNEE RAISES - These are not easy to perform correctly, but that’s kind of the beauty of it. Even someone with Nikki’s level of fitness has to focus and put some thought into it. This is definitely an advanced movement, but for all you beginners out there — you can make it easier by just resting your elbows on the rest pads.
Movement: (A) When you’re hanging from the overhead bars, your body should be straight with the core tight. Get a good strong grip of the bar, and make sure your back is not resting or pushing against anything. (B) Steady your body and lift your knees up in front of you and lower back down with control. Remember, the key is not to swing! Complete three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions.
WEIGHTED STEP-UPS - This exercise strengthens each leg individually , rather than as a unit. Because you are stepping up with one leg at a time, this exercise also helps improve balance and proprioception because you are required to control the weight as you move both up and down, and forward and backward. Perhaps the most important of these is the height of the step. The basic exercise works the hips and thighs, and the step height adjust things in favor of the quadriceps or hamstrings. A higher step works the hamstrings and glutes harder, a lower step targets the quads.
Movement: Stand with your feet parallel about hip width apart while holding dumbbells in your hands with palms facing inwards. (A) Place your foot up firmly on the top of the bench or step. Rise up to a standing position on the bench or step by straightening your right knee and hip. (B) To step down, flex your knee and hip and return the leg to its original position on the floor. Next, bring down your opposite leg. Repeat the motion, then switch legs after you complete three sets of 10 to 15 reps.
STANDING REAR LEG LIFTS - If you want to tighten up the glutes, hit them with a standing rear leg lift. You can even do them on the leg extension machine (like the one pictured here with Nikki). Who knew one machine could serve two different purposes? When you perform this exercise correctly, you’ll feel a tightening or burning sensation behind the upper thigh of your working leg and deep in the working buttock. Adjusting the angle of your leg lift slightly changes the target glute muscle from the gluteus maximus to the gluteus medius. This will give you a more thorough gluteal workout.
Movement: (A) Face the wall with your feet shoulder-width apart. With your arms fully extended, place your hands on the chair, keeping them shoulder-width apart. (B) Extend your right leg straight back behind you, keeping your knee bent at 90 degrees and your toes pointed down to the floor. Lift the right leg up slightly more, squeezing your buttocks as you lift. Pause for 2 seconds, then with resistance, return with leg bent. Pause for a moment before repeating the exercise. Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps on the same leg, then switch legs.