Best Hip and Thigh Exercises

Friday, May 18, 2007 - 4:03pm

By Michele Silence, MA

You really want to change the shape of your lower body this year, and this time you're serious. What exercises are going to give you the greatest results in the least amount of time?

Which hip and thigh exercises give the best results?

First, it is important to know exactly what muscles to target. The quadriceps are the strong muscles in the front of the thigh. These are the ones that give a great cut visible from the side of the knee up. The gluteals are the rear muscles, and the hamstrings run down the back of the thigh. These are the muscles that give ice skaters those great looking legs and derrieres. Do not forget the adductors and abductors either. Those define the inner and outer parts of the thigh.

Hip & thigh exercises: how often and how frequent?

There are a handful of powerhouse exercises for the hips and thighs. Do them until the muscles tire. You should be able to accomplish that in 3 sets with 8-12 repetitions each. If not, increase the effort (squeeze hard on the adductor squeeze, tighten the band for the outer thighs/quads, and hold dumbbells for the squats). Do these 3 times a week faithfully, and you will see a definite improvement within 6 weeks.

Recommended Fitness Products for Hip & Thigh Exercises: 

- Professional 75cm Anti-Burst Exercise Ball
- Pilates Magic Circle (great for resistance)

One - Squats for both hips and thighs

Works: Gluteals, hamstrings, quadriceps.
To Do: Stand with feet hip distance apart. Sit backwards onto heels. Squat until hips are level with the knees and then stand back up.
Safety Note: To prevent stress on the knee joint, don't let hips drop below knee level or lean knees forward.

Two - Leg Extensions for better thighs

Works: Quadriceps.
To Do: Wrap a resistance band around your ankles. Extend the lower part of the leg until it's straight. Return to starting position.
Safety Note: Be sure band is tight enough to feel the resistance but not so tight that you can't reach your leg out into a straight line.

Three - Abductor press  to improve those outer thighs

Works: Outside of the thighs.
To Do: Wrap a resistance band around the ankles as in the above exercise. Lie on floor and open and close legs.
Safety Note: Keep knees slightly bent towards chest.

Four - Adductor squeeze to tone the inner thigh

Works: Inside of the thighs.
To Do: Place exercise ball between legs just above knees. Squeeze tightly and release.
Safety Note: Keep feet in as close as possible to keep knees and hips in alignment.