5 Moves for Slim, Toned Thighs
Spring and summer staples are short shorts, bathing suits, and slim thighs. Ditch the sweatpants and get ready to show off those gorgeous gams just in time for spring with this 5-minute, five-move quickie workout. Be sure to keep moving the whole five minutes without rest to ensure you get your heart rate fired up in addition to those burning thighs.
Adding this targeted routine to your regular workout a few times a week will definitely make you want to show off your legs when those summer months hit.
Sumo Squat With Side Arm Raises
The Sumo Squat (also known as the pliÃ© squat) is a great one for toning all areas of the thighs. Make sure to really focus on and squeeze those inner thighs and glutes to keep the dominant quad muscles from taking over. Light dumbbells for the arm raises are optional, as this is mostly a leg exercise. But, we say why not make it a full-body move?
How to do it: Stand with your legs wide and your toes pointed slightly outward, so both of your hips are in an external rotated position. Arms should start down by your sides (light dumbbells optional). Bend your knees until they're directly over your ankles as you raise your arms to the sides, just below shoulder height (shown). Then, straighten your legs and lower your arms simultaneously. Thatâ€™s one rep. Keep going for 50 seconds and the last 10 seconds hold the hips down and pulse up and down to complete one full minute. Tip: Try to get your hips as low as you can when you bend your knees so that your thighs are parallel to the ground.
Side Lunge to Curtsy
The side lunge is a great all over thigh toner, and an adding curtsy to really fire those outer abductors of the hip, aka the muscles that lift your booty up. Add a few dumbbell curls for an added challenge, or just stick to the lower half.
How to do it: Holding a five to 10 pound weight in your right hand (optional), lunge your left leg out to the side, bringing your right hand to your left foot. Lower your butt as much as possible and sink into your heels to feel your backside working. Slowly push off your left foot and cross your left leg behind your right as you press the weight overhead. Thatâ€™s one rep. Repeat by immediately stepping out to your side lunge again. Do as many as you can in 30 seconds and then switch to the other side.
Bridge With Squeeze
You may be familiar with a basic bridge to work the back of the legs. But adding a ball, Pilates ring, or even a towel can help tone the inner thighs as well.
How to do it: Lie on your back with your knees bent, feet hip-width apart. Place the towel between your knees. With your arms long by your sides, push your hips up into a bridge position, hold for 2 counts, and then lower your hips down one vertebrae at a time until your tailbone comes back to the ground. Go for a full minute, and the last 10 seconds keep your hips up and do tiny pulses of the towel to really fire up the inner thighs.
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Clam With Toe Touch
The clam is a great exercise to isolate the abductors of the hip, or the muscles surrounding the outer thighs. Here we added a modified side plank to work the waist, too, but if thatâ€™s too much, you can always just lie on your side.
How to do it: Lie on your right side, propping your torso up with your right elbow directly below your shoulder and your left hand resting on your hip. (Or lie with your right side on the ground.) You knees and feet should be together. Lift your top knee up toward the ceiling and then rotate it down to touch the other knee again. Thatâ€™s one rep. Do as many reps as you can for 30 seconds and then switch sides.
RELATED: 4 Moves to Perk Up a Flat Butt
Kneel to Squat
Your thigh workout would not be complete without a little booty work, and the squat is arguably one of the best butt blasters out there. Adding a kneel mimics the motion of a step-up without the added props.
How to do it: Begin in a half kneeling position, with your right knee up and left knee on the ground. Your hands can remain on your hips or lower back the entire time. Shift your weight into your right leg and press up so both legs are bent and form a squat position. Hold for one count and then bring your right leg down to a kneeling position. Thatâ€™s one rep. Continue alternating and do as many as you can in 60 seconds.
RELATED: How to Do the Perfect Squat
Jennifer Cohen is a leading fitness authority, TV personality, entrepreneur, and best-selling author of the new book, Strong is the New Skinny. With her signature, straight-talking approach to wellness, Jennifer was the featured trainer on The CWâ€™s Shedding for the Wedding, mentoring the contestants to lose hundreds of pounds before their big day, and she appears regularly on NBCâ€™s Today Show, Extra, The Doctors, and Good Morning America. Connect with Jennifer onÂ Facebook, Twitter, G+ and on Pinterest.