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Work Those Thighs!

Effective Exercises for a Common Trouble Spot

  • Squat: Begin by holding two dumbbells* at your sides. Assume a shoulder-width stance and slowly lower your body until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Your lower back should be slightly arched and your heels should stay in contact with the floor at all times. When you reach "seated" position, reverse direction by straightening your legs and return to the start position.

  • Front Kick: Begin by attaching a leg weight* to your ankle. Position yourself so that you are holding onto a stationary object (i.e., chair, stool, etc.) for support. Slowly bring your foot forward and up as high as possible, contracting your right quad at the top of the movement. Then, reverse direction and return your leg back to the start position. After performing the desired number of reps, repeat the process on your left.

  • Side Lunge: Begin by assuming a stance slightly wider than shoulder-width. Grasp two dumbbells* and hold one in front and one in the back of your body. Keeping your left leg straight, slowly bend your right knee out to the side until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Then, slowly rise back up and repeat this process immediately on your left.

* For beginners, choose a weight that you are comfortable with. For most, a weight of 2 to 5 pounds is a good starting point. If this weight doesn't challenge you, try adding a bit more. As you advance in your routine, add more weight so the last reps you do are more difficult. Remember, you won't need to use as much weight for the front kick exercise as the squats and side lunge.

  • Mesomorph Routine: Reps: Use lower reps, (8 to 10) for muscle building. If toning is your goal use higher reps (15 to 20). Goal: Either muscle mass or toning.

  • Ectomorph Routine: Reps: 8 to 10 Rest: 90 seconds between sets Sets: Three for each exercise Goal: To add some muscle mass.

  • Endomorph Routine: Reps: 15 to 20 Rest: Perform all three thigh exercises in succession with no rest. Rest for 30 seconds and perform all three thighs again without stopping. Rest for 30 seconds and do one final set. Goal: To get lean muscle tone and achieve fat loss.
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