Want killer thighs that are toned, strong and perfectly primed to help you burn more fat?
Studio 5 Health and Fitness Contributor Melanie Douglass shares 5 great exercises to help you achieve terrific thighs!
Perform each exercise for 1 minute, then repeat the circuit three times.
Exercise #1: Ball Squeeze Squat
Place a small ball (like a soccer ball) or a roll of paper towels between your knees. Make sure your knees and toes are pointing straight forward then press your hips back and lower down until you feel your leg muscles fire up (don’t go past a 90-degree bend at the knee). Hold it – then really squeeze the ball using your inner thigh and glute muscles. Slowly bring it back up. I like to go 2 counts down, hold 4 at the bottom, then 2 counts back up. But play different times for added variety!
Exercise #2: Swing Lunges
Start with your feet about shoulder width apart, toes forward. Swing your right leg out in front at hip level, then in a controlled manner, swing it back (without arching your back, the point here is to contract the glutes), swing it back to the front and drop into a deep lunge where your front knee is aligned directly above you front toes and your back knee is bent but not touching the floor. The move swings front-back-front-lunge. Repeat on other leg. This is a “walking” type of movement. You’ll need a space that allows you to do 4 -8 in a row, then turn around and do another lap.
Exercise #3: Plyometric Stair Squats
This exercise is best performed using the bottom step in household stairs, but if stairs are not an option, then it can be done on the floor.
Stand behind the first/bottom stair. Feet shoulder width apart and toes forward. Push down and jump up powerfully to land on the stair. Land with your weight pressing through your heels and your hips back. Then jump back down and land on the floor. Pushing through the heels and keeping the knees directly above your toes (don’t let your knees jet forward past your toes).
Exercise #4: Stiff-leg Dead Lift
You’ll need weights or full milk jugs (or a similar object) for this exercise, which targets your hamstrings and glutes. Stand with feet shoulder width apart, toes forward. Hold the weights right in front of your thighs. Bend forward from your hips – without letting your back round over – and lower the weights down until they are in front of your shins or ankles. The weight should stay close to your legs. Keep your legs straight and use your hamstrings and glutes (contract them!) as you bring the weight back up.
Exercise #5: Speed Skate
This is a cardio/sculpting exercise. It will elevate your heart rate while burning up your glutes and outer thighs. Leap to the right staying low to the ground; land on your right leg with your knee bent, slightly bending forward from your hips and with your right arm swinging high above your head. The left arm should be tucked near your left shoulder. Think of leaping “wide” to the right and not up. You want to powerfully push off the ground and land solid, like you catch yourself. This will engage your glutes and thighs. Then leap to the other side. Do a few slow to make sure you’ve got the correct form and technique, then go quicker and really pump it!