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How to Tone Your Inner Thighs with Pilates
Would you like to tone your inner thighs? Anne Lamott called her thighs the twins — a constant cause of frustration in her personal essays. Like Lamott, most women can’t stand thinking about their thighs or how to tone them. However, with Pilates, it’s actually easier than ever to tone the inner thighs. Using Pilates, a low-impact option, to slim and sculpt your legs is less likely to cause injury than high-impact cardio workouts.
Step 1: Create a plan
Pilates is not a difficult fitness technique to learn, but it can be hard to master if you’re doing it on your own. One way to create a fitness plan involves choosing a DVD that describes the kind of Pilates designed to tone inner thighs. Gaiam’s Trouble Zone Solutions DVD or Pilates Lower Body Workout on GaiamTV.com can help you create your own inner thigh workout.
Step 2: Do inner leg lifts one leg at a time
According to Fitness Magazine, inner leg lifts allow you to work your inner thighs in just a minute and a half.
According to Pilates instructor Dori Markakos, the best way to begin inner leg lifts is by lying on your right side with your ankles, knees and hips stacked vertically while supporting yourself on your right elbow, right hand and forearm extended in front of you at a right angle to the rest of your body. Markakos stresses the importance of pushing up high in your shoulder versus allowing your weight to sink into your shoulder, engaging your abs and keeping your hips in line with the rest of your body versus pushing your hips backward.
- Place your left hand on the floor in front of your belly button for additional stability, and bend your left knee, placing your left foot flat on the floor directly in front of your upper right thigh.
- Next, exhale and lift your right leg slightly off of the ground, neither pointing nor flexing your right foot.
- Hold for a few seconds and lower.
- Do eight repetitions, switch to your left side and repeat.
Step 3: Do inner leg lifts with both legs at the same time
According to Markakos, for a slightly more challenging workout, you can perform inner leg lefts with both legs at the same time. Begin on your side in the same position as you did for the previous one-leg-at-a-time exercise with your body in alignment, legs extended and stacked directly on top of each other. Again, support your weight on your right elbow and forearm pushing up high in the shoulder and keeping your abs engaged. Then, lift both legs off the floor keeping them together, hold for a few seconds and lower. Do eight repetitions, switch to your left side and repeat.
Step 4: Try heel beats to tone inner thighs, hamstrings and glutes
Markakos recommends Pilates “heel beats” to not only tone the inner thighs but the hamstrings and glutes as well.
- For this exercise, lie on your stomach, one hand on top of the other beneath your head. You may rest your chin, cheek or forehead on your hands depending upon which position is more comfortable for you.
- Rotate your hips forward so that your pelvis is touching the floor. Then, exhale and lift both legs from your hips — feet, knees and thighs — off of the floor.
- Point your toes, separate your feet about a foot apart, then gently tap your heels together.
- Repeat 30 times with a quick and controlled motion. For a more intense inner thigh workout, instead of tapping your heels together, allow your feet to cross one another, separate and repeat.
If you’re going to take a Pilates course with the hope of toning your inner thighs, talk to the instructor first to make sure their fitness goal is one you share. Pilates covers a range of exercises and goals, so don’t assume the class will be tailored to meet your needs.
Sample more than 50 Pilates workouts at GaiamTV.com