If you’re trying to sculpt leaner legs, these Pilates exercises can help streamline and shape your thighs. To get on your way to leaner legs, follow the instructions below and watch the accompanying video for a visual demonstration and trainer tips.
Begin these exercises by laying on your right side on an exercise mat. Rest your arm under your head for support and extend your legs out long. For optimal muscle engagement, be sure to lift your bottom rib off the mat and pull your abdominal muscles in. This first exercise, a leg lift, is designed to work the outer thigh.
- Inhale and point your toe as you lift your left leg up in the air, hip-high.
- Exhale and flex your ankle as you bring your leg back down.
Repeat several times, making sure not to lift your leg higher than your hip or you'll start working your obliques rather than your hip. The longer and harder you point your toes and reach your legs, the more you'll streamline the thigh. Staying in this same position, you can move on to challenge yourself with the next Pilates exercise for your thighs.
- With your left leg raised hip-high and your toes pointed, move your leg in small clockwise circles with little exhales. Envision drawing a quarter with your big toe to keep the circles small.
- Reverse the circle, making sure to keep the abdominals in, then lower your leg to rest.
From this position, you can go straight into the next exercise, which starts to get the inner thighs involved.
- Exhale and lift both your legs up off the mat, keeping them squeezed together. Your right arm can remain under your head; your left arm can be braced in front of you for support. Imagine that the bottom leg is lifting the weight of the top leg.
- Inhale to lower your legs back down to the mat.
To really challenge your inner thighs, the next is a variation of the exercise above.
- Start with your left leg raised hip-high.
- Lift your bottom (right) leg up to meet your other leg, squeezing your thigh to pull it up off the mat.
- Return your lower leg to the mat and repeat.
Keep your abs in and toes pointed to really engage those muscles. When you complete this exercise, take a moment to stretch by bringing your knees in and relaxing through the hip before turning to your left side and repeating the exercises on the other side. The second side is always a little bit more difficult, because the hips are already tired. If you do these exercises daily, it's a good idea to alternate your starting side for a more even workout. When practiced regularly, you'll start to see your thighs become more streamlined and shapely.