Squeezing a small air-filled or weighted ball – or a rolled towel – between your thighs as you perform the side leg lift lets you strengthen, define and tone your inner thighs. It also helps activate the deep muscles of your core, including the pelvic floor and transverse abdominus. The more muscle you recruit, the better results you’ll get. This effective exercise is also safe for women who are pregnant.
• Lie on your side, with your hips, shoulders and knees in line and your head resting on your bottom arm. Place a ball or rolled up towel between your thighs just above your knees and squeeze firmly.
• Pull your abs in and lift your ribs off the floor. Push your heels away from your hips and straighten your legs (A).
• Squeeze your glutes to stabilize your pelvis; rotate your top leg slightly, so your toes point toward the ceiling.
• Lift both legs off the floor as you exhale; pause for a few seconds (B).
• Inhale as you lower your legs.
• Repeat eight times on one side, holding two to three seconds for each repetition; switch sides and repeat. Perform two sets on each side. Do this three times per week.
What not to do
• Do not lean back in an attempt to lift your legs higher.
• Do not let your abs go slack.
• Gluteus maximus
• Gluteus medius
• Abductors/outer thigh
• Adductors/inner thigh
• Deep abdominals including pelvic floor muscles
Quality counts: How you do each repetition matters more than how many you do. The more muslce you build, the more calories you burn, even at rest.
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