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Toning Your Body -- and Your Thighs

Tips for Slimmer Hips

Going for It

There are a wide variety of exercises you can do at a fitness center or with strength-training equipment. Using machines such as the leg press, leg (knee) extension, leg (knee or hamstring) curl and the hip abductor/hip adductor are great ways to get started.


If you don't have access to equipment, you can use your own body weight as resistance during lower body exercises, which can be very effective in toning and firming calves, hips, and thighs.


Below are a few strengthening exercises to get you started. If you have a health condition that limits your activity, check with your physician before doing any form of exercise. You might also want to consult with an expert trainer at your gym, who can show you how to use the machines safely and effectively.

Step Up

  • Muscles working: Front and back of thighs.
  • The position: You will need a stable staircase for this exercise. Stand close to the bottom stair and use the handrail for support with your head up, looking straight ahead.
  • The Move: Step completely onto the first stair with one foot. Keeping your weight supported on the front leg without letting your knee come over your toes, bring the other leg up and tap the toes of the back leg on the step and then slowly return to starting position. Repeat while alternating the starting leg until you have completed eight on each leg (one set), rest for a couple of minutes and then repeat one to two more sets.

Side Leg Raise

  • Muscles working: Hips and thighs.
  • The position: You will need to lie on the floor on your side with your legs straight and together for this exercise. Bend your bottom leg up behind you slightly (keeping your hips stacked) and put your outside hand out in front of you for balance using your inside hand to support your head.
  • The Move: With toes pointing straight ahead, slowly lift your top leg as high as possible, while maintaining straight hips. Then slowly return back to starting position and repeat eight times. Then switch to the other side and do eight repetitions. This is one set. Repeat for a total of two sets.
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