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How to tone: Your thighs

Leg exercises for shapely thighs

Your thighs are among the most powerful parts of your body. Just think of all the walking, jumping, running and climbing up and down stairs you do each day. Despite those daily activities, the inner and outer thighs tend to be problem areas for most women. We asked Nancy J. Krank, an ACE-certified personal trainer in Los Angeles, to suggest some leg exercises to tone up your thighs.

Woman going for walk at dawn

Lower body exercises

In addition to quadricep, hamstring, glute and calf exercises that target your lower body, Krank recommends two exercises that will really help you get shapely thighs. Both can be done at home or at the gym.

Leg adductions

Inner thighs, also known as your adductors, can be isolated with leg adductions -- in simple terms, crossing one leg over the other.

At the gym

At the cable station, using the cable setting closest to the floor, attach a cuff to your right ankle. Start with light weight.

Start position: Standing tall, position yourself so your right side is facing the cable attachment with your right hand holding onto the cable tower or another stationary item. Stand far enough away from the cable attachment so that the cable is taut; lift your right foot slightly forward and keep your right leg straight.

Movement: Move your right leg across your midline to cross in front of your left leg, leading with your heel to feel more inner thigh. Hold for one to two seconds, then return to start position.

Perform 12 to 15 reps with each leg.

At home

Perform leg adductions with ankle weights or a resistance band attached to the foot of a bed or the bottom of heavy furniture.

Leg abductions

You can tone and strengthen your outer thigh muscles with leg abductions.

At the gym

At the cable station, using the cable setting closest to the floor, attach a cuff to your right ankle. Start with light weight.

Start position: Standing tall with your left side facing the cable machine, use your left hand to hold the cable machine for balance. Slightly lift your right leg forward, keeping your leg straight and slightly in front of your left leg.

Movement: Move your right leg out to the side only as far as it's comfortable, hold for one to two seconds, then return to start position, keeping tension on the cable.

Perform 12 to 15 reps with each leg.

At home

Perform leg adductions with ankle weights or a resistance band attached to the foot of a bed or the bottom of heavy furniture.

Walk your thighs into shape

Hate the gym? Krank says the best way to get those thighs toned and fit is simply to add more walking into your daily routine. "Not only is walking a great leg workout, but it is also a great outer thigh workout," she explains. "Walking while varying the terrain and slope shapes your legs and thighs, and it improves your cardio vascular conditioning as well. Once you start walking consistently, try just one exercise three times a week. In no time, you will be doing the workout you used to hate because you're seeing the results you love."

More tips for toned legs:

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