The more lunges and squats you do, the stronger your quads, hamstrings, hips and glutes will be. The more you exercise, the better you'll look in your jeans. But those moves won't necessarily strengthen and tone your inner thigh area. To target your adductors and tighten your whole thigh, you'll need to incorporate some lateral side stepping exercises into your workout routine.
Pump your glutes up with cone assisted lateral shuffles. This drill exercise -- common with the soccer and football crowd -- tones the quads and outer thighs, as well. Even your obliques will thank you. The lateral shuffle is a side step exercise to build agility. An important exercise for goal keepers, the lateral shuffle and its variations -- the shuffle and stick, shuffle and push back and shuffle mirror -- all focus on increasing quick reflexes and agility. According to the National Strength and Condition Association, when doing a lateral shuffle, your feet need to be wider than your knees and pointed out.
The goal of the lateral push is to actively push away from where you're standing. This involves a forceful side movement that contracts the glutes and quads. The lateral push uses your whole body. As you push off, your arms propel you sideways and help stabilize you. This isn't an exercise for speed, notes fitness author Nathan Brown. In "Everything Krav Maga for Fitness Book," Brown suggests focusing on form and not speed with this lateral side step exercise. Instead, take time to perfect your push-off.
Side-to-Side Skater Jumps
Since this exercise begins in a half-squat with your feet crossed, and involves rapid arm and feet changes, it can be challenging. However, you'll feel the burn in your thighs, glutes and abductors. Try to jump higher with each switch off. Don't neglect your arms in this exercise. During a jump, put one arm behind you and the other arm in front. Use the arm in back to help stabilize you. The arm in front should come across your body in a swooshing motion, propelling you to the side.
You've mastered the lunge -- and your glutes thank you. Kick it up a notch by mixing your lateral side step and lunge work together. After all, a side lunge is still a lunge. It tones and tightens the same muscles -- your glutes and thighs. However, if you and your body are ready for the challenge, turn to the side and tone your adductors and abductors, or your inner and outer thighs. This exercise requires one dumbbell, but can be done without. Start with a light weight -- 5-to-10 pounds --and increase the weight for more resistance. Hold the dumbbell in front of your chest as you lunge.
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.