While many fitness websites offer an extensive menu of leg exercises, few feature the best leg exercises for women.
Myths about Leg Exercises for Women
Despite numerous articles disclaiming its validity, many women still cling to the myth of spot reduction. Unfortunately, performing endless repetitions of side leg lifts will not reduce the size of your outer thighs or decrease inner thigh flab. This can only be done through diet modification and aerobic exercise. However, leg exercises can enhance muscle tone, which may improve the appearance of the legs. Additionally, adding more leg muscle can increase your metabolic rate. This means that your body will be burning more calories in its resting state.
Towel Training Leg Exercises
The slide board is one of the best aerobic and leg toning devices. However, the boards and booties can be pretty expensive. Fortunately, a board can easily simulated by using a towel on a wooden or linoleum floor. Place a hand towel under one foot. Slide the leg out to the side and then use your inner thigh muscles to drag the leg back to center. You can also use the towels for performing gliding rear lunges. As you slide your leg backward, bend your front leg. These exercises work well on newly waxed floors.
Side Leg Lifts
Side leg lifts can be performed for both the inner and outer thighs. Lift the top leg to work the outer thigh and lift the bottom leg to work the inner thigh. You can add resistance to these exercises by placing a weight on the inner or outer thigh, or by placing a resistance band around the ankles.
Inner Thigh Side Lying Exercises
To exercise the inner thigh, lie on one side. Align your body so that the top of your head, the base of your spine and your feet are on one straight line. Bend your top knee and place the foot flat on the floor in front of your bottom leg. Inhale to prepare. As you exhale, lift your straight bottom leg, keeping knee and foot facing directly ahead. Complete one set and then repeat on the other side. You can add challenge to this inner thigh by increasing the range of motion. Lie on a low bench and place the foot of the working leg on the floor.
Outer Thigh Side-Lying Exercises
Side-lying outer thigh exercises can be performed with a straight leg or a bent knee. The working leg can be kept at either a 180 degree or a 90 degree angle. When the leg is at an 180 degree angle, the outer thigh works harder. Bring the leg forward to a 90 degree angle will add some gluteal work.
For added leg definition, consider adding rotary movements to your side leg exercises. Lie on your side with both knees bent. Lift your top leg, keeping the knee facing straight ahead. Keep the leg lifted, open the hip joint and turn the leg out, so that the knee faces the ceiling. Turn the leg back to parallel and then lower it on top of the non-working leg.
Standing Leg Exercises for Women
To work the outer thigh from a standing position, place a resistance band around your ankles. Take a big step to one side with one leg and then bring the other leg in to meet it. Take eights steps to the right and eight steps to the left.
Stability Ball Leg Exercises
Many women have a muscle imbalance between the front of their leg and the back of leg. Since weak hamstrings can lead to knee injuries, it's important to perform extra exercises for the back of the leg. The stability ball hamstring curl is a perfect exercise for this purpose.
- Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ball.
- Lift each vertebra from the floor, until you are in a bridge position.
- Remain in the bridge as you bend and straighten your legs for 12 repetitions.
- Roll back down, letting each vertebra touch the floor.
Combine the recommended leg exercises for women with a healthy diet to improve leg appearance and overall fitness.