Tone Your Inner Thighs With These 8 Moves
First things first: It's officially time to put the ridiculous idea of a "thigh gap" behind us. "Women have these unrealistic expectations that their inner thighs aren’t going to touch," says celebrity trainer Rachel Cosgrove. "But unless you have a very specific build, your thighs are going to touch—and they should!"
Thigh gap aside, your inner thighs still deserve targeted attention, as it's not an area you exercise through everyday activities. There are plenty of effective moves to help you tone things up. All it takes is the right combination: "You've got to isolate the inner thigh, but you’ve also got to work the larger leg muscles to really burn fat," Cosgrove says. Below, some of our favorite moves.
After a one-minute warmup, do two sets of each exercise with a 30-second rest between sets and when switching exercises.
Hip Bridge with a Squeeze
Why:We love the glute-strengthening hip bridge, but all it takes is a little squeeze to make this move just as effective for the inner thighs, too, says fitness expert Chris Freytag.
How:With your feet flat on the floor, place a rolled-up towel or small exercise ball between your bent knees. Squeeze the towel as you lift your butt to the sky, keeping it in line with your knees, and lower back down. Do 10 reps for 1 set.
MORE:7 Reasons Your Thighs Aren't Changing No Matter How Much You Work Out
Pilates Thigh Squeeze On All Fours
Why:When it comes to the inner thighs, Pilates is the way to go, Freytag says.
How:Get on all fours and place a small exercise ball between your knees. Keeping your arms in line with your shoulders, tuck your toes forward and inhale, expanding your torso. Exhale as you deepen your belly button into your spine, and lift your knees about an inch off of the ground. Continue to lengthen the spine as you squeeze the ball 3 times. Release the knees back down. Do 5 reps for 1 set.
Sumo Squat with a Drag
Why:"Squats are great for your lower body, but adding the drag to this move puts the focus on your inner thighs," says trainer Larysa Didio.
How:Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, toes facing out. Squat and lower your butt to about the depth of your knees. Then, as you straighten your legs and return to standing, drag your right foot across the floor toward your left leg (you should feel it in your inner thigh as you pull your leg across your body). Repeat the move on the other side, this time stepping your right leg out to the right, lowering into a squat, and dragging your left foot toward your right as you stand back up. Continue alternating sides for each rep. Do 10 to 15 reps for 1 set.
Why:The jumping motion in this exercise is a great way to work on your strength and your speed at the same time, says DiDio.
How:Stand with your feet slightly more then hip-width apart, toes facing out. Bend your knees and lower into a Sumo Squat, then jump your feet together, straightening your legs. Immediately jump your feet back out, landing in a Sumo Squat. Do 10 reps for 1 set.
Why:This is Cosgrove's go-to move for stronger, slimmer inner thighs. Not only does it challenge your inner thighs, but it also works your whole body to burn major calories.
How:Start in a standing position. Step directly to the side with your right foot, keeping both toes facing forward. Stick your butt out and sit back on your hip and heel as if you were about to take a seat. Return to starting position and repeat. Do 12 reps on each side for 1 set.
MORE:10 Moves That Resize Your Thighs
Why:"Ballet-inspired moves are often great for your inner thighs," says Freytag. This is one of her favorites.
How:Stand with feet about 3 feet apart, toes pointed out. Lower down until your thighs are nearly parallel to the floor. Push yourself back up to standing as you squeeze your inner thighs. That's one rep; do 15 for one set. Repeat the same move, but raise the right heel as you lower down. Do 15 reps. Repeat the same move, but raise your left heel as you lower your body down. Do 15 reps. That's 1 set.
Why:You'll really feel this exercise in your inner thighs, but you'll also be working your core and glutes, too, says Freytag.
How:Stand with your feet underneath your hips, then sweep your right leg forward and backward. Your toes should be pointed as you engage your glutes and inner thighs. Do 5 reps, then sweep it out to the side for another 5 reps. Repeat on the other leg for 1 set.
Why:"Lunges are great," says Freytag. "But if you're just going forward and backward over and over again, you're not activating all the muscles in your lower body." This tweak takes the basic lunge to the next level.
How:Stand with your feet slightly farther than hip-width apart. Sit back into a squat, chest lifted and knees just over the tops of your toes. Squeeze your thighs and glutes as you stand back up. Cross your left leg behind your right into a curtsy, then bring the left knee down into a lunge. Stand back.
Video: 5 Inner Thigh Isolations That'll Tone Your Legs Like Crazy
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