1. Inner Thigh Lift
Starting position: Lying on your side, lengthen your bottom leg, and cross your top leg over, resting either your top knee (as pictured above) or the top of your foot on the floor. Prop your head up with your hand, or rest your head on your arm. Work in side-lying neutral to keep your torso steady, and concentrate the work in your inner thigh rather than allowing your back to create the motion. To find neutral, reach your top hip down so your pelvis is level. Your waist should pull away from the floor a bit. Maintain this position as you do the movements below.
The inner-thigh lift is a dynamic exercise that strengthens the core and hip area. Step-by-step-instructions:
- Lie on one side, supporting your upper body on your elbow and placing your opposite hand behind your head.
- Brace your core and keep a straight spine. Lift both legs slightly off of the floor. Then bend your top knee and bring it to your chest as your raise your lower leg and bring it higher off of the ground. Pause, then straighten both legs until they are just above the ground. Return to start
2. Criss Cross Scissors
Muscles Targeted: The scissor cross exercise is a great movement for targeting your abdominals and overall core. This exercise will test your abdominal endurance by maintaining a perpetual crunch with your legs outstretched and moving in a crisscross motion. This crisscross motion in combination with the 45-degree angle of your legs provides an effective stimulus where the abdominals will contract and try to stabilize. By maintaining this motion, your core will work harder allowing your muscles to strengthen which will result in many benefits that include strengthening your core area and helping your posture. The scissor cross exercise will create a deep burning sensation in your abdominals which is the goal when you’re trying to develop strength and the endurance in the core muscles.
Reps and Sets: With core exercises like the scissor cross, it is best to perform the motion until you feel your abdominal muscles start to burn and become activated. This sensation will be reached at different times with each person, depending on their current fitness level. Beginners should focus on doing only 5-10 reps to start out with. Be sure to pay close attention and use strict form at all times. Intermediate and advanced individuals can perform 20-60 reps for a total of 5-10 sets. If any discomfort or pain should be felt, you might want to try any of the exercises listed below, which will help prepare and strengthen your core muscles for the scissor cross exercise.
3. Double Leg Circles
Double Leg Circles are a great exercise for strengthening your thigh, calf, and important core muscles groups like your hip flexors and lower abdominal muscles. Having a strong core and lower half is beneficial for everyday activities like walking, sitting up, bending over and climbing stairs.
Here’s how to do them:
- To begin, lie flat on your back. Place your hands under your hips with your palms facing down and your legs straight in front of you, feet together.
- Next, raise your feet about 12 inches off the ground, and tighten your stomach muscles. Hold this position for about 15-20 seconds, or until you start to feel a burn.
- Then, with your feet still together, swing them in controlled circles clockwise. Start out making small circles and progressively make your circles bigger and bigger.
- Reassume the starting position by bringing your feet back out in front of you, and slowly lowering them to the ground.
- Try doing 8-10 circles in a clockwise motion. Then repeat, going counter-clockwise.
4. Rollover butterfly kickouts
If you’re craving sculpted, toned abs, you’ll need to burn calories through a combination of diet and exercise. Cardiovascular exercise such as running can help you burn abdominal fat, but targeted abdominal training will help you get the tight abs you want. The flutter kick is a relatively easy abdominal exercise that even beginners can master.
Lie on your back flat on the floor. Your arms should be extended straight downward and your body should be straight, but not stiff.
Engage your abdominal muscles by pushing the small of your back into the ground. You should feel slight stretching in your abs. Flex your abs while lifting both legs about 6 inches off of the ground.
Raise your right leg slowly, using your abdominal muscles, until your foot points toward the ceiling. Some people need to bend their knees slightly to accomplish this. If you can’t raise your leg all the way, raise it as high as you can without feeling pain. Then lower your leg until it is about 6 inches off of the ground. Repeat with your left leg. Perform four to five reps on each side, and gradually work up to more reps as you gain strength.