7 Leg Toning Exercises To Tighten Up Your Hips and Thighs

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Sometimes the simplest tasks seem like the hardest no matter how much work you put into them. Is it possible your work is being performed incorrectly? Could that explain the lack of results? Most gym-goers are well aware of the different cable exercises for the inner and outer thighs and they have tried them at one time or another. The downfall is that 80% of the time they are being performed incorrectly with ballistic-style movements which lack stability and which completely misses the point of the movement! If you rush your leg training, it will literally get you nowhere!

Some of the key things you need to remember when doing these types of exercises for your legs, hips and thighs is to keep your back straight by bringing your shoulders back and your chest out. Keep your hips in a squared position facing in the same direction as your head. Always concentrate on the specific muscle group being trained and move with slow and controlled tempo at all times. The exercises shown below will be performed using high repetitions with light weights. Some key tips to focus on include:

  • Use strict form at all times.
  • Spot yourself using the handles on the machine.
  • Use slow and controlled tempo.
  • Avoid bouncing or jerky movements.
  • Keep your upper body very still.
Outer Thigh with Cables

Outer Thigh with Cables

Glute Extension with Cables

Glute Extension with Cables

Inner Thigh with Cables

Inner Thigh with Cables

Using a cable machine is not your only choice when it comes to training your hips and thighs in the gym. If you have access to exercise bands you can train at home very conveniently by mimicking the above motions and anchoring your band against a door or other stable object. Bands come in extremely handy and provide an excellent toning workout for your lower body.

Another great option at the gym to target your inner and outer thighs is using a dedicated thigh combo machine which is designed specifically for stimulating this area. These exercises are called abductors (outer thighs) and adductors (inner thighs). Unfortunately, this machine does not have a gluteal component so you have to use a multi-hip machine to target your booty.

thigh-toning-exercises-machine

When using the multi-hip machine for toning your glutes, you want to push the leg backwards while keeping your pelvis neutral and avoid arching your back which will take the pressure off of your butt muscles. The handles are very useful for helping keep your technique and form spot-on. Don’t forget to adjust the height of the hamstring pad so that you can bend the working leg at about 90 degrees which will help prevent your hamstrings from taking over and doing most of the work. You can alternate sides by easily adjusting the machine.

Multi-Hip Machine

Multi-Hip Machine

Another simple and effective way to train your thighs at home, at work or while traveling is to use a couple of light dumbbells or ankle weights for resistance. Dumbbells are a little easier on your joints than using weights attached to your ankles. However, you can always place the ankle weights directly on your thighs for a great workout while keeping the tension off of your joints.

Lying Inner Thigh with Dumbbell

Lying Inner Thigh with Dumbbell

Lying Outer Thigh with Dumbbell

Lying Outer Thigh with Dumbbell

Ironically, I am discussing the warm-up portion of the workout last but it should always be performed first! Before you do these exercises there is a great way to warm up your legs and get them prepared for the work ahead. Getting the blood flowing is a wonderful way to loosen up your muscles before beginning your thigh workout. This can be done at home or in a hotel room with just a simple phone book. All you have to do is step up and place one foot onto the phone book and then extend your leg back and place the emphasis directly on the glutes. Repeat this movement with each side for about 5 minutes. Finish with an inner and outer thigh stretch and then you can get started with your workout!

Training Chart:

  • Sets: 3-5 (2 for beginners)
  • Reps: 15-30 slow and controlled
  • Rest: average 2 minutes between sets (you can stretch between sets)
  • Times per week: 2-3
  • Intensity: light to medium

By implementing the exercises above into your leg training routine, you will be able to target your hips, thighs and glutes with excellent shaping movements to really help tone and tighten up this area. It’s also important to include effective cardio exercises like sprints, running stairs and doing box jumps to burn lots of calories so you can lose body fat and get a toned physique!

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About Author

Linda Cusmano

Linda is a national level fitness and figure pro who dabbles in bodybuilding competitions, obstacle and strength challenges along with fitness model competitions. She is a triple certified elite personal trainer and the owner of Body Rush Personal Training. See my profile page for more information!

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