How to Increase Intensity of Outer Thigh Leg Lifts

Outer thigh leg lifts can be done standing or on the floor.

Outer thigh leg lifts can be done standing or on the floor.

Outer thigh leg lifts work primarily the abductors, but they also work the glutes, quads, hamstrings, adductors and transverse abdominus. While outer thigh leg lifts can effectively work these muscles, you can work them more intensely by adding weights or using a cable pulling machine. Your preference for doing this exercise, either standing or lying on a mat, will determine how you increase the intensity. Try them both to really work your outer thighs.

On the Mat

Attach an ankle weight to your right ankle. Lie on a mat on your left side with your hips and legs stacked and your legs extended. Relax your right arm across your right side. Place your left arm extended under your head. Alternatively, you may use a dumbbell instead of an ankle weight. In this case, place the dumbbell in your right hand, resting it against your right thigh.

Lift your right leg about two feet off of the ground. Hold it in place for 10 seconds. Lower it back down to the floor. Repeat 12 times.

Remove the weight from your right ankle and place it on your left ankle. Position your right side of the body on the mat as you did for your left side in the first step. Repeat the exercise with your left leg.

On the Cable Pulling Machine

Bring the cable pulling machine to the lowest position.

Stand with your left side toward the machine. Attach the cuff to your right ankle. Place your left hand against the machine for support. Place your right hand on your hip.

Lift your right leg straight out to the side, as far as you can lift it. Slowly lower it back to the floor. Repeat this exercise 15 times. Change sides and do the same exercise with your left leg.

Items you will need

  • Ankle weights
  • Dumbbell
  • Cable pulling machine


  • Talk to your doctor before you begin any new exercise routine.

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Though constantly traveling the world, Julia Williams is based in Chicago and has been writing since 2006. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science in accounting. She is also a licensed fitness instructor, specializing in Pilates since 2003 and has written hundreds of articles on exercise and health.

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