If you’ve been aching for lean legs and toned inner thighs, this is for you. A collection of nearly 60 muscle-sculpting moves to work all areas of the thighs (and more!) will be more than enough to get you well on your way to those gorgeous gams you’ve been envisioning. Beginners should create a sequence of the moves below and complete three sets of 10-15 reps. Those at advanced levels should create a sequence of the moves below and complete each move as many times as possible for 60 seconds.
1. Plank Jacks
This exercise adds a whole new level of heat to your traditional plank!
- Step 1: Place your hands on the floor directly beneath shoulders in push up plank position. Your body should form a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels.
- Step 2: Jump your feet out to the sides, and then back to center. Do not let your stomach sag or arch throughout the movement.
- Modification (Beginner): Instead of jumping, step alternating legs out to the side and then back in.
2. Plié Squat Into Side Kick:
- Step 1: Assume a wide stance with your legs two to three feet apart, toes turned out. Place your hands on your hips, or clasp them in front of your chest.
- Step 2: Press your hips back and lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor; keep your back straight, core tight and keep weight in your heels.
- Step 3: Pause, then press yourself back up to standing. As you stand, shift the weight into your left leg, and lift your right leg off the floor. Kick your right leg out to the side, trying to get it parallel to the floor.
- Step 4: Bring your leg back to Step 1. Complete all reps on this side, then repeat on the opposite side.
- Modification (Beginner): Decrease your range of motion by limiting the depth of your squat and keeping your kick low. You can also break the moves apart: do a plié squat, stand up, then kick.
3. Side Climber:
You will really feel the burn with this variation! Focus on keeping your back straight and your gaze down — and don’t forget to breathe!
- Step 1: Place your hands on the floor directly beneath shoulders in push up plank position. Your body should form a straight, diagonal line from your head to your heels. Feet should be touching.
- Step 2: Tightening your core, jump your feet to the right, bringing your knees toward your right elbow. Your torso will twist to the right.
- Step 3: Jump your feet back to plank. Repeat on the opposite side. That’s one rep.
- Modification (Beginner): Instead of jumping, step legs one at a time towards your elbow and then one at a time back into plank.
You will feel this move all through your legs! Just make sure to keep your shoulders back as you step to maintain good posture.
- Step 1: Place a step or bench in front of you. Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides and stand facing the bench. Tighten your core and keep your gaze straight ahead.
- Step 2: Bring your right knee up and place your foot on the bench. Press into your right foot to straighten into standing position on the bench.
- Step 3: Slowly lower yourself to the starting position and switch legs.
5. Single Leg Calf Raise:
You can do these on a weighted calf machine or on some sort of platform, even a stair without weights in your own home. Do at least 20-50 reps on each side for 3 sets. Calves respond to higher reps, and not a lot of weight is needed as we are looking to tone, not necessarily make them larger.
- Step 1: Start in standing position, holding a chair or body bar beside you for balance.
- Step 2: Wrap your right foot around the back of your left leg.
- Step 3: Rise up onto your left toes and hold this position for a brief moment before lowering back down. Complete all reps on this side, then repeat on the opposite side.
6. Gliding Leg Crossovers:
This move is intense with gliders and really targets those thighs! Remember to keep everything in nice and tight—that means not only your core, but your glutes, too!
- Step 1: Position your hands as needed to allow full extension of your body without any bend at the hips or knees. Brace your torso by engaging your core muscles. Contract your glutes and quadriceps (butt and thigh muscles), and align your head with your spine. Place your feet together with your toes tucked towards your shins. Have each foot on top of a glider.
- Step 2: Exhale and gently draw one foot in front of the other as your hips rotate to the same side your foot is moving. Do NOT allow your hips and low back to pitch upwards or sag down towards the floor.
- Step 3: Continue to move until your hips cannot rotate any further. Your head and shoulder should remain level throughout the exercise. Pause very briefly.
- Step 4: Reverse the rotation until you return to the starting position. Immediately perform the rotation on the other side.