Seven Tips to Tone Your Hips & Thighs
Toned hips and thighs are a key part of the ideal “beach ready” look that everyone’s after, but what can you do to give these areas of your body a workout if you feel they’re letting you down?
Here are seven tips for toning your thighs and hips.
- Plié Squats
To perform this exercise, stand with your feet wide apart, toes pointed out at a 45-degree angle, and then lower yourself until your hips are parallel to the ground (or as close to parallel as you can manage). Repeat for several reps.
Plié squats are a great inner-thigh bodyweight workout, with a more straightforward technique than conventional squats.
- Lying Side Leg Raise
These are a classic exercise from the neon-spandex aerobic infomercials of yesteryear, but they still serve an important function.
To perform this exercise, lie on your side with your legs extended outward. Keep your hips steady and don’t allow your body to rotate forward or backwards, as you slowly lift your top leg up to the side. Repeat for several reps and alternate legs.
This exercise strengthens the gluteus medius muscles, which can lead to a more flattering hip shape. It also contributes to proper alignment of the hips.
- Glute Bridges
To perform glute bridges, lie on your back, with your feet flat on the floor near your glutes. From here, you push your hips up into the air as high as they can go, while keeping your arms and head in contact with the floor.
At the top of each movement, squeeze your glutes to get as much extra “lift” as possible.
This exercise primarily targets the glutes and can have a positive impact on hip appearance. It may also promote good knee health.
- Horse Stance
Horse Stance is a training move adapted from traditional martial arts, increasingly used in modern fitness regimens.
Imagine a Shaolin monk in a deep, wide-legged “squat” pose, and you’ve got a sense of what Horse Stance looks like. It is similar to the bottom element of a plié squat.
The aim with Horse Stance is to hold the posture for as long as possible, as you would when doing a plank. You’ll notice that your thighs begin to burn, while your heart rate will shoot up, within seconds of entering the pose.
- Barbell Hip Thrust
The barbell hip thrust is a similar movement to the glute bridge, but with added weight. To perform this exercise, sit up straight on the floor with your shoulders and elbows resting on a padded workout bench, and a loaded barbell positioned over your hips.
Steadying the bar with your hands, and keeping a straight back and braced core, push through the heels and engage your glutes to lift your hips. At the top of each rep, your upper body should be resting on the bench, and your back should be straight.
This exercise gives the glutes a tremendous workout while also working the surrounding muscles. It can be done with high weight to build mass, or with low weight and high reps for conditioning.
- Pistol Squats
Pistol squats, also known as single-leg squats, are a tough exercise that engages the whole upper leg and thigh to stabilise and perform the movement.
To perform this exercise, balance on one leg, with the other held out slightly in front of you. Tighten the muscles in your leg and core as you lower yourself towards the ground in a controlled manner. Pause for a second at the bottom of the move, then press back up.
There are various progressions to help you work towards this exercise, including doing half-pistol squats onto a chair, and doing “uneven” wide-legged squats, where you bring your weight down onto one leg at a time rather than maintaining an even weight distribution.
- Sumo Walks
Sumo walks are a good exercise for conditioning the quads, and can be done as a gruelling conditioning workout too.
To perform this exercise, go into a deep, wide-legged squat stance, and walk from side to side, taking big steps to close the distance while maintaining your stance. It won’t be long before you feel the burn.