The inner thigh can be a tough area to target, which may explain why so many women have sworn off short-shorts for life. Many traditional lower-body exercises effectively work the quads, butt and calves, but fail to engage the inner thigh muscles enough to cause significant changes. For results you can see -- and feel -- you need moves designed specifically for this common trouble zone. Aim to complete three sets of each exercise at every workout, and limit yourself to two or three thigh workouts per week to allow your muscles time to rest and heal.
Stand with your heels touching and your toes pointed slightly outward. Raise up onto your toes, keeping your heels together, then slowly lower about halfway down into a squat; take care not to let your knees go too far past your toes. With your heels still touching, straighten back up and repeat until you've completed 12 reps.
Ball Inner-Thigh Squeeze
Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Position a stability ball between your inner thighs, and bring your legs up off the ground, knees bent at a 90 degree-angle and shins parallel to the floor. Contract your thighs to squeeze the ball and hold the squeeze for three counts before relaxing. Repeat for a total of 12 reps.
Lie flat on your back with your arms at your sides and your legs straight. Point your left toes and rotate the left leg slightly so that your big toe is turned toward the ceiling. Keeping the toe pointed and the leg straight, lift your left leg off the floor. Without raising your hip off the ground, use your entire leg to draw circles on the ceiling, five in the clockwise direction followed by five counter-clockwise. Lower your leg back down and repeat with the right leg. Continue switching legs until you've done 10 reps with each leg.
Side-Lying Leg Lift
Lie on your right side with your left leg crossed over your right and slightly bent at the knee. Slowly lift your bottom leg as high as you can manage, keeping the left leg glued in place so that both legs move together. Hold the move at the top for two counts and lower steadily back down. Complete 12 reps before switching to the other side.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and point your toes outward, holding one light- to medium-weight dumbbell with both hands in front of your belly. Slowly lower down into a squat while bringing the dumbbell straight up in front of you to shoulder height. Hold for two counts before standing back up and lowering the weight. Repeat for a total of 12 reps.
Kristen Fisher is a freelance writer and editor with professional experience in both print and online media. She has published articles on a wide variety of topics including health, fitness, nutrition, home and food, and her work has appeared in "Connections Magazine" and on Lifescript.com. She graduated from the University of Arizona with a degree in psychology.