By Karen Voight, Special to Tribune Newspapers
9:07 PM EDT, July 11, 2012
Strengthen your back, buttock and leg muscles with this ballet-inspired leg lift. It's important to lean slightly forward when lifting your leg to keep the move safe and maximize your benefits.
1. Stand with your heels together and toes pointed out 45 degrees. Lightly rest your fingertips on the backrest of a sturdy chair or on a ballet barre. Shift your weight to your right foot and place your left ankle behind your right calf.
2. Raise your left arm (not directly above your head, but slightly forward) and bend your right knee slightly. Inhale and raise your left leg while simultaneously tilting your torso a few inches forward. This will protect your lower back from overarching, and you will feel the work in your left leg and buttock muscles. Remember to keep both knees bent. Pause with your leg in the lifted position, then return to the start position. Repeat 16 times. Lower your leg and repeat on the other side.
Voight is the creator of a line of fitness DVDs, including "Full Body Stretch" and "Ballet BodySculpt."
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