The outer thighs, also known as the abductors, are an important muscle group that plays a significant role in stabilizing the hips and legs. Having strong and toned outer thighs not only helps improve overall leg strength and balance but also can enhance the appearance of the legs.
If you’re looking to strengthen and tone your outer thighs, incorporating targeted exercises into your workout routine can be beneficial. In this article, we will discuss the 7 best outer thigh exercises that can help you achieve your fitness goals. From simple bodyweight exercises to using resistance bands, we will cover a variety of exercises suitable for beginners and advanced fitness enthusiasts alike.
By incorporating these exercises into your regular workout routine, you can effectively target and strengthen your outer thighs, improve your overall leg strength and stability, and achieve your desired fitness goals. Let’s dive in and explore the best outer-thigh exercises.
What are the best outer-thigh exercises?
1. Sumo Squats
The sumo squat makes for an excellent thigh exercise. Place your feet about two times the width of your shoulders apart with your toes pointed out to the side. Bend your knees and lower yourself into a squatting position while keeping your back straight, your abs tight, your chest up, and your chin parallel to the ground. Do not let your knees go in front of your toes when squatting. This is a no-no!
To target the outer thighs, you’ll have to lean your upper body forward a little as you go down into a squat. This is a great way of engaging those outer muscles. Make sure that you don’t arch your back when leaning over; use a mirror to monitor the position of your back and make adjustments accordingly.
2. Side Lunges
The side lunge is a good way to develop the outer thighs and hips. This movement also works your core because your torso is leaning forward. To do this, place your right leg out to the side with your knee bent.
Take a big step forward with your left leg and lower down into a lunge position. The target muscles are on the outer thigh of the back leg. Press upwards through the hips to return to standing, and repeat on another side for one rep.
3. Leg Extensions
The leg extension is a hip and thigh exercise that targets the glutes and outer thighs. The leg extension machine can be found in most gyms and require weights to function.
When performing the leg extension, you will need to place your feet out in front of your body with your legs bent at an angle between 45 and 90 degrees with the footpad. You should keep your back straight while performing this exercise or risk injuring it.
4. Leg Presses
The leg press is a great way to work the outer thigh muscles when performed properly. While in the leg press machine, you will need to place your feet about hip-width apart on the footplates and press away from your body until your legs are completely extended but not locked at the knee.
Doing this exercise correctly engages all of those hard-to-hit outer thighs as well as other important stabilizing muscles throughout the core, lower back, hips, buttocks, hamstrings, and calves.
5. One Leg Barbell Deadlifts
This deadlift variation can be a great way to develop the outer thighs. It’s particularly effective at targeting the hips and glutes but also works the hamstrings and calves to some degree.
To do this exercise, you will need to use an EZ barbell with relatively lightweight plates on each end of the bar (preferably five pounds or less). Stand on one leg holding the bar in front of your waist with both hands facing down. Bend your knees as if you were going to sit back into a chair until you feel a stretch in your hamstring, then come back up straight into a standing position as you keep that leg raised off of the ground throughout the entire movement.
The target muscles are those on your standing leg’s outer thigh. Perform 10-12 reps per side for three sets.
6. One Leg Machine Lunges
The leg extension machine can be a great tool to use for your outer thigh exercises and is available in most gyms and fitness centers. The one-legged machine lunge works both legs but focuses on the glutes, hips, and outer thighs of the back leg – making it a great exercise to do if you want to firm up those thighs fast!
To perform this exercise, you will need access to a leg extension machine (a gym membership is handy here). Place one foot into the bottom of the machine with your knee bent at about 90 degrees or slightly less. Press until your other foot leaves the ground then return slowly to the start position and repeat for-12 reps before switching legs.
This is a great exercise for the glutes and outer thighs. To perform this movement, you will need access to a hip abductor machine at your gym or fitness center. You can also do this without any equipment if you have space to move your leg out into the abduction position as shown below:
Stand with one foot in front of the other as far as possible holding onto something sturdy for balance if needed. Slowly shift your hips out to the side as far as you can comfortably go before returning back underneath you and repeat for-12 reps on each side.
7. Single Leg Hip Thrusts
The single-leg hip thrust is a useful exercise that targets all core muscles involved in stabilizing yourself during strength exercises – making it a great tool to use if you want to ‘boot’ up those outer thighs and tone your core.
To perform this exercise, you will need access to a fitness ball or bench that has enough height for your hips to fit over the edge while lying on top of it with one hip lined up just off of the bench as shown in the picture below:
From there, slightly bend your knee and plant one foot firmly onto the ground as you stick your hips up with your back flat against the bench. Then slowly push yourself up using only one leg until both sides are comfortably straightened out before returning back under you and repeating for at-12 reps per side (watch the video above if unclear).
The outer thighs can be difficult to develop because, in many cases, they are the slowest-to-grow muscles in the body. However, they are also important muscles to keep in shape, as they provide stability for movements such as running and walking.
Outer-thigh exercises can be incorporated into a comprehensive leg program that targets the front, back, and sides of the thighs. Doing so will help ensure your outer thighs develop evenly and that you can perform everyday movements – like walking or climbing stairs – with ease.
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