Summer is right around the corner, and with the increased temperatures come shorter shorts, sundresses and bikinis. If you’re working toward toning your legs and want to develop or further develop a thigh gap, read on for exercises to help you do just that.
A big bonus to many of these exercises is that they target muscle groups other than your hamstrings, quads, and calves, including your glutes!
You might not think that yoga would be a challenging or effective leg workout, but once you try it, you’ll see just how effective it can be. A lot of yoga poses focus on balance and stability, both of which strengthen and stretch the muscles in your legs.
2. Warrior III Pose
I struggled to find my balance during this pose, but let me tell you, you’ll feel this in your quads, hamstrings, calves, and even your core. To get into the pose, stand with your feet hip width apart and bend from the hips as you extend one leg out behind you until it is parallel to the floor and lower your upper body (keeping your back in line) until it is also parallel to the floor. Extend your arms back along the horizontal line of your body. Ensure that you don’t lock your knees.
3. Bow Pose
This pose targets the backs of your legs, and helps you open your chest. Lay on your stomach with your legs together and your arms at your sides with the palms facing upward. Bend both knees as you lift your legs upward to the ceiling. Reaching back with your arms, get ahold of the outside of your ankles and draw your feet together, lifting them as high as you are able to like the model in the picture below.
4. Wall Squats with a Ball
Place a yoga/exercise ball between the wall and the small of your back, making sure that you’re standing with your feet between hip and shoulder width apart. Lower yourself into a squat position until your knees are bent at a ninety degree angle. Hold for a few seconds (or longer for a deeper burn), and bring yourself back to the starting position.
5. Single Leg Circles or Alphabet
Lay on your back with your arms by your sides and both legs on the floor. Lift one leg straight up in the air so that it is perpendicular to the floor. Point your toes, and draw small circles with your legs. If you feel that this gets too easy, try drawing the alphabet instead.
6. Lateral Sliding Lunges
Stand on a smooth surface with a washcloth or a paper plate under one foot. Slide that foot to the side away from your body until your stationary leg is bent into a lunge position. Using controlled muscle movements, slowly slide the extended leg back into the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
If you’re planning to add some cardio into your workout regime, try running! It not only burns fat and gets your heart rate up, but it’s a great leg toning exercise. If you tend to get bored during your cardio sessions, check out this article to make cardio a little less horrible.
While some of these exercises will leave your legs sore the next morning, they will help you sculpt your legs and they'll get you one step closer to having a thigh gap. Now go rock those short shorts!
By: Kayla Harwick