Your inner thigh muscles, or adductors, are responsible for helping your body move laterally in a side-to-side motion when playing sports like tennis or basketball. Unfortunately, few other activities fully utilize the adductors, causing them to easily lose tone. The thighs are a common location for excess fat storage. By focusing on losing fat and thoroughly training the adductors, you can achieve slimmer, toned legs.
Lose excess fat. No amount of inner-thigh targeted exercises will be able to tone the area if there is a layer of fat covering it. "Even if you performed a thousand inner-thigh leg lifts every day for a month, you won't burn any measurable amount of fat. You'd build muscle endurance, but that spot toning approach won't downsize your thighs," says Martica Heaner, Ph.D, contributor for MSN Health and Fitness. In order to lose excess body fat, reduce the number of calories you consume each day and increase the amount of cardiovascular exercise you do. The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise every week for weight control and good health.
Try a stability ball squeeze. Amy Dixon, group fitness manager at Equinox in Santa Monica, California, recommends this move. With a stability ball between your legs, lie flat on your back on the floor. Squeeze your knees together and hold the squeeze until "you want to cry," says Dixon. After going as long as you can, release the squeeze and rest for about a minute, the perform one more set. For an additional workout for the abs and back, lift your hips off the floor while you squeeze.
Do single-leg squats. Single-leg squats engage more of the adductor muscles because you are forced to balance your body weight and keep yourself stable using only one leg. Stand with arms by your sides and shift your body weight to the right leg while keeping your left toe on the floor for balance. Bend at your hips and knees and slowly sit back onto your right leg, as if you were sitting in a low chair. Keeping your knees in line with your toes, squat until your thighs are almost parallel with the floor. Hold momentarily, then push through the heel of your right foot to return to starting position.
Perform lying hip abduction. Tom Holland, exercise physiologist, recommends this exercise to target the inner thighs. Lie on your right side, stretch your right arm out underneath your head and left palm down in front of you. Extend the bottom leg while bending your left leg and placing left foot flat on the floor behind your right knee. Keeping your foot in neutral position, slowly raise the right leg, pause, then lower. After one set, repeat on the other side. For more of a challenge, add ankle weights.
Tips & Warnings
- Perform two sets of 10 to 12 repetitions of each of these moves two or three times a week in addition to your cardiovascular workouts.
- Photo Credit Buena Vista Images/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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