Candace Cameron Bure’s workout program keeps her on her toes—literally. The Fuller House actor recently posted an Instagram video of her demoing a pulsing inner thigh exercise performed entirely on the balls of her feet.
“It burns so good,” Cameron Bure wrote in the caption. You can check it out via @candacecbure here:
The move is all about endurance thigh work, Cameron Bure’s trainer Kira Stokes, creator of the Stoked Method, tells SELF. Stokes does this exercise (and variations of it) in her Stoked AthletiCORE classes, a core-focused barre class. “It’s thigh work taken from a barre curriculum,” explains Stokes.
Stokes says that this move primarily targets the quads and inner thighs.
By performing the pulses on your tiptoes, you’re sending the work directly up the front of your legs and into your quads, says Stokes. Then, by placing an object, like the ball that Cameron Bure uses, between your thighs as you pulse, you’re activating your hip adductor muscles (your inner thighs) as well, she adds.
The move is an isometric exercise, a type of strengthening exercise that is great for building muscle endurance.
An isometric exercise is a strength exercise that doesn't involve a change in muscle length or joint position. To do an isometric exercise, you simply contract the muscle or group of muscles that you're trying to target, and hold them in that position for a certain period of time. This creates constant tension in your muscles, which can improve the endurance of your muscular strength, Stokes explains.
When working with Cameron Bure, “we always include endurance work in every session to give that push for the muscles in a different way,” says Stokes. Though this particular exercise includes pulsing motions, they are minuscule enough that they still maintain the isometric contraction, says Stokes.
Isometric exercises, in general, play an important role in a well-rounded training program, adds Stokes. Because “as much as you need to challenge your muscles in terms of larger [and more dynamic] movements—like squatting, deadlifting, and lunging—you have to find ways to tap deep into the muscle in a fine-tuning fashion,” says Stokes. These tiptoe pulses will help you do just that.
If you perform this move correctly, you’ll feel serious burn.
Because your muscles will be under constant tension during this move, you’ll probably feel a pretty brutal burn in your quads, warns Stokes. Case in point: Cameron Bure’s reaction when finishing. “She yelled, ‘Oh wow! Holy cow! Ow!’” laughs Stokes. If you've ever taken a barre class and wondered why barre exercises burn so much, you know what she means.
When you feel said burning sensation, your immediate reaction will likely be to come out of the move, says Stokes—but stick with it if you can. It’s an indication that your body is fatiguing, which is ultimately the point. If you can do this type of movement on the reg, your muscular endurance will improve, and you’ll be able to hold this positioning for longer, she explains.
Here’s how to do the move:
- Grab a medium-sized ball or similar object (a playground ball or yoga block work well, says Stokes, though you could also use a folded towel) and position yourself alongside something you can hold onto while standing—like a railing, chair or piece of furniture.
- Stand with your feet parallel to each other and place the ball or block in between your thighs, squeezing them together to keep it in place. Rest one hand atop the railing.
- Press up onto the balls of your feet and lift your heels as high as you can. From here, lower yourself down about 6 to 8 inches and then begin pulsing up and down, about one inch in both directions.
- In this position, your pelvis should be neutral and your upper body should be in one straight line from your ears to your hips. Your shoulders should be back and your chest should be lifted.
- Complete 20 up-and-down pulses and then hold the position and contract your inner thigh muscles to press in and out on the ball for 10 pulses.
Continue this pattern of 20 up-and-down pulses and 10 ball squeezes for 45 to 60 seconds.
Proper posture is key with this move, says Stokes. That’s why it’s helpful to do this move in front of a mirror if possible. When checking your form, “you shouldn’t see your butt sticking out behind you,” says Stokes. “It should be in one straight line along with the rest of your backside.”
As your muscles start to burn, you may want to naturally round your shoulders and curl inward. “Don’t do it,” says Stokes. Keep your chest lifted, your shoulders back, your core contracted, your tailbone dropped, and your head and neck in one line.
The ultimate goal is to have your hips about 2 to 3 inches above your knees, though if you’re new to this type of move, start with just a mirco bend in your knee, says Stokes. If you want to make it more challenging, go deeper into the knee bend. “Find the range that works for you,” she says. “You’ll feel it either way.”