The fleshy portions of your upper-leg muscles -- your quads and hamstrings -- or "the thighs," can make or break skinny jeans and short shorts. And every woman's familiar with the summer-long quest for swimsuit-ready legs. So it's fortunate that you can skip the gym and stay home. Slim down and shape your thighs with a trampoline -- backyard or a mini-trampoline. Mix lower-body exercises into a cardio trampoline routine. Jumping alone burns 290 calories each hour.
Limber up your muscles with a brief cardio-charged warm-up. Mix jumping jacks with fast-paced walking, or hop on a bike and take a spin around the block.
Warm up for five minutes and then stretch. Start with your lower body since you'll be focusing on the thighs. Warm those puppies up with quad stretches.
Prep your thighs with walking lunges. Extend your right leg back while lunging forward with your left. Lunge until your knee forms a 90-degree angle and then bring your right leg forward. Take your left leg back and lunge with your right leg. Walk forward, lunging 10 times on each leg or until your quads are stretched.
Stretch all of your muscle groups -- from the calves to your neck -- before jumping, but make sure to warm up those thighs.
Step onto the trampoline. Find your balance on a large trampoline before doing any exercise, and make sure the trampoline is debris-free and you're jumping solo. Hold onto the stabilization bar for balance, if you're using a mini-trampoline, or rebounder, and it has this feature.
Cinch your abs and begin with slow, controlled bounces. Keep your legs straight and take tiny jumps into the air, landing softly until you build momentum.
Jump higher and land with your legs shoulder-width apart and knees bent, and arms down and to the back. Jump up with your legs together. Bring your arms forward and up, and point your toes toward the trampoline. Jump vertically, tightening your quads as you jump up and relaxing them as you land, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Spread your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width distance. Point your body forward and tighten your tummy. Straighten up and pull your shoulders back.
Contract your thighs and glutes, and lower your bottom to the floor. Stand and repeat the squats, lowering your glutes as far as they will go with each rep.
Move your arms to the front as you squat down, and to the back as you stand, to help with balance.
Energize your thighs, and your heart rate, with plyo rebounders. Begin by standing next to a mini-trampoline.
Bend your knees and explode up and onto the trampoline. Keep your arms at your sides and swing them forward as you jump. Land on both feet, but step off the trampoline one foot at a time.
Repeat the jump eight to 12 times or until your thighs are fatigued, and alternate your step-off leg.
- Check with your doctor if exercise may aggravate a recent injury or medical condition, or if you're new to exercise.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.