Jessica Biel’s legs prove that the workout she just shared actually works

Jessica Biel is many things: actress, producer, wife (married to superstar Justin Timberlake), mom of two, and our summer fitness inspiration. The 41-year-old, who has risen to fame 7th Heaven, she is known for her undeniable talent and her ability to do everything from comedy to horror and drama, but also for her chiseled physique. While her chiseled arms, legs and abs are worthy of envy, Biel has always been active and works hard to stay in shape. She recently gave fans a glimpse of a ferocious workout she does to keep her toned legs single-legged with a weight, followed by a side lunge. Here’s everything to know about intense movement and why it works according to ACE Certified Trainer and Nutritionist Maria Sabat, MS, RDN, LD.

Jessica Biel attends the Louis Vuitton Womenswear Spring/Summer 2020 show
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In the video posted on InstagramBiel is seen wearing turquoise leggings and a black hoodie doing her epic workout with a cameo at the end of her husband.This type of training is effective for a few reasons, according to Sabat:

  • Lower body strength: This exercise targets the muscles of the lower body, especially the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and adductors. It helps build strength, stability and balance in these muscles.
  • Nucleus activation: Maintaining balance during a single-leg squat engages your core muscles, including your abs and lower back.
  • Functional movement: The exercise mimics real-life movements, such as getting up from a chair or climbing stairs, making it a functional exercise that results in better daily activities.”

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To ensure you get the most out of your workout, form and technique are key. Sabat explains the correct way to perform the exercise correctly. Here are some key points to focus on, says Sabat.

  • “Start by standing with the weight close to your chest, making sure you have a firm grip.
  • Lift one leg off the ground, keeping it slightly extended in front.
  • Slowly lower your body into a squat position onto your standing leg, keeping your back straight and keeping your knee in line with your toes.
  • Go as low as you can comfortably control, aiming for a 90-degree angle at the knee.
  • Push through the heel of the standing leg to return to the starting position.
  • Immediately move into a side lunge by taking the same leg out to the side, bending the knee and pushing the hips back.
  • Maintain an upright posture, keeping your chest lifted and your knee aligned with your toes.
  • Push back to the starting position and repeat the sequence on the other leg.”

The single leg squat with a weight, followed by a side lunge isn’t easy, so don’t be discouraged if it’s something you can master the first time. There are ways to modify the move. Sabat explains, “If the exercise seems too challenging or you need to make adjustments, here are some options:

  • Version for body weight only: Start by performing single leg squats and side lunges without using weights. Focus on maintaining proper form and control before adding external resistance.
  • Reduce range of motion: If you find it difficult to perform a full squat or side lunge, you can decrease the depth and range of motion until you develop enough strength and flexibility.
  • Use lighter weights: If the weight held close to your chest feels too heavy, you can start with lighter dumbbells or kettlebells until you get more comfortable and stronger.

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Learning a new workout can be challenging, and there are a few wrong ways to execute this move. Here’s what to avoid; Stabat warns against doing the following:

  • ‚ÄúRounded Back: Avoid rounding your back during the movement. Maintain a neutral spine and keep your chest up at all times.
  • Knees that collapse inward: Pay attention to knee alignment. Avoid bending the knee inward during the squat and lunge. Instead, keep your knees in line with your toes.
  • Lack of Control: Make sure you have control over the movement and don’t rush through it. Focus on engaging your muscles and maintaining stability through each rep.”

As with any workout, injury is always a possibility, so to make sure you’re executing the move correctly, Sabat provides the following safety tips.

  • Warm up properly: Prioritize a dynamic warm-up to prepare your muscles and joints for exercise. This can include activities like jogging, leg swings, or bodyweight squats.
  • Start with proper form: Start with bodyweight squats and lunges to master the movement pattern before adding weights. This helps develop strength and stability in proper form.
  • Progress gradually: Gradually increase the weight and intensity of the exercise over time as your strength and technique improve.
  • Listen to your body: If you experience pain or discomfort, especially in your knees or lower back, stop exercising and consult a qualified fitness professional.
  • Use appropriate weights: Choose weights that challenge you but still allow you to maintain proper form and control. Using excessively heavy weights can impair your technique and increase your risk of injury.”

Performing a single-leg squat with a weight followed by a side lunge offers a multitude of benefits to overall fitness and strength. Primarily, these exercises improve balance and stability as they require the involvement of multiple muscle groups to stabilize the body during dynamic movements. Second, they target the glutes, quads, hamstrings and core, promoting leg and core strength. Additionally, the one-sided nature of the exercises helps identify and correct muscle imbalances, reducing the risk of injury in everyday activities and sports. Additionally, they promote functional strength, improving performance in various sports and activities that involve lateral movements. Finally, these compound exercises burn calories efficiently, aiding in weight management and sculpting lean muscle mass.

Erica Newgen

Heather Newgen has twenty years of experience reporting and writing on health, fitness, entertainment and travel. Heather currently freelances for several publications. Read more about Erica

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