Body basic: Outer thighs

By: Canadian Living

Author: Canadian Living


Body basic: Outer thighs

By: Canadian Living

Here are two exercises to help you strengthen and tone your outer thighs. You can't spot-reduce inches away, but you'll see real progress if you mix these conditioning moves with 30 minutes of aerobic exercise three times a week.

Outer thigh lying leg lift

This challenging lift, which has you working against gravity, will tone and strengthen the outer thighs of both legs at the same time. It complements the standing lateral lift with resistance band, below.

1. Lie on your side on the floor with your bottom knee bent at 90 degrees (with your foot out to the back) and your top leg fully extended, the inside edge of your shoe resting on the floor.

2. Prop yourself up on your bottom elbow, squeeze your buttocks tight, then lift your hips off the floor. Lift your top leg up, as pictured in photo.

3. Pause at the top of the lift for two to five seconds, then slowly lower your leg, then your hips, toward the floor.

Repetitions and sets
Perform only a few repetitions at one time, three to five times a week. Gradually increase the repetitions, aiming eventually to do 30 repetitions on each side.

Beginner's alternate
1. If you have trouble lifting your hips off the floor, prop yourself up on your elbow, but keep your hips and torso resting along the floor.

2. Squeeze your buttocks tight, then lift your top leg upward against the resistance of gravity or the downward resistance of your hand resting on your thigh.

3. Pause, then slowly lower your leg to the starting position, continuing to squeeze your buttocks to maintain muscle tightness.

Perform 10 to 30 repetitions on each side, at least three to five times per week.

Standing lateral lift with resistance band
Here's how to increase the challenge of the standing lateral lift. You can find resistance bands in most sports stores and in the sporting sections of some department stores.

1. Place the band around both ankles, with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart, or wide enough to place gentle tension on the band.

2. Stand tall with your abdominals tight, rib cage lifted, hands on hips and knees slightly bent. Keep your left foot facing forward. As you lift your right leg out to the side, turn your right foot outward; keep your hips and shoulders square.

3. Lift your leg only to the height at which you can maintain control and correct body alignment for a few seconds. Slowly lower your leg, but don't let your foot touch the floor. Pause at the bottom. Repeat the repetitions slowly: lift up for two to four counts, hold for two counts and lower for two to four counts.

4. Breathe throughout by exhaling as you lift and lower and inhaling as you pause.

Repetitions and sets
Repeat 10 to 20 times, then switch to other leg.

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Body basic: Outer thighs