The muscles and connective tissues in your inner and outer thighs work with other muscles in your legs and hips to stabilize your joints in place when you move. To get your lower body stronger and more toned, perform exercises that use multiple muscles and joints rather than isolating your inner and outer thighs, suggests Coach Vern Gambetta, author of "Athletic Development." Doing so will help you burn more calories in less time and develop better body awareness.
Jump Rope Combo
Any jump-rope exercise will develop cardiovascular endurance, rhythm, coordination and stamina. It requires little space and you can do it almost anywhere. Physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Athletic Body in Balance," suggests that you start with these three jump-rope exercises to develop a foundation: bounce step, single-leg hop and split stance. The bounce step is hopping with both feet close together, landing and hopping on your toes and the balls of your feet. The single-leg hop involves hopping on one leg while keeping your raised leg bent. The split stance is hopping with one foot in front of the other. Jump for 30 seconds in each jump with very little rest between exercises. Rest for about two to three minutes between each circuit and resume the sequence again. Increase the duration by 10 to 30 seconds each day. Give yourself a time goal to reach, such as three minutes or six minutes.
This exercise works on all of the muscles in your lower body as your upper body stabilizes to maintain balance and center of gravity. Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart, and hold a 15-pound dumbbell in each hand over your shoulders with your elbows close to your body. Squat down as low as you can while keeping your chest up and your heels on the ground. Exhale and stand straight up without rounding your spine. You can also emphasize your inner and outer thighs by standing with your feet together, step laterally to your left or right and squat down. After you stand up, return to the starting position.
Lunging in different directions challenges you to maintain your stability, coordination and balance while working your lower body. It mimics movement patterns that are required for many sports and activities. You can lunge forward, backward, to the side and at a diagonal angle from your starting position. Mix the different lunges in any order you wish.
Kettlebell swings use momentum generated by your hips and legs to swing a heavy object. They strengthen your hips and torso and improve your grip strength. Although your legs move little during the exercise, they are working to stabilize your lower body in place as your upper body moves. To do a swing, hold a 30-pound kettlebell with both hands and stand with your legs about shoulder-width apart. Let the kettlebell hang down in front of you with both arms straight. Start the swing by pushing your hips forward and back. The swinging motion should gradually increase. Exhale and swing the kettlebell between your legs without rounding your spine. Inhale and swing the weight in front of you with the bottom facing forward. Thrust your hips forward as you swing.
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- Athletic Development; Vern Gambetta
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.