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STEPHANIE OAKES

Summer-ize Your Thighs Without Getting Bulky

April 30, 2001|STEPHANIE OAKES

Question: I was wondering if there is a type of exercise to reduce the fat from my thighs soon, especially the inner and outer parts. Please consider that I don't want bulky muscles.

CHERYL BREWER

Newport Beach

Answer: For summer, get to work today on these exercises.

* Straight-Legged Deadlift: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Grasp two light dumbbells and let them hang in front of your body. Keeping your knees slightly bent, slowly bend forward at the hips, pulling your abs in tight to support your lower back; lower the dumbbells until you feel a stretch in your hamstrings. Then, reverse direction, contracting your glutes as you rise upward to the starting position. Stretch your hamstrings between sets to avoid lower back tightness and to increase flexibility. (If you have any previous lower back problems, check with your doctor before trying this exercise.)

* Standing Leg Curl: Begin by attaching an ankle weight to your right ankle. Grasp a stationary object and slowly curl your right foot upward to the rear, stopping just short of touching your butt or as far as comfortably possible. Contract your right hamstring and then reverse direction, returning back to the start position. After performing the desired number of repetitions, repeat the process with the weight on your left leg.

* Lying Abduction: Lie on your left side. Bend your left leg at a 90-degree angle and bring your left foot to rest underneath your right knee. Keeping your right leg straight, slowly raise it as high as possible. Contract your glutes and return to the start position. After finishing the desired number of repetitions, repeat the process on your other side.

If you don't want obviously muscular thighs, use light weights and do more repetitions. You'll tone your muscles without "building" them up. Also, skip at least a day between weight training; your muscles need time to relax and recover.

But if you want to lose weight from your thighs, you need to add aerobic exercises to your routine. Cycling, power walking, stair climbing and inline skating will add a great all-around cardio workout while toning your thighs.

*

Stephanie Oakes is the fitness correspondent for Discovery Health Channel and a health/fitness consultant. To submit a fitness-related question, e-mail stephoakes@aol.com. She cannot respond to every query.

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