Many women consider the inner and outer thighs their “trouble spots.” While spot reduction doesn’t work, eating a healthy diet and focusing on certain strength training exercises that target the thigh muscles can lead to a loss of both inner and outer thigh fat, which creates leaner, trimmer thighs.
Thigh Toning Exercises
Beginners may want to start off performing the following exercises with no weights and just using body weight as resistance. Once strength is built up in the leg muscles, some sort of added resistance will be needed to further results, whether the resistance is from free weights or resistance bands. Also, more than one set of 12 to 15 reps can be performed with the following exercises.
Squats: To perform a traditional squat, stand with feet shoulder-width apart and hands at sides. Make sure the head is straight and facing forward. Slowly lower the body as if attempting to sit down in a chair, bending at the knees and hips, pushing the hips slightly back. Stop once the thighs are parallel to the floor or as low as possible without experiencing pain, making sure knees remain over ankles and not just out past the toes. Slowly push back up into a standing position, squeezing and engaging thigh muscles on the way up; repeat for 12 to 15 reps.
Some squat variations include one-legged squats, wall squats with or without a stability ball, and the feet can be positioned in a wide-legged stance or should-width stance.
Lunges: Targeting major muscles in the lower body, lunges are as effective for thigh toning as squats. Lunge variations include walking lunges, side lunges, and reverse lunges.
To perform a standard lunge, stand straight with feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with the left leg, with the left foot landing two to three feet from the starting position. Lower the body slowly by bending the left knee, while the upper body remains upright. Lower until left leg is parallel to the floor. Make sure the left knee remains over the ankle and does extend forward beyond the toes. With most of the weight balanced on the heel of the left foot, push up and back to the starting position. Perform 12 to 15 reps per leg.
Side Leg lifts: Standing or lying side leg lefts target the upper outer thigh area. To perform a side leg lift lying down, lie on the floor on the right side either propped up on a bent right arm or with head propped up on right hand with the elbow bent, legs straight, one on top the other. Slowly raise left leg until foot is slightly above head level, hold one second, and slowly lower back down, stopping the left foot approximately an inch before it touches the right foot. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps and repeat for the right leg.
Inner thigh lifts: Inner thigh lifts can also be performed either standing or lying down, with added resistance from an ankle weight or a resistance band. To perform inner thigh lifts, lie on the right side flat on the floor. Place bent right arm directly underneath the head or rest head on right hand, elbow bent. Bend the left (top) leg and cross over in front of right leg. Rest left hand on the floor or the entire left arm on the hip. Keeping the right leg straight, user the inner thigh muscles to lift the right leg about six inches off the floor, and then slowly lower the leg back to the floor. Repeat for 12 to 15 reps and repeat the sequence for the left leg.
Losing Body Fat
Exercise alone will not produce toned and firm thighs. In addition to performing specific thigh toning exercises, losing overall body fat is important when trying to tighten and tone thighs. The best way to reduce overall body fat is to eat healthy and include both intense cardio and strength training exercises in a workout regimen.