Would you rather have the thighs of a ballerina, a body builder or a flexible yoga master? Perhaps your goal is to build legs like a skater or skier. It doesn’t really matter. If you’re trying to shape lean, tight legs, the best exercises borrow from each of these activities.
So do you have to master each sport to get a better body? Nope. Simply train using techniques from each discipline to get strong, fit thighs that look fabulous. Try these 5 At-Home Exercises for Stronger Thighs.
This move is a great warm-up because it activates your core and stabilizing muscles in addition to targeting those inner thighs.
How to do it: Stand on your left leg with your hands clasped behind your head. Bend your right knee and swing your leg up and across your body, right foot flexed. Without putting your right foot down on the floor, sweep your right leg out to the right side. Repeat 10 times back and forth with the right leg, and then 10 times with the left.
Form tip: Brace your abs during the entire movement to help keep your balance.
Side Lunge Sweep
Side lunges are great for toning the inner and outer thigh region. The extra cross over in this move works your inner thighs even more and adds a balance challenge for the core.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips. Take a wide step out to your left side and lower into a lunge, bending your left knee and pushing your hips behind you. Push through your left heel and stand back up, crossing your left leg in your front of your body without touching the floor. Swing your leg back out to the left side and repeat. Do 15 reps with your left leg, and then 15 with the right.
Form tip: Focus on squeezing your inner thighs as you cross your leg in front of your body.
Sumo Squat Slide In
There’s a reason ballerina’s have amazing legs! Sumo squats (AKA grand plies) are awesome inner-thigh toners. The addition of the slide in this move forces your muscles to work even harder.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together, knees and toes turned out about 45 degrees. Take a wide step out to the side with your right foot, and squat down as low as you can. Keep your back straight, drop your hips low, and reach your arms to the ground in front of you. As you stand up, slide your right foot into your left, squeezing your legs together until your heels touch, and reach your arms overhead. Step back out into your squat with your left foot and repeat 20 times total, switching legs each time.
Form tip: Make sure to keep your knees pointing over your toes as you lower into your squat position.
Chair Pose Close
This move works both legs from multiple angles to help you get the most out of every rep.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together, hands on your hips. Lower into a narrow squat by bending your knees and pushing your hips back. Hold the squat position on your right leg and extend your left leg out to the side, pointing your foot. Lift your left leg off the floor and bring it in front of your body, squeezing your inner thighs until your knees are touching. Hold for 1 count and then lower your left leg back down to the side. Repeat 10 times on the left, and then repeat 10 times with the right leg.
Form tip: This one is a tough balance challenge, so hold onto a chair or a wall with your hand for support if you need to.
Side Shuffle Switch
This fast-paced move gets your heart rate up (to help blast body fat) and recruits your inner-thigh muscles to help you quickly switch directions.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides. ‘Shuffle’ to your right by taking three quick steps to the side (right, left, right), and then lift your left knee up, swinging your right arm forward. Immediately reverse your shuffle (left, right, left) and land with your right knee up, left knee bent, swinging your right arm forward. Repeat 20 times in a row as fast as you can, alternating sides.
Form tip: This move is fast and should keep a steady rhythm—try counting ‘1, 2, 3’ to help you stay quick and agile as you move from side to side.
Low Lunge with Isometric Adduction
This isometric contraction activates your inner-thigh muscles while also engaging the rest of your body—a much more effective way to train than those hip abduction and adduction machines at the gym.
How to do it: Stand with your feet together, arms by your sides. Take a wide step forward with your right foot and lower into a deep lunge position. Place your hands on the floor on the inside of your right foot. Press your right knee into the outside of your right shoulder. Squeeze and hold the contraction for 10 counts. Release and push off the floor with your right leg to return to standing. That’s one rep. Repeat with the left leg to complete 1 set. Do 3 sets total.
Form tip: Keep your arms pressed firmly into the floor to provide resistance to your leg as you press it into your shoulder.
Attitude to Side Extension
Another ballet-inspired move, this leg toner forces your inner-thigh muscles to engage to control the motion of your leg (without falling over).
How to do it: Stand on your right leg, right knee slightly bent, hands on hips. Lift your left leg into an ‘attitude’ position by bending your left knee and lifting your leg up and across your body, turning your left heel up as you lift. Next, open your left leg out to the side of your body, straightening your leg out into a full extension as shown. Repeat 15 times with your left leg and then 15 times with the right leg.
Form tip: Maintain good posture (like a ballerina) during the entire movement by keeping your spine tall, abs tight, and chest lifted.
Weighted Inner Thigh-Lift
This twist on a traditional inner-thigh lift uses your bodyweight to add an extra core challenge.
How to do it: Lie on your right side with your right elbow bent below your shoulder and your left hand behind your head. Extend both legs out and then bend your left knee up to the ceiling, placing the bottom of your left foot on the inside of your right knee. Hover your right leg slightly off the floor with your foot flexed. Next, engage your inner thigh to lift your right leg higher. Slowly lower your leg back to hover above the floor. Repeat 15 times and then switch sides for 15 more reps.
Form tip: Keep your abs in tight and try not to move your upper body as you lift and lower your leg.
This unique adduction exercise uses the added resistance of gravity to challenge your inner thighs.
How to do it: Get down on your hands and knees with your palms flat on the floor and shoulder-width apart. Without allowing your lower-back posture to change, raise your right leg and bring it under your torso, crossing it in front of your left knee. Turn your right knee out to the side and place the outside of your right foot on the floor. Squeeze your inner thighs as you lift your right knee up off the floor, maintaining contact on the floor with your right foot. Lower your knee and then repeat, 15 times total on each leg.
Form tip: Make this move even more challenging by lifting your entire leg (not just the knee) off the floor as you perform the adduction.
Side Plank Lift
Another leg lift variation, this one challenges your entire lower body as well as your arms and core.
How to do it: Lie on your right side and prop your upper body up on your right extended arm, palm flat on the floor. Extend your right leg straight out and point your toes. Bend your left knee and step your left foot flat on the floor just behind your right leg so that your hips stay stacked on top of each other in your plank position. Shift your weight into your left leg so that your right toe is lightly touching the floor. Squeeze your thighs together as you lift your right leg up to meet your left knee. Hold for 1 count and then lower. That’s one rep. Do 15 reps with your right leg, 15 with your left.
Form tip: Brace your abs in tight and try to keep your upper body still and your hips stacked as you lift and lower your leg.