If you are a member of the “despise my thighs” club, it’s time to revoke your membership. You can target your inner and outer thighs with several easy-to-do at home exercises. In fact, you can tone and sculpt while you are sitting at your desk, cooking dinner or blow drying your hair. All you need is a stability ball, pair of ankle weights and a resistance band and your thighs may just turn into your favorite body part.
Inner Thigh Squeezes
This exercise targets your adductors or inner thigh muscles. Sit on the floor with your legs extended out straight in front of you with your knees locked. Place your feet on each side of the ball about half way up the ball. Keep your toes flexed back towards your shins. Squeeze the ball between your heels with pulsing isometric contractions. Count one and two and three and four or squeeze and squeeze. Try for 20 to 25 squeezes, rest and repeat the set. After two sets, finish off by holding a 10 second long single contraction. To do the “sitting at your desk” version, place a small ball or pillow between your knees and squeeze. Perform the same sequence as the floor version.
Standing Outer Thigh Raises
This exercise targets your abductors or outer thigh muscles and can be performed while multitasking. Put on your ankle weights or tie a resistance band around both legs just above the ankle area. Stand up tall and hold on to a counter or banister. Raise one leg up to the side without rotating your knee up towards the ceiling, keeping your foot flexed and your heel pressing out. Make sure that your knee on the standing leg is slightly soft, not hyperextended. Perform 10 to 20 side leg raises and switch to the opposite leg. After doing one set on each leg, repeat the sequence but this time point instead of flex your toe.
The curtsy lunge is your thighs’ best friend. It targets both the inner and outer thigh muscles in one seamless exercise. To increase the intensity, you can hold dumbbells in your hands with arms hanging down by your sides. Start with legs a little wider than hip distance apart. Cross your left leg behind your right leg placing the ball of your foot on the floor. Tuck your abs in, squeeze your butt muscles and slowly bend both knees. When your left leg bends to about a 90-degree angle, squeeze your inner thighs together and return to straight legs. Step out to the side with your left foot and repeat the sequence with your right leg crossing behind your left. The sequence is cross, bend, squeeze, lift, step wide and repeat. Try for a total of 20 curtsy lunges or 10 on each leg.
About this Author
Alison Stellner, owner of Body Tune Personal Training, is a fitness instructor and freelance writer with more than 25 years in the health and fitness industry. Her first professional article was published in “Idea Today Fitness Magazine” in 1993. She majored in music and business administration at the University of Oklahoma.