If you’re used to using machinery at the gym, the thought of doing a workout at home might intimidate you. But, you don’t have to buy fancy equipment to meet your needs. Instead, you can do some moves at home that target specific body parts. This is even the case for thigh exercises, as there are plenty of moves that can shape and sculpt your legs with no equipment necessary.
“Home workouts are great because you can do them at your own convenience, and without the price of a gym,” says Aaptiv Trainer Kenta Seki. “Also, bodyweight workouts generally involve more muscle groups than workouts using gym equipment, leading to an increased calorie burn and better body awareness.”
You can always use your Aaptiv app for some challenging at-home workouts. But, if you’re looking to target the thigh area specifically, you’ll want to hone in on a few specific exercises. Here are seven thigh exercises that don’t require equipment.
Plie Squat and Calf Raise
These thigh exercises, when combined, work your inner thighs, calves, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. Step your feet out into a wide stance with your toes slightly pointed out.
“As you lower your hips, your thighs should be parallel to the floor and your knees over the ankle, tracking towards the second toe,” says Personal Trainer Lauren Seib. Once at your lowest point, lift your heels off of the floor by rolling onto the ball of the foot. Lower your heels before pushing back up into your starting position. “Hands can be on your hips, in front of your chest or up to the ceiling, depending on ability, balance, and challenge,” she says.
Bulgarian Split Squat
Work your quads, glutes, and hamstrings with this thigh exercise. Stand hip-width distance apart, facing away from a chair or coffee table that is no higher than your knees.
Place a relaxed top foot on the furniture behind you. Add a slight tip under of the tailbone while engaging your abdominals as you lower your hips and bend your front knee. Keeping your chest lifted, hips squared and shoulders stacked over your back knee. Press your front foot firmly into the floor to return to standing. “The leading leg’s knee should never go forward of the leading toe,” says Seib.
To work your quads and abs in addition to your thighs, try a leaning camel. Start on your knees with your legs hip-width distance apart, toes tucked under.
“Keep your core tight, with a slight tip under of your pelvis to keep your spine in perfect alignment,” she says. Inhale as you hinge back to a moment where you feel a little heat in the thighs and a grip to your abs and glutes.
“Don’t let your low back sway,” she says. Keep your chin off your chest slightly with relaxed shoulders, and lift up into your starting position with your exhale. “Hold on to a weight of some sort at your chest—even a a gallon of milk at home—to up the ante,” says Seib.
Inner Thigh Lifts
When it comes to thigh exercises, simple moves can still do the trick. Get your inner thighs and quads working with this easy movement.
“Lay down on one side, lengthening your bottom leg and crossing your top leg over it,” says Seib. “Firmly flex your bottom foot, contracting the inner thigh to lift on the exhale and lower leg on the inhale.”
Curtsy Lunge and Lateral Leg Lift
This challenging exercises works to strengthen your legs and improve your balance. Start by standing tall with your legs hip-width distance apart. “Step one foot back behind, your front leg crossing behind it so [that] you can sit down into your leading leg’s heel and target the glute and outer thigh,” says Seib.
Keep your chest lifted and front foot pointing forward. Drive through the front foot to lift as you slowly lift the back leg up and out to the side. “It’s not about the height of the leg,” says Seib. “Aim to use strength, not momentum, to float that leg up.”
Side lunges pack a lot of benefits for your legs, targeting everything from your inner thighs to your quads and booty. Stand with your feet together. Step your right leg far out to the right, with your toes turned out at a 45 degree angle. “Bend deeply into your right knee and keep your left leg straight the whole time,” says Seki. “Keep your torso upright as you step your right leg back in to center.”
“These are great for lifting your booty and toning your thighs without building too much muscle,” says Seki. To perform this thigh strengthener, lie down on your back with your knees bent and feet flat.
“Press into your heels and lift your hips up, squeezing your glutes,” he says. “Lower your hips back down until they tap the floor, then lift back up and repeat.” There are also different variations of bridges you can play with, including squeezing your thighs together or lifting one leg up at a time.
Don’t let a lack of equipment stop you from targeting your thighs. Utilize these thigh exercises, and combine them with other workouts on the Aaptiv app for a balanced fitness routine.