Three thigh toning exercises that really work the thigh muscles are lunges, side leg lifts and agility drills on a Bosu ball. It's simple to hop on the ever-popular abductor and adductor machines at the gym. These machines tend to trick women into believing that tough hip and thigh fat has gone away, or at least is getting burned off. Such machines do tighten and tone the muscles to some extent, but unless they are part of an overall exercise and cardio program, they don't solve much in the long-term. Try this...
1. Side Leg Lifts
Lay down on the floor on your side. Put your hand on your hip, keep your body straight without your pelvis falling forward or backwards and slowly lift your top leg about a foot or so into the air. Simple enough? Good. If so, that side leg lift exercise does wonders for the thighs and the glutes (those are the muscles that make up your bum). Stay at that beginning height and proceed slowly. Think more tai chi than flying through the motions like some over-caffeinated aerobics instructor. Try a handful on one side and then flip over. Congratulations! Your thighs are already toning up. However, like the aformentioned machines, this exercise by itself will not burn that fat away. Incorporate better eating habits and some cardio, say a nice walk, and then you're really working towards long-term improvement.
Another great exercise that can be done anywhere is lunges. You've probably seen these being done at the gym or on a workout DVD. It looks like people stepping forward with their hands on their hips and then stepping back. It's fairly simple to do. Proceed slowly and pay attention to your form. Start by standing up straight, your hands on your hips and step forward gently so that your front knee doesn't extend over your toes. The front leg in the best position looks to be at a ninety degree angle. Try to keep your torso up if you can. Taking those nice walks and standing up straight will help strengthen your back so that you can eventually do lunges. Keep in mind that walking is also a fantastic thigh toning exercise.
3. Agility Drills on a Bosu Ball
Lastly, the Bosu ball. If you aren't familiar with it, it looks half of a very thick and round beach ball in a plastic round frame. It is available at many popular stores and is usually found in gyms. A note of caution: standing on a semi-inflated surface does require some strength to begin with. If you are uncertain or feel unsteady, the Bosu ball may not be for you. Ankle rolls can happen it you lack enough strength just to stand on the ball. If you do, however, feel comfortable standing on the ball yet are uncertain about doing more than that, that's okay. Just getting comfortable standing on the Bosu is a solid start. You will feel many muscles working together to keep you balanced, and you will be training your nervous sytem to activate more muscles.
A simple and basic start to thigh toning with the Bosu ball is this easy: stand on the ball until steady, hands to your side, or as much as you can, and then bend your leg at the knee and lift your leg up. Proceed as cautiously as you need to. You may only get a few inches up at first. If comfortable, try a handful on each leg and there you go!