The 8 Best Exercises for Inner and Outer Thighs

 

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Looking for more ways to work your thighs than endless squat and lunge variations? It's your lucky day. While you may already know spot toning doesn't really work, you can turn to certain moves that target your inner and outer thighs for some extra TLC.

These creative moves, designed and modeled by DanceBody creator Katia Pryce, work your thighs in ways you didn't know were possible. (But don't psych yourself out—while they may look fancy, they're actually simpler than you think.)

As you'll notice, the rep count for each move is pretty high since it's designed to completely fatigue the muscles on each leg. (This is also why you won't be switching sides after each exercise.) Thankfully, Pryce also provided a killer playlist (find it at the bottom of this article) that'll help you stay on beat as the reps fly by.

You can do all the moves using only your body weight but be sure to squeeze legs, glutes, and abs to create your own resistance. Otherwise step it up a notch with a resistance band (a.k.a. TheraBand) for the outer thigh moves and ankle weights (we used this 1.5-pound set from Sports Authority) for the inner thigh moves. And go slow: If you fake it by rushing the reps and kicking your legs around, you won't see results.

How it works: Start by lying on your left side and complete the prescribed number of reps for the outer thigh moves targeting the right leg. Then complete all the moves for inner thighs targeting the left leg. Repeat all moves on the opposite side. For best results, add these moves onto a cardio workout and repeat up to 5 times per week.

How To Tie The Theraband

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How to tie the resistance band: Stand with feet hip-width apart and tie band just above your knees. There should be light tension in the band.


Outer Thigh Moves

2 Pumps

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1. Two Pumps

Lie on your left side, supporting head with left hand, left leg bent, right leg extended, core tight, and right hip stacked directly on top of left hip. Flex right foot and lift toward ceiling: one pump to lift halfway up, one more pump to lift as high as possible. Lower in two distinct movements. (Do not allow hips to fall back, which would mean you're not engaging your core.) Do 30 reps per leg.

Check Mark

Check Mark front view

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Check Mark

Check Mark side view

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2. Check Mark

Start in the same position, lying on your left side. Point right toes and bring right knee in front of navel, squeezing abs. Extend right leg on a diagonal as far as possible. Do 20 reps per leg.

Up and Over

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3. Up and Over

From the same starting position as above, push up onto left forearm. Extend right leg, point toes, and move leg from front to back as if you were drawing an arch up and over left leg. Your goal: Get your right leg as perpendicular to your torso as possible at the front of the arch. Do 20 reps.

The Burner

The Burner front view

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The Burner

The Burner side view

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4. The Burner

Starting in the same position as above, bend right knee to chest with right foot flexed, engaging abs and right obliques. Touch right hand to ground behind you for added balance. Now point right foot and extend leg, bringing right hand back to front. Next squeeze glutes and bend right knee, bringing heel toward butt. Repeat the entire sequence 20 times.

Inner Thigh Moves

Single Sweep

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5. Single Sweep

Grab your ankle weights. From the same starting position lying on your left side, bend right knee and place right foot on the ground behind left leg. Now flex left foot and lift leg as much as possible, then lower until foot is 2 to 3 inches off the ground. Do 25 reps.

Heel Press

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6. Heel Press

From the same position, lift left leg 2 to 3 inches off the ground. Flex left foot, draw left knee toward chest, crunch abs, then press heel away, extending left leg without letting it touch the ground. Do 25 reps.

Combo

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7. Combo

From the same position, raise left leg 2 to 3 inches off the floor and flex foot. Bring left knee toward chest while engaging abs. Then extend left leg in front of you, so leg is perpendicular to torso, forming an L. Bend knee back to crunch position, then push heel away, extending hip to return to starting position. Do 20 reps.

Dancer Lift

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8. Dancer Lift

This doubles as an abs move. From the same position, point both feet and lift right leg high toward ceiling. With right hand, hold thigh, calf, or heel, depending on flexibility (avoid holding back of knee to protect your joints!). Brace core and draw straight left leg up to meet right leg. Slowly lower left leg with control. Do 20 reps.

 

Recap:

Outer Thigh Moves

1. Two Pumps
2. Check Mark
3. Up and Over
4. The Burner

Inner Thigh Moves

5. Single Sweep
6. Heel Press
7. Combo
8. Dancer Lift

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