Would you rather have the thighs of a ballerina, a body builder or a flexible yoga master? Perhaps your goal is to build legs like a skater or skier. It doesn’t really matter. If you’re trying to shape lean, tight legs, the best exercises borrow from each of these activities.
Scissor Legs Plank
In addition to targeting the inner thighs, supporting the scissor movement in this exercise forces your arms, chest, core, and glutes to engage, says Kim Truman, athletic trainer and owner of Kim Truman Fitness.
To do it: Begin in a full plank position with each foot on a folded towel, paper plate, or gliding disc. Keeping upper body stable, slide feet apart, opening legs as wide as possible, and then slowly squeeze inner thighs to slide feet back together. Do 2 sets of 15 reps, resting in between sets as needed.
The frog bend is an ideal exercise for when you’re short on time or traveling because you only use gravity for resistance—no equipment necessary.
To do it: Lie faceup with legs extended straight over hips, feet flexed, heels together, and toes turned out.
Slowly bend knees out to the sides, and then straighten, using your inner-thigh muscles to control the movement. Do 3 sets of 12 reps, resting in between each set as needed.
Ball Leg Lifts
Lie on your side on the floor with your arms crossed in front of your body. If this is uncomfortable, bend your bottom elbow and rest your head on your hand.
Place a large exercise ball in between your feet, and slowly lift the ball up toward the ceiling using only your hips and butt. Return to the start position. This counts as one repetition.
Complete three sets of 15 reps.
To maximize fat loss and sculpt sexy legs (i.e. tighten your inner thighs), your best bet is to use exercises that recruit multiple muscles like barbell squats (demonstrated here by IFBB Figure Pro Maggy Cambronero), Tumminello says. “The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn.”
To do it: Place a barbell across shoulders (not on top of your neck) and stand with feet just wider than shoulder width, toes turned out 10 to 15 degrees. Bend at knees and hips, lowering body as close to the floor as possible (heels should not lift off the ground and lower back should not lose its arch). Keep knees wide and tracking in the same direction as toes to avoid letting knees drop in toward the midline of body. Reverse the motion and stand up. Do 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.