Even though shorts and bathing suit season is still a bit away, that doesn’t mean you should wait until then to start sculpting sexy thighs. Many popular exercises put more emphasis on your glutes, hamstrings and quads, so your thighs require some careful planning when you want to work them a little harder. Here are seven great exercises you can try along with your regular leg day routine or added to your core workout so that your thighs get as much attention as the rest of you:
1. Weighted Wall Squats with Stability Ball: Regular squats sometimes become less effective when you’re not going low enough or you begin to move your body forward. But when you place a ball behind you and lean it up against the wall, you have no choice but to keep your upper body straight and the weight in your heels as you slowly lower down into your squat and come back up. Make it even more challenging by holding it at the bottom for as long as you can. Can't you just feel your legs quivering already?!
2. Weighted Leg Circles: Taking a cue from Pilates, leg circles are a great way to sculpt lean, sexy legs. Lie down and extend one leg all the way so it’s perpendicular to the floor and point your toes. Your other leg should be straight and on the floor. Form circular movements with the raised leg as if you had a crayon on the bottom of your foot and were drawing perfect circles. Do this a few times in each direction.
3. Static Lunges with Dumbbells: You may already be doing walking lunges, but static lunges really fry those thighs big time—especially if you're holding a heavy pair of dumbbells. Take one big step forward with your right leg and keep it there. Now drop your back knee to the floor nice and easy and then straighten it as you come back up. Do at least 10-12 reps on this side before switching legs.
Almost there! Finish your thigh sculpting routine with the moves on the next page. You'll be one step closer to looking great and fitting into your favorite swim suit just in time for summer.
4. Tip Toe Squats: Yes, you can squat on your toes. This move is an offshoot of a yoga pose that really puts a lot of tension on your thighs. Begin in chair pose with your legs together (so they are touching), your abs engaged and your chest tall. While keeping those legs pressing together, come up to your toes and stay there. From this position, lower a few inches like a squat and then come back to your starting position. Again, add some intensity by holding the squat at the bottom for a few seconds. Remember to squeeze your legs together during the movement and especially during the hold at the bottom. You'll feel this one...trust us.
5. Plié Squats: Unlike regular squats, plié squats put a greater emphasis on your inner thighs. Stand with your feet wide and toes pointing out on a 45-degree angle. Keep your upper body tall, your abs tight and bend your knees slowly as you lower your body into a squat position. Hold it for a few seconds and then push yourself back up. You can even go to your toes as you lower down into the squat and hold it in that position. This really puts the thighs to work.
6. Suitcase Pick-Ups: As you can probably guess by the name, suitcase pick-ups mimic the movement you would use as if you were bending down to pick up your luggage. Place a dumbbell of the same weight on the outside of your toes. Now squat down, keeping your upper body tall, and pick up the dumbbells by their handles and stand straight up. Now go back down the same way and put the dumbbells back down on the floor and stand up. Do a set of 12-15 of these before taking a break. Obviously, the heavier your dumbbells are, the more challenging this exercise will be for your thighs. You can substitute with kettlebells if you don’t have dumbbells available.
7. Inner Thigh Lifts: Lay down on your left side with your head propped up in your hands. Put your left leg out in front of your right and lift it straight up and down as much as you can while maintaining a straight leg. You don’t need a big movement to feel this one. You can make it more difficult by holding a body bar across the working leg or putting an ankle weight on it.
Throw one or two of these moves in as part of your lower body workout when your legs are primed and ready to go. Your legs, glutes and thighs will be bikini ready by the time swimsuit season rolls around!