The Ultimate Thigh Toning Kit
Go the Distance With Your Cardio
“Women may need to incorporate longer, low-moderate cardio activities since the fat in the thighs is harder to melt than around the abdominal area. If you need to focus on your thighs more than the waist, don’t forget to do 45 to 60 minutes cardiovascular exercise,” explains Marta Montenegro, an exercise physiologist in Miami, Florida
Skip the Ankle Weights
Before you strap on those ankle weights in hopes of slimmer thighs, consider this: they may cause excess stress on your ankles, knee and hips joints, strain your ligaments or even cause muscular imbalances. The bottom line— the risks of wearing ankle weights outweigh the benefits. Save walking for cardio, and focus on your strength training with weights another time. If you want to add intensity to your walks, try using walking poles or a weighted vest. It will concentrate the extra weight to areas where your body can support it better.
Stop Trying to Spot Reduce
Sorry, the thigh master alone will not get rid of inner thigh bulges no matter how many squeezes you give it. To rid your body of excess fat in certain spots, like around the hips and thighs, you’ll need to reduce your overall body fat with total-body strength and cardio routine and a balanced diet. Remember that you may see results last in the areas you are hoping to get rid of first (inner thighs) and first in the areas you want to keep (like your breasts).
Don’t Neglect Your Diet
Even the best workout routine can’t make up for a crummy diet. Make sure to supplement your hard work at the gym with a healthy, balanced diet that contains enough calories to lose (or maintain) your weight. Eat whole, unprocessed foods and drink plenty of water to ensure your body has the nutrients. Remember, your body needs to stay energized and perform well during your training sessions.
Be Sure to Rest Your Legs
If you experience delayed onset muscle soreness, be sure to allow your muscles to recover between 48-72 hours before hitting the weights hard again. Delayed onset muscle soreness usually occurs after intense, high-level exertion workouts. Rest is necessary to allow your muscles time to recover and develop strength. But that doesn’t mean you can’t work out. You can do cardio or focus on another type of workout while you wait for your legs to recover. Watch this video to find out more.
Be Kind to Your Knees
Knee pain is one of the most common injuries that can sideline you from a good leg workout. “Aerobic exercise lowers inflammation, thus reducing pain, and resistance training will help support the knees and the muscles surrounding them,” says Holland. Just be sure to take good care of your knees and prevent injury by doing exercises with proper form.
Foam Roll Your Legs
Think about it this way: when your jeans first come out of the dryer, they are hard to move around in comfortably, right? Tight muscles feel the same way. Foam rolling acts like a deep tissue massage. It can help release adhesions in your muscles that may be limiting your range of motion or performance during your workouts. ‘Iron’ out the kinks in your legs before your workout for better exercise performance and ultimately, better results. Check out this video by Cleveland Clinic which presents 4 Foam Roller Exercises for Your Legs and Lower Body.
Train From All Angles
“Be sure to train from all angles. Often we get stuck in a rut and use the same exercises over and over again. Mix up your leg training to target all those lower body muscles from different angles,” says Bagshaw. “At a loss for ideas? Book a session with a trainer to have them develop a program you can work with that have you lunging and squatting through all planes of movement.”
Now that you have all the tips on what things you need to take care of, keep these in mind and supplement them with this amazing workout which we have designed especially for inner/outer thigh development.
These thigh exercises go beyond just your thighs, though; they’ll strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and calves and even hit your core too.
How it works: Do all 9 in succession with no rest in between. Then repeat the circuit one or two more times. Do this full thigh workout three or four days a week. Or, pick three or four of your favorite thigh workout moves and add them into your existing routine for an extra dose of lower-body strengthening.
Side Shuffle Switch
This fast-paced move gets your heart rate up (bonus cardio!) and recruits your inner-thigh muscles to help you quickly switch directions.
- Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides.
- Shuffle swiftly to your right by taking three quick steps to the side (right, left, right), and then lift your left knee, swinging your right arm forward.
- Immediately reverse your shuffle (left, right, left) and land with your right knee up, left knee bent, swinging your right arm forward.
- Repeat 20 times in a row as fast as you can, alternating sides.
Side Lunge Sweep
Side lunges (also called lateral lunges) are stellar at strengthening your outer and inner thighs. The extra cross-over in this thigh workout move works your inner thighs even more and adds a balance challenge for the core.
- Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips.
- Take a wide step out to your left side and lower into a lunge, bending your left knee and pushing your hips behind you.
- Push through your left heel and stand back up, crossing your left leg in the front of your body without touching the floor. Focus on squeezing your inner thighs as you cross your leg in front of your body.
- Swing your leg back out to the left side and repeat.
- Do 15 reps with your left leg, and then 15 with the right.
Not many moves beat the squat in terms of functional thigh exercises. Load up your squat by racking dumbbells—start light and go heavier as you get stronger.
- Start standing with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, racked over shoulders.
- Engaged core and sit hips back to lower into a squat. Keep chest tall and back flat and don’t let knees move forward past toes. Stop when thighs are parallel to the ground or when the form is compromised.
- Press into the mid-foot to stand and return to start.
- Try 3 sets fo 10 to 12 reps.
Lunges with Dumbbells
Not only does this classic workout move set leg and thighs muscles ablaze, but it also works on your balance and coordination. (Try adding all these other lunge variations to your thigh workout too.)
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart, holding a 5- or 8-pound dumbbell in each hand.
- Lunge forward with your left leg, then straighten your leg. When you lunge, your right knee should come to about an inch above the ground without touching it.
- Keep your torso perpendicular to the floor, with your weight evenly distributed between your legs. Align your front knee over your front ankle, keeping the weight in your heels instead of on your toes.
- Continue these lunges for 30 seconds before switching sides and doing another 30 seconds on the other leg.
Low Lunge with Isometric Adduction
This isometric contraction activates your inner-thigh muscles while also engaging the rest of your body. This is a much more effective way to train than those hip abduction and adduction machines at the gym. (Plus, it’ll stretch out the hip flexor on the opposite leg.)
- Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides.
- Take a wide step forward with your right foot and lower into a deep lunge position.
- Place your hands on the floor on the inside of your right foot.
- Press your right knee into the outside of your right shoulder. Squeeze and hold the contraction for 10 counts.
- Release and push off the floor with your right leg to return to standing. That’s one rep. Repeat with the left leg to complete 1 set.
- Do 3 sets in total.
Weighted Inner-Thigh Lift
This twist on a traditional inner-thigh lift uses your body weight to add an extra challenge.
- Lie on your right side with your right elbow bent below your shoulder and your left hand behind your head.
- Extend both legs out and then bend your left knee up to the ceiling, placing the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right knee.
- Hover your right leg slightly off the floor with your foot flexed. Next, engage your inner thigh to lift your right leg higher.
- Slowly lower your leg back to hover above the floor.