The hips and thighs are commonly an area of focus for women who are beginning an exercise program. While you cannot spot reduce body fat off any area of the body because fat comes off when and where it chooses, you can firm up the muscles underneath. So once you have lost the layer of fat around the hips and thighs, you’ll have beautiful toned muscles ready to show off. Here are some exercises you can add to your home fitness program to work the hips (gluts) and thighs.
Begin standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Draw your abdominals inward and tighten Step forward with your right foot as far as flexibility will allow, bending both knees until your right knee is bent at a 90 degree angle, your right foot is flat on the floor, and your left knee is bent at a 90 angle just above the floor. Hold for one to two seconds and then push through the heel of your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat using the same leg for one set, then switch legs.
Single Leg Squat
Begin with your weight balanced on your right foot, knee slightly bent, and your left leg parallel to the right with your toe raised slightly off the ground. Keeping your left leg parallel to the right and your chest facing forward, bend your right leg at the ankle, knee and hip to perform a one legged squat. At the bottom of the squat, reach with your left hand to touch the toes of your right foot. Continuing to support yourself with your right leg only, return to the standing position.
Begin seated on a stability ball with your feet flat on the floor in front of you, shoulder width apart, toes pointed forward. Walk yourself forward, letting the ball roll up your back until the ball is positioned between your shoulder blades and your buttocks are a few inches off of the floor. Drawing your abdominals inward and tightening, raise your hips until your knees, torso, shoulders and neck form a line that is parallel to the floor. Hold for a moment and then slowly lower to the starting position. Repeat as directed.
Begin standing upright with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips. Draw your abdominals inward and tighten With your right foot, step directly to your side as far as flexibility will allow, landing with your toes pointed straight ahead and bending your knee to a 90 degree angle. To allow your left leg to extend straight out to your new position, allow your left foot to roll to the inside while keeping your toes pointed straight forward. Hold for one to two seconds and then push through the heel of your right foot to return to the starting position. Repeat using the same leg for one set, then switch legs.
Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and your fingers clasped behind your head. Draw your abdominals inward and tighten. Squat from the hips, knees and ankles, as far as you can go while maintaining good form and balance. Stand and repeat. (Note: The goal is to squat as far as you can to bring your knees to a 90 degree angle without breaking form by raising your heels off the ground or bending through your waist or back, dropping your chest.)
As with any other resistance training exercise, muscles will grow when overloaded. Incorporate exercises that involve pushing from the floor more so than exercises that require sitting or lying down to functionally strengthen the muscles. Excluding exercises from the standing position can lead to muscle imbalances which can be a precursor to injury. Enjoy adding these exercises to your program and remember smart training and healthy eating will get results!