If you can stand straight with your knees together and see a space between your upper thighs, you have what’s known as a thigh gap and its getting a lot of notoriety on social media this summer…particularly among teenage girls.
A thigh gap can happen because of a particular bone structure or being toned and lean. It can also happen, sadly, because a person is so emaciated and unhealthy that you can see air between their legs! Some people’s genetics, pelvic size and width etc. just aren’t going to allow them to have a thigh gap. Some ladies don’t want one, need one or like one.
If the notion of a thigh gap motivates you to stop eating so much frankenfood and get off the couch, great! Have a realistic understanding that you may never look like a runway model from doing some thigh exercises and most of us might not be so healthy if we did. Toning exercises for the inner thigh can help prevent injury, are needed for certain sports and life activities and, like all resistance exercise, help build bone strength. If you hate the rubbing, heat rash from your thighs touching, use that as motivation to get off the couch and try some of these exercises.
Remember to do a light dynamic cardio warm up to activate the legs and thighs before beginning these resistance training exercises and add a cool down and stretch your quadriceps, hamstrings, inner and outer thighs and calves afterwards. Always listen to your body – if it doesn’t feel right to you or you have pain, that’s a sign to back off or stop. Modify the exercises as needed. Take breaks whenever you need to. (Any exercise carries a risk of injury. Please consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program). No equipment is needed.
Forward Leg Lift
This is a ballet move that tones the quadriceps (the top of the thigh), as well as the adductors (inner thigh muscles). The adductors are often a weaker muscle. Toning the adductors will firm it and help you achieve that inner thigh gap.
Find your balance or hold a chair or wall to help you gain stability.
Begin standing with your legs straight. Feet slightly outward.
Extend one leg up in front of you, toe pointed and turned outward and slowly lower the leg back down to the floor, heels touching where they meet. Repeat 3 alternating sets of 8-12 repetitions each leg
Sumo Plie’ with Slide
Begin in a sumo squat knees and toes pointing outward/away from the mid-line of the body. Keeping your knees behind the toes lower down until your thighs are parallel with the floor or you feel the muscles of the top of the thigh elongating. Keeping your navel pulled toward the spine and your shoulders down and back, exhale as you straighten the knees and squeeze the glutes (buttocks) and inner thigh. (steps 1 & 2)
Now for inner thigh work, (steps 3 & 4): Squat as above and as you straighten the knee and come to standing slide/drag the left leg across the floor using the floor as resistance bringing the left heel to meet the right heel. Repeat on the other side. Again, 8-12 repetitions each leg, 1-3 sets as your strength allows.
To make this exercise even more challenging , you can hold 5-8 lb (or more) dumbbells in each hand together at chest level while performing the exercise.
Side Lying Hip Adduction
Lie on your side left arm extended overhead, legs straight, head resting on left arm.
Cross your right leg with the knee bent over your left leg, right foot on the floor.
Lift the left leg, leading with your heel by squeezing your inner thigh. Stay tight through your core. Relax head and neck. Maintain a straight line from head to hip to heel.
This is a small movement. You do not need to lift very high to feel it working. When you lower the left leg down, try to hold it slightly off the floor rather than letting it relax all the way. To make this exercise more challenging, you can add ankle weights or hold a dumbbell on the working inner thigh. If you need more help stabilizing yourself from rolling forward or backward, you can use the arm closest to the ceiling to hold the bent leg or the floor in front of you.
This exercise can also be performed with the leg closest to the ceiling propped on a chair and the head resting on your hand, but be sure to keep the spine in neutral.
Standing Leg Sweep
Stand, holding your kitchen counter if you need more balance, or sideways to a wall or chair. Feet together and turned slightly outward. With a straight leg, leading with the heel, exhale and sweep the right leg across and in front of the left leg (working the right inner thigh). Inhale and swing the right leg out to the right side (working the right outer thigh and right glute).
If its too intense for you to swing and extend the right leg out to the right and hold it in the air, you can modify this by tapping the right toe to the floor.
Repeat the right leg sweep 8-12 times, then try the exercise with the left leg.
Do 3 sets each leg.
Supine Leg Crosses
Lie on your back, hands at your sides and close to your body raise both legs to the ceiling. Open the legs and with pointed toes and straight knees close the legs and cross them.
A few variations to this exercise: you can keep the legs wide and exhale as the legs close or you can do them with a smaller range of motion or mix it up – big ones and small ones.
If you would like to add some abs, lower the legs 6 inches closer to the floor to intensify the lower abdominal involvement in this exercise.
Is there a body part you would like to know how to work? I would be happy to meet and design a workout program for you.