In this article we have provided six moves to help you complete your lower body goals. We are focusing on defining your thighs! We understand it is very easy to focus on shaping a perfect rounded bottom or washboard abs, but we also need to include the thighs to really define and shape your figure.
When we say inner and outer thighs, it is easy to get confused with how each muscle works, but it’s simple. These exercises combat both areas making it easier to follow, and define both at the same time, whilst also firming the glutes!
The best way to use these movements to benefit your inner and outer thighs is by; moving side to side or even changing your foot placement, this encourages the tendons and muscles to shift slightly to the specific target areas.
Your inner thigh comprises of three main muscles: the adductor magnus, the adductor longus, and the gracilis. These muscles originate in the pelvic area and run down toward your knee along the inside of your thigh. These muscles work as a unit to perform hip adduction and help stabilise the hips when you’re walking and running.
Setup: Hold a heavy dumbbell in front of you with both hands. Step your feet about double-shoulder-width apart, with your toes turned out between 45 and 90 degrees.
- Keeping your spine neutral, drop your hips straight down, lowering until your upper thighs are parallel with the floor.
- Your knees should stay directly above your ankles.
- Squeeze your glutes as you extend your legs to return to the start.
Tip: Don’t press your hips backward as in a standard squat. Instead, keep your torso erect throughout and press your thighs outward to maintain knee alignment.
Slider Curtsy Lunge
Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart and place your non-working toe in the centre of the slider. Hold dumbbells in both hands at your sides.
- Squat down on the working leg as you slide the non-working leg behind and across your body into a curtsy position, keeping your hips square.
- Maintain an erect torso and neutral spine throughout.
- Drive through the working heel and hip, and draw your rear foot back to the start.
- Do all reps on one side before switching.
Tip: If you lack the flexibility to slide the non-working leg across the body, direct it backward at about 45 degrees to activate the abductors on the working hip.
Setup: Choose a plyo box or bench that comes to about knee height. Hold a dumbbell in each hand and stand slightly behind the bench.
- Cross your outside leg over and in front, placing the foot firmly on the bench, toes pointing forward.
- Keeping your knee aligned over your foot, drive through the hip to step up onto the bench.
- Then step down with your other foot.
- Continue, alternating sides.
Tip: Do this move in front of a mirror so that you can watch your knee closely. If it starts to cave in or out, practice the step until you can maintain the knee alignment.
Setup: Secure a medium-weight band around your ankles and stand in a quarter-squat position — or “athletic” stance — with your feet a little wider than shoulder-width apart, toes forward or slightly turned out.
- Step to one side, keeping your torso stable (no leaning), knees bent in a squat position.
- Repeat in the same direction for reps, then reverse directions to target the opposite leg.
Tip: Stand as erect as possible throughout. If you lean to one side, you will be using momentum to stretch the band instead of challenging your muscles. You can also try moving the band over your thighs or going forward and backward at a 45-degree angle to change things up.
Lateral Switch Jumps
Setup: Stand with your feet hip-width apart, arms at your sides, and bend your knees slightly in a ready position (not shown).
- Hop and extend one leg out to the side, landing on the opposite foot and bending your knee deeply.
- Touch the ground with your fingers while keeping your back flat.
- Quickly extend your leg and jump up in the air, landing on the other foot and extending your leg out to the other side.
- Continue, alternating sides, at a smooth, even pace.
Tip: Always land softly, bending your knees and hips so your muscles, not your joints, absorb the shock.
Stability Ball Double Leg Raise
Setup: Lie on your side with your head cradled on your arm and your body forming a straight line from your shoulders to your ankles. Hold a small stability ball between your ankles and squeeze your legs together to keep it in place.
- Lift both legs and the ball up as high as you can, then slowly return to the starting position.
- Do all reps on one side before switching.
Tip: Squeeze inward against the ball to activate your adductors (inner thighs) as you perform the lift.