Here’s How to Get Strong Outer Thighs

Continuing our series of workouts that don't include squats, we bring you one that focuses on toning the hip and outer-thigh area. As Jenn Seracuse, director of Pilates at FLEX Studios explains, your outer-thigh area is made up of the abductor muscles, which help balance and stabilize the pelvis, and hip external rotators, which assist in turning your hips out. Seracuse showed us several exercises for toned hip muscles, which, by the way, are key to achieving a bubble butt. 

Move 1: Start with the hot potato. In this move, begin with one hand down on your side. Be careful to keep your hips square and don't sink into your standing hip. Move a single leg forward and back, tapping from front to back, keeping the spine stable as you do so. 

If doing the move while propped up is too much, try it lying down. 

Move 2: As Seracuse helpfully explained, the clamshell move works "the meats," also known as the potential saddlebag area. Lay on your side with your knees bent at a 90-degree angle. Sandwich your feet and knees together while pushing in and lifting out your leg. 

Move 3: Try the side-plank hip lift, which can also be done on the knees. Start on your side, with your hips down, and then lift up. The key is to lift using the hips and not the arms. This move targets the bottom side of the hips.

Move 4: With the curtsy-to-side knee lift, begin by standing up and then side curtsy behind the body with the knee down. To get the squeeze, make sure to stand all the way up and hold the curtsy briefly when you're on top.

Move 5: In this speed-skater move, keep your back straight and your knees bent. Extend one arm out and lift the leg using your hip muscles. Keep the stabilizing leg still the entire time.