Oct. 28, 2013 at 7:13 PM ET
How to get thinner thighs
Having trouble sliding into those skinny jeans -- despite your daily workout? The truth is, many exercise routines simply don't include the key moves you need to truly target the often-troublesome area of the inner thighs. Fortunately, slimmer, sexier, whistle-worthy legs can be yours in only a week or two. That's right, to help you banish dreaded inner thigh bulge, we asked Jessica Smith, fitness guru and star of the '10 Minute Solution: Knockout Body' DVD series, to supply us with seven, simple fat-blasting moves for thinner thighs. For best results, circuit through the following exercises (doing one move after the next without resting) four times a week, then finish up with 15 to 20 minutes of any cardio activity. To turbocharge your fat-burning furnaces even more, reduce your daily diet by 500 calories. Try some of these healthy snack ideas for some tasty, waist-friendly food choices.
Start with your feet together, toes pointing forward, arms by your sides, with your head and neck straight ahead. To begin, take a wide ‘skate’ step with your right foot to the right side, then drag your left foot toward it, reaching your left arm forward while bringing your right elbow back, as if you were skating. Then, quickly change directions and repeat the movement on the opposite side. Repeat as many times as you can, alternating from left to right, for a total of one minute. This double-duty move not only tones and sculpts your inner thigh muscles, while you change directions quickly from side to side, it also burns off jiggly bulge.
Side to side plies
Look straight ahead and stand with your feet positioned about three feet apart. Your knees and toes should be pointing out at about 45 degrees and your hands should be resting on your hips. This four-count move starts with a simple ballet plie. To do: Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground as low as you can. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips, your back straight and knees pointing out over your toes. Dip down into the plie and hold it for 30 seconds. Then, slowly straighten your legs and slide your left heel into your right, squeezing your inner thighs together for a count of 30 seconds. Take a big step back out to the left and repeat plie, then slide right heel in. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 10 times.
Standing with feet hip-width apart, arms relaxed by your sides, look straight ahead. Step onto your left foot, brush your right leg forward off the floor and create a large circular sweep from left to right with your leg. Then step onto right foot, and repeat on the left. That’s one rep. Repeat this move 10 times. This kick tones and slims your inner thighs as you help control your leg through a circular range of motion, while also stretching your inner thigh muscles as you open your leg to the side.
Inner thigh attitude pulse
Stand on your left leg and lift your right leg a few inches off the ground, bending at the knee. Now turn your knee out to the side. Bring right heel towards the ceiling and bring leg across the front of your body so that your right knee is past your left leg. Lower right leg towards the floor and lift it up as high as you can, keeping heel up. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 15 times on your right side, then 15 times on your left.
Towel squeeze bridge
Lie down on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms relaxed on the ground by your sides, looking straight ahead. Place a folded hand towel between your knees. Squeeze your knees together into the towel to really activate your inner thighs, and lift hips off the floor, as high as you can, towards the ceiling. Hold for two counts, then lower down. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 15 times.
Sit with your hands pressed on the floor besides your hips. Your elbows should be slightly bent but not locked. Bend your knees in towards your body. Keep your knees touching and your toes pointed while looking straight ahead. Then, lean slightly forward and contract your abdominals. Trace your toes on the floor and open your knees out to the sides, then draw your knees together until they touch. That’s one rep. Repeat this exercise 20 times. This movement not only sculpts and shapes your inner thighs as you close your legs, but also tones your abdominals and hips as you maintain the move's forward lean.
Lie on your back with your arms relaxed on the ground beside you. Slowly bend your knees in towards your chest, drawing your abs in. Flex your feet and turn your knees out to the sides. Your heels should be touching. Now, press your legs out, widening them at a 45-degree angle. With both legs extended and turned outward, squeeze the backs of your knees together (your inner thighs). Bend your knees back in, maintaining the same 45-degree line on the way back. That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 15 times.
To nix next-day soreness and increase flexibility, finish this routine with a relaxing stretch. Start seated, with the bottoms of your feet sandwiched together and your knees relaxed, out to the sides while holding onto your ankles. Gently lean forward, lowering your chest towards your feet until you feel a deep stretch in your inner thighs. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then relax. Note: Since this is a stretch, you only need to do this movement once.
A version of this story originally appeared on iVillage.