The key to developing toned inner thighs and hamstrings is a balance of calorie-busting cardio to rid yourself of excess fat and strength-training to build sleek muscle. Both sides of the equation are necessary as any layers of fat will obscure the muscle you are working so hard for. Balance the cardio with a healthy diet to be sure and expend more calories that you take in.
Toning and Strength Training Routine
Burn calories and rid yourself of fat with cardio exercise at the gym. Work out for one hour on a machine such as the treadmill, stationary bike or elliptical. Both the treadmill and elliptical mimc running so it comes down to preference, the treadmill is the most natural for many but the elliptical with rotating footpads is less impact on the knees. The elliptical also adds an upper body workout with swinging arm bars. The stationary bike burns fewer calories but is preferable for those with substantial weight to lose, by sitting your remove having to support your body weight and being able to focus on the workout.
Firm your inner thighs with weight machines at your gym including the leg press, adductor and abductor. The leg press works your entire legs including glutes and thighs and the adductor and abductor work the inner and outer thighs. As part of your routine do two sets of 12 repetitions on each machine. If you can't make it to the gym then do body-weight exercises from home. Squats with a wide stance target the inner thighs. Do a regular squat except place your feet just beyond shoulder width and lower down slowly keeping you chest lifted, sit back as if into a chair and shift your pelvis forward.
Firm and tone your hamstrings at the gym with the leg press and leg curl machine. The leg press works out the entire leg and the leg curl targets the hamstrings. From home do two sets of 15 walking lunges and kickbacks. Walking lunges involve standing with feet hip-width apart and stepping far forward with the first leg until the thigh is parallel to the floor and lifting your body up to meet that leg to continue with the other. During lunges keep your hands on your hips to stabilize yourself and avoid bending at the waist, keep your chest up throughout. To do a kickback go to your hands and knees on the floor and kick one leg up and back as if to step onto the ceiling, pause and switch. Pulsing the kickback movement while up gives an extra intense hamstring and glute workout.
- Choose a weight on your machine by testing low and moving upwards until you find the last repetition to be highly challenging but possible. As you become accustomed to a certain weight, move a step up with care.
- As with any new workout, learn to listen to your body's stress signals. Targeting a workout on one area can lead to overworking it. Do your cardio routine daily and give yourself a weight training break every other day. Body weight exercises can be done daily if you are not feeling overworked.
Grace Bordelon is a public relations professional, teacher and writer. She owns her own boutique public relations firm that specializes in the advertising, gaming and software industries. She also teaches at a major design school for fine artists, commercial artists and graphic designers. Bordelon holds a B.A. in international economics and an M.A. in English from Bard College.