The adductors and abductors are groups of muscles on the legs, more commonly known as the inner and outer thighs -- or, as many women like to refer to them, the "problem area." Thighs tend to be a common problem area because fat deposits like to settle here and can be difficult to get rid of. You don't have to rely on weights and special exercise machines to slim and sculpt your thighs. Use your own body weight with the right stretches to achieve long, lean legs.
Side Lunge Stretch
The side lunge stretch targets the hip abductors, helping to tone up those pesky outer thighs. Stand straight up with your legs spread far apart, your feet flat and pointed slightly outward. Lunge over to your right side, resting your hands on your hips, until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Hold in place, then return to your starting position before repeating to the left side.
Easy Toe Grab
To target the muscles on your inner thighs, the easy toe grab is an effective stretch to include in your routine. Sit on the floor with the soles of your feet together, holding your feet with your hands. Pull your chest and feet together slowly, keeping your hands around your feet for support. Hold for a few seconds, then move yourself back to your starting position.
Seated Wall Adductor Stretch
The seated wall adductor stretch uses the adductor muscles, helping to tone the inner-thigh area and improve flexibility in the hips. Sit on the floor with your legs fully extended, your feet flat against a wall. Sit tall with your back straight, focusing on your core. Start to move your buttocks toward the wall slightly, spreading your legs a bit farther apart as you move forward. Continue doing this until you feel a slight stretching in your inner thighs, and hold.
Seated Glute Stretch
The seated glute stretch is an effective stretch for targeting the abductor muscles, primarily the gluteus maximus. Start in a sitting position on the floor, palms flat on the floor behind you to give your body some support. Lean back slowly until your back is on a bit of an angle, with your legs in front of you and your knees bent. Cross your right leg over your left, and use your hands to push your chest toward your legs slightly. Hold then repeat with the other leg.
Reclining Goddess Pose
For a stretch that's relaxing but also helps slim and tighten the hip muscles, include the Reclining Goddess pose as part of your total routine. Lie back flat on the ground with your head on a block. Bend at the knees, with your feet flat on the floor. Slowly open your legs up so your feet are flat together, your legs as close to the floor as possible and your arms are fully extended out at your sides.
Stretches not only help slim and strengthen your body, but they also promote flexibility and balance, and can help with muscle soreness, making them an important part of your exercise regimen. Stretching can strengthen and tighten your thighs, but for maximum results, you also need to include cardio -- activities such as walking, cycling and rowing -- in your total workout routine to burn calories and lose body fat. A caloric deficit of 500 calories a day will help you lose about 1 pound of fat a week, safely. Don't try to spot reduce fat from your thighs; this is a myth and won't get you far. Instead, include full-body cardio workouts throughout the week to slim down those thighs.
Michelle Dawn has written professionally since 2005, covering a variety of topics over that time, the majority of that work focused on health and well-being. A Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Certified Yoga Instructor, she enjoys teaching others how to live their healthiest, happiest life.