Let’s get one thing straight: This workout has nothing to do with getting ‘thigh gap’ or ‘skinny thighs.’ Because if you want a body that’s strong enough to support you through challenging workouts, awesome runs and plain old everyday challenges like climbing stairs, you want strong, toned thighs — not scrawny ones.
“It’s important to strengthen the whole thigh, and these moves target front, back, inner, and outer thighs, because all of these muscles are working together to support the knees,” says Daily Burn 365 trainer Cheri Paige Fogleman. “Doing squats are great, but the proof is in the pudding when we can feel strong and supported while walking up and down stairs or crouching down to pet a dog.”
This workout from Fogleman is simple enough to do anywhere — and you can even squeeze it in before or after your regular routine. Complete 15 reps of each exercise, running through the entire routine three times. We promise you’ll feel the burn!
The Ultimate Outer and Inner Thigh Workout
1. Basic Bridge
What makes glute bridges an excellent inner and and outer thigh exercise is that you have to engage all of your thigh muscles to reach full extension and maintain balance. Glute bridges are especially good for strengthening the pelvic floor, a key area for pregnant women.
How to: Lie flat on the ground, hands by your side. Engage your glutes and thighs to lift your hips off the ground (a). Squeeze your glutes at the top and return to starting position (b).
2. Side Lunge
This lateral lunge exercise tones your thigh muscles through abduction and adduction. It also challenges your balance because you need to re-adjust your bodyweight as you move from side to side.
How to: Stand upright, feet hip-width apart. Step out to the side with you your right leg, toes pointed forward, coming into a lunge. Make sure your knee stays behind your toes (a). Engage your glutes and inner and outer thighs to return to standing (b).
RELATED: 5 Power Lunges for Killer Glutes
3. Plié to Lunge
Plié essentially means bending of the knees. In the compound exercise above, you’ll perform a demi plié, so you’ll lower into a half bend in your knees before transitioning to a lunge. The key to getting the most out of this exercise is to squeeze your thighs and glutes.
How to: Complete a plié squat, with your toes pointing outwards to 45 degrees. At the bottom of your plié, shift your weight onto your right foot, bend your right knee and move into a lunge, lowering until your left knee almost touches the ground (a). Return to a plié squat and repeat on opposite side (b).
Want more no-equipment toning moves? Head to dailyburn.com/365 to get a new 30-minute workout every day.
Originally published November 2015. Updated February 2018.