No matter how much exercise we do, it seems as if our inner thighs just won’t get toned. You might have fantastic calves from jogging or a great ass from stair climbing, but you still can’t put on a pair of thigh-highs without cringing, can you?
I’m in the same boat. My thighs were once so big and soft they reminded me of jelly. Even now they’re larger than I’d like and composed more of cellulite than muscle, I’m sure.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Really, it doesn’t. There are ways to tone up your inner thighs and get those perfect, sculpted legs you’ve always wanted.
The best inner-thigh exercises don’t even require fancy equipment or strenuous regimes. Inner-thigh muscles are stubborn. They resist getting in shape. But you can tame them with nothing more than dedication and a few simple props.
Here are the five best inner-thigh exercises for women to do right now in the comfort of your own home. That’s right: You don’t even have to venture out to the gym. You can improve your thighs in the comfort of your living room while wearing your favorite sweat pants.
#1 Kick a Box
One of the best inner-thigh exercises is also one of the easiest. In fact, if you’ve ever moved from one apartment to another, you’re already a master of this move. Kicking a box around is one of the best inner-thigh exercises, and all you need is a box of old books.
Here’s what you do:
First you have to find an empty cardboard box. This shouldn’t be too difficult, as most of us have plenty of small boxes in the attic or closet. Unpack the photo albums, find a new place for your Magic Cards collection, and free up a box. You can reorganize later.
Once you’ve got a box it’s time to fill it with something heavy. Old books are perfect. If you can’t put your hands on enough books, try canned goods.
You don’t need a lot. The total weight should be five or 10 pounds. In the unlikely event you need more, you can add a few cans of soup. But toning up doesn’t require a lot of weight, and you don’t want to overwork your knees – especially if you’re a beginner.
Now set the box on the floor and start kicking. Hardwood and linoleum floors work best, but wall-to-wall carpet can be okay too. You’ll just want a little less weight because of the added resistance.
A few words about kicking are in order here. You don’t want to apply any lift to the box. You’re not looking to make it fly through the air and land on the coffee table. For the maximum benefit, you want to push it forward a few inches with the inside edge of one foot, then a few inches more with the other.
This is the way soccer players “dribble” the ball. They advance forward while using the inner sides of their feet to keep the ball centered in front of them. That’s what you want to do with the box of books and beans. Slide it forward gently while keeping it positioned between your feet.
You don’t have to move fast. You don’t have to keep it up for long. This exercise works magic on your inner thighs with just a few repetitions. If it gets too easy, add a little weight. If you find the exercise makes you work too hard, decrease the weight. Nice and easy does it.
Kickboxing is far more aggressive than kicking a box. It requires a lot of energy and substantial stamina. It also requires a kicking bag.
I’ll tell you about kicking bags in a moment. But first let me confess that I find kickboxing immensely satisfying.
I always feel like a badass when I’m kickboxing. I feel powerful and cool. That’s one of the reasons this exercise is so effective at toning the inner-thigh muscles: because it makes you feel awesome, you’ll do it for longer periods.
A kickboxing bag is a floor version of a boxing bag. It’s sturdy and immobile. It’s easy to find used ones in online listings, and they’re pretty affordable. If you don’t have space for a bag of your own, you’re likely to find one at your local gym.
Remember how I told you to use your inner foot and kick the book-box around the floor? Kickboxing is the same. But instead of pushing a box with your feet, you stand in front of the bag, raise one leg, and kick with your inner calf.
I like to twist my whole upper body with each kick so I attack the bag with maximum strength. It increases the badass factor.
It may help to picture yourself as an actor in a Bruce Lee martial-arts movie. (You can find some good samples of Lee’s work on YouTube.) Notice how his body turns as he swings his leg up and makes contact with his inner foot or calf. This is exactly what you’ll try to achieve while kickboxing.
You’re not Bruce Lee, of course, so you’ll need to take it easy, especially at first. Don’t kick too high. Use only as much force as you need to, not as much as you can.
An introductory kickboxing class can help you fine-tune your approach and find the optimal strategy for attacking the bag and your cellulite at the same time.
#3 In-Line Skating
I’ve recommended a couple exercises here, but the truth is I hate exercising. I really do. I can’t stand jogging because I have bad knees. I can’t stand walking because it bores me. And I can never seem to afford a gym membership. Let’s face it, some women were not meant for exercise. Apparently I am one of them.
I do, however, love goofing off.
Seriously, if I can do something fun and youthful to avoid the fact that I’m pushing 40, I’ll take it. That’s exactly why I recently purchased a pair of roller skates.
Have you ever watched women’s roller derby on television? It’s a contact sport in which two teams of women compete on a roller track for points. There are lots of rules and subtleties, but the important thing is that the first time I saw it I wanted desperately to be one of those women. So I did some research.
Roller derby is a risky sport: Broken arms and sprained ankles are common, and serious injuries are not uncommon. But it’s also great for building confidence. And some of the best professional players are ladies in their forties.
I got so excited as I read about roller derby that I bought a pair of roller skates on eBay. The day they arrived I spent 20 minutes skating slowly and precariously around the bike path in my neighborhood.
The next day my legs ached like crazy, which taught me two things. First, I am very out-of-shape. Second, roller skating is great for your inner thighs. The way you move your legs and the weight of the skates tone the inner thigh muscles like nothing else!
I did a bit more research and learned that in-line skates and ice skates are even better medicine for flabby inner thighs. I haven’t worked my way up to in-line skates yet – my traditional roller skates still represent a challenge to my ambition to remain upright. But I can vouch for ice-skating. I have felt that burn in my thigh muscles, even in the cold heart of winter.
If you want to get some fun exercise and you don’t mind looking like an idiot as you learn to keep your balance, get yourself a cheap pair of roller skates or in-line skates and head outside. Oh, and buy a helmet and some knee pads. Honestly, you’ll need them.
#4 The Scissors
Okay, so far I’ve given you three inner-thigh exercises that all require some form of prop or equipment. Here’s one that doesn’t require anything more than your legs and your time.
One of the best inner-thigh exercises is the scissors exercise. You probably remember this from elementary school.
This simple exercise slowly and gently tones up your muscles. There’s no strenuous workout involved and you don’t have to buy any equipment. All you need is a little room in the floor.
It is true that some people pull out an exercise mat for exercises like this, but I’ve always been just fine doing this one on the living room carpet. Besides, I’m in the comfort of my own home. There’s nobody there to judge me for wearing my beat-up sweat pants and lying on the rug. I hate spending money on unnecessary exercise gear.
To do the scissors, lie on your side and prop your head up with your arm. You know those sexy photo shoots where the woman’s on the bed facing the camera, one hand holding her head and the other draped sensuously over the curve of her hip? You’re going to get into that position, more or less. The coy pout is optional. Keep your legs straight and your toes pointed.
You have now taken on the shape of a closed pair of scissors. See?
Now lift one leg slowly, then ease it back into place just as slowly. If you’re on your right side, then you’ll lift your left leg in the air, hold it for a few seconds, and then bring it back down.
When you do this exercise, flex your foot in and out as well, in with the first lift, out with the second lift, and so on. That will strengthen your calves.
I recommend bringing your leg only part of the way back down so your muscles really have to struggle to support your movements. The longer you can hold your leg halfway up, the more intense the workout for your inner thighs. That burn is the exercise working.
Do a repetition of 20 leg lifts for each leg every day and you’ll quickly see the results.
#5 Everybody Plié!
Did you take ballet as a child? I did. I begged my parents to let me take lessons. I was truly terrible at it, but my legs never looked better.
One of the best inner-thigh exercises you can do is a move from first-year ballet. You don’t need any equipment for this one either, just a wall to brace yourself on.
Stand beside the wall, about an arm’s length away. Make sure you have plenty of room to bend your knees without banging them against the wall.
Start the plié with your heels together and your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees slowly, keeping your heels together. When you’re as low as you can go, rise slowly. Remember to keep your heels together and on the floor.
Once you’re back in standing position, slowly raise yourself up to your tip-toes, keeping your feet pointed outward. Your heels will stop touching as you rise. When you’re standing on your tip-toes, slowly lower yourself back down. Use the wall to brace yourself so you don’t lose your balance.
A good plié will make you ache. I just did one so I could describe it for you, and I can feel it in the back of my calves. It’s a very good move for all of your leg muscles and it doesn’t require any special equipment.
Once you’ve gotten past the beginner stage, try adding some dumbbells to your routine to strengthen your arms and tone your inner thighs faster. You can even put ankle weights on when you do your pliés or scissors to add some resistance.
After sampling all of these exercises as research for this article, I’ve decided I’m going to stick with skating. It really is fun, and who knows? Someday you might see me racing around the track with my teammates in a televised roller derby match.
Which of these inner-thigh exercises for women are you going to try?