It’s no wonder Reese Witherspoon’s legs are so toned.

By Blake Bakkila
Updated October 27, 2017
Reese Witherspoon at Vanity Fair Oscar party
John Shearer/Getty Images
| Credit: John Shearer/Getty Images

Ever wonder how your favorite celebrities get their legs red carpet-ready? Thanks to Reese Witherspoon’s former trainer, Ashley Borden, Real Simple has the best go-to moves for anyone looking to feel the burn in their glutes, thighs, and calves.

Borden, who has also worked with Christina Aguilera, Mandy Moore, and Ryan Gosling, recommends five exercises: squats, weighted glute bridges, deadlifts, step ups, and lateral lunges. To help you perfect your form, she’s given us a step-by-step guide to mastering each part of the routine.

For a cardiovascular workout that helps create lean muscle, use a weight that feels like a six to seven on a difficulty scale of one to 10 and complete 20 reps. If you’re focusing on building strength, choose a heavier weight (about a nine out of 10) and keep reps between four and eight. (It’s also possible to do the following exercises without weights.)

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Step 1: Start with your feet under your hip bones, slightly turned out.

Step 2: Hinge back with your hips and push your knees out as you descend into the squat.

Step 3: If you have the mobility, squat past the crease in your hips. If not, squat to bench height.

Step 4: Lead with your chest as you stand back up, and squeeze glutes at the top.

Step 5: Repeat.

Weighted Glute Bridges With Mini Band Around Knees

Step 1: Start with your heels directly under bent knees with a mini band around the top of both knees.

Step 2: Place a weight or sandbag on hip bones.

Step 3: Brace your core and push through your heels as you raise your hips up.

Step 4: Push your knees slightly out against the mini band and squeeze your glutes at the top.

Step 5: Repeat.


Step 1: Start standing with your shoelaces under the bar (or about mid-foot).

Step 2: Bend over with a flat back and grab the bar.

Step 3: Leading with your chest (like you are pushing a car off of your back!), come to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top.

Step 4: When starting the next rep, push the hips back.

Step 5: Repeat, without releasing the tension in your body. 

Step Ups

Step 1: Start by putting your foot up onto a stable surface (like a box or bench).

Step 2: Push through your heel and step up to the top of the bench or box.

Step 3: Use your opposite foot for just a bit of balance, or bring your leg up to total balance for a more challenging movement.

Step 4: Squeeze the glute of the leg that is balancing.

Step 5: Switch leg and repeat.

Lateral Lunge

Step 1: Start with your feet together.

Step 2: Step out to the side, with feet pointing forward.

Step 3: Sit back into a lateral squat, extending one leg long.

Step 4: Push back to standing with extended leg.

Step 5: Switch sides and repeat.