If you want your thighs to get stronger and look better in a bathing suit, you need to work the major muscle groups including the quadriceps, hamstrings, abductors and adductors. Start by performing exercises without weights. Once you can complete three full sets of 20 repetitions of an exercise on both legs without using weights, add 2- to 3-pound ankle weights. Whenever you are able to complete three full sets with a given weight, increase the weight. Always use slow, controlled movements to maximize strength gains and minimize risk of injury. If your lower back or knees start to ache during or after exercise, reduce the weight you are using.
The quadriceps are the large muscles along the top of your thighs used to straighten your legs. To work them, either sit down with your back against a wall or recline with your nonworking leg bent and foot flat on the floor. Straighten your working leg and lift your foot 6 to 10 inches up from the floor and then lower. Next, place a pillow or rolled-up towel under the knee of your working leg, so your foot is resting on the floor and your knee is bent at approximately a 30-degree angle. While holding your thigh still, straighten your leg, then return to the starting position.
The hamstrings are the large muscles running along the back of your thighs, used to bend your knee. To exercise your hamstrings, lie face down on a flat surface with both legs straight. Holding your thighs still, bend one leg up as though you are trying to kick yourself in the buttocks and then return to the starting position; repeat with the other leg.
The abductor muscles lie along the outside of your thighs and function to move your legs apart. To work your abductors, lie down on your side with your body and legs forming a straight line. Lift your upper leg to a 45-degree angle and then lower.
The adductors are your inner-thigh muscles. Start by lying on your side with your legs and body forming a straight line. Using your upper arm for balance, angle your lower leg slightly in front of your body, keeping the inside of your knee pointed up toward the ceiling, and then lift your leg a few inches off the floor and lower it to the starting position.
Standing Thigh Exercises
If you want the strong, lean thighs of a ballerina, perform standing leg exercises. Stand with your knees straight and feet parallel, with one arm resting lightly on a counter for balance. Holding your upper body still and both knees straight, lift your foot a few inches off the floor, first in front of you, then to the side and then directly in back of you. Next, repeat these motions with your legs turned out at a 45-degree angle. Finally, while keeping the nonworking leg still, lift your working knee in front of you until your thigh is parallel to the floor and then lower it.
- Bodybuilding.com: The Best Exercises For Obtaining Sexy Thighs And Butt!
- American Council on Exercise: Side Lying Hip Adduction
- PhysioAdvisor.com: Hamstring Strengthening Exercises
- American Council on Exercise: Side Lying Hip Abduction
- Exrx.net: Hip Exercise Menu
- Exrx.net: Thigh Exercise Menu
- Oncolink.org: Exercise Descriptions
Carol Poster began writing professionally in 1974. Her articles have appeared in "Outdoor Woman," "Paddler," "Ski Magazine," "Women's Sports & Fitness," "Dance News," "Show Business," "The Athenian," "PC Resource" and "Utah Holiday," among other publications. Poster holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Eastern Washington University, as well as a Ph.D. in English from the University of Missouri.