What exercise will help me tone my outer thighs?

Focusing on proper nutrition and participating in a structured exercise program consisting of resistance and cardiorespiratory training are paramount to toning any part of the body.  This said, a great exercise that will help target and challenge the outer thighs and hips is tube walking: side to side.  Begin performing tube walking: side to side by placing elastic tubing around your ankles.  Stand with your feet pointed straight ahead and hip-width apart, knees slightly bent. Draw-in the belly button to tighten the abs and squeeze the glutes.  Next, while keeping the feet straight,  take small steps sideways, being careful not to hike the hips or move the upper body. Perform 10-15 steps and repeat in the opposite direction.

Exercises to tone your outer thighs include tube walking - exercise tubing that has cuffs for your ankles, then walk side to side, you can also use standard tubing, place the tubing under both feet, then step to one side, bring that foot back to the starting position, then do the other side. You can also us a cable machine and add weight. Most fitness centers have a abductor, adductor machine that will work both inner and outer thigh muscles. Also try lateral lunges - lunge side to side and fire hydrant body weight exercises. The fire hydrant exercise is performed on all fours on the floor, lift one leg out to the side - up to hip level, knee remains bent at 90 degrees, then back to the floor and repeat.

It’s important to remember that you cannot target a specific area for fat reduction, but you can target a specific muscle for strengthening and toning. Fat reduction can only be achieved through reduced calories and exercise for overall body fat reduction. So here are some exercises that can help tone or strengthen the outer thighs:

 1. Side walking with bands or tubing- with bands or tubing around your ankles, feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent facing forward. Remember to keep head and chest up with belly button pulled in. Step with one foot to the side as far as comfortable, and then bring the other foot along. Be careful to keep the hips square and the upper body with good posture. Take 10-15 steps, the repeat in the other direction so your muscles are balanced!

2. Side lying leg lift- Lying on your side, with your head all the way to the floor or on your elbow with your hand supporting your head, whichever is more comfortable. Top leg straight, bottom leg slightly bent. Pull your belly button in, and make sure there is a straight line from your chest to your toes. You will want to hold this position throughout the movement to target that muscle. Keeping your knee & toes pointing forward, raise the top leg as high as comfortable, then return to starting position and repeat 10-15 times. Turnover and do the other side!

In addition to tube walking, side to side lunges and fire hydrant body weight exercises a Plank With Alternate Leg Abduction works the outer thighs and also targets the core muscles.

Plank With Alternate Leg Abduction (move away from middle of body)

Start:  Lie face down on your stomach.  Place your elbows directly beneath shoulders, forearms on the floor palms facing down. 

Begin movement:  Brace abs, tighten glutes (butt), squeeze your shoulder blades back and down then lift your hips up so your body is parallel with the floor.  Your forearms, hands and the balls of your feet should be the only body parts touching the ground. 

As body remains parallel to the floor, move one leg out away from mid line of the body towards side. (visualize 1/2 a snow angel movement).  Return leg to starting position then switch legs. 

Alternate legs for specified number of repetitions.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.