One of the biggest misconceptions about exercise is that you have to spend hours doing it daily to see results. We’re busy ladies, so if we can get more bang for our buck with quick workouts, sign us up!
Here, we share a four-minute thigh routine you can do daily. But don’t be fooled — just because it’s short doesn’t mean it should be easy. Quality is better than quantity, so focus on form, add a dumbbell if bodyweight is a bit too easy, and get to work.
1. Side squats
Squats are a girl’s best friend — they work your legs and your booty. Add in the side step and you’ll feel an extra burn in your thighs and hips.
Equipment needed: a small dumbbell or weight if you need a challenge
- Stand up straight with your legs shoulder-width apart and arms at your side (or holding a weight to your chest).
- Step to the right, and as you do so, sit back into a squat, raising your arms to a comfortable position in front of you if just using your bodyweight.
- Rise and return to standing in center. Repeat on the left side.
- Complete 1 round for 1 minute.
2. Plié leg lift
If you’ve ever done ballet, you know it’s killer on the thighs — that’s why we stole this dance-inspired move from a barre workout!
Equipment needed: none
- Start in a plié squat position, hands on your sides. Toes should be pointed out, feet wider than shoulder-width apart and knees slightly bent.
- Squat down, pushing you hips back, and on your way up, lift the right leg up into the air at your side. Go as high as is comfortable. Safely return to the starting position.
- Repeat the same steps, raising the left leg.
- Complete 1 round for 1 minute.
3. Single-leg bridge
No thigh-toning routine is complete without a bridge, which strengthens your hamstrings, glutes, and core. To get the most out of this exercise, squeeze your cheeks when you reach the top, really forming a mind-body connection.
Equipment needed: a mat, plus a small dumbbell or weight if you need a challenge
- Start lying face up on a mat, knees bent with feet on the floor and palms facing down at your sides.
- Lift your right leg up off the ground and straighten it out in front of you while your left leg stays bent.
- Pressing your left heel into the floor, lift your pelvis up toward the ceiling, squeezing at the top when you reach a stiff bridge position.
- Slowly lower back down to the ground and repeat for 30 seconds. Switch legs, and complete 30 seconds with the left leg up to round out this exercise.
4. Scissor planks
By this point you should be getting a little tired, but the scissor plank will challenge you until the end!
Equipment needed: hardwood floor, towel or slider for each foot
- Start in a plank position with towels or sliders positioned under each toe.
- Bracing your core and upper body, slowly drag your feet apart as wide as they’ll go. Pause, then pull them back to center using your thigh muscles. Keep your hips square to the ground and your core tight.
- Complete 2 rounds of 30 seconds each.
Find a way to work this routine into your daily schedule and commit to push harder each time. Watch your thighs transform!
Nicole Bowling is a Boston-based writer, ACE-certified personal trainer, and health enthusiast who works to help women live stronger, healthier, happier lives. Her philosophy is to embrace your curves and create your fit — whatever that may be! She was featured in Oxygen magazine's “Future of Fitness” in the June 2016 issue.