Fitness

The 5 Best Leg-Slimming Pilates Moves

Jan 11, 2017 //

If your workout goal is sexier, slimmer thighs, Pilates may be exactly what you’re looking for. Pilates is a form of exercise that uses controlled movements to improve flexibility, strength and balance. There are many Pilates moves that specifically target your thighs, making them stronger and leaner, but here are some of our favourites.

Before we get into the leg-slimming workout, remember that everyone has a different, natural body type, and there is no exercise regimen in the world that can change that. Some people have a thigh gap and others don’t, but neither one is inherently better than the other. You are beautiful, and your thighs are beautiful too. The goal here is to feel personally strong, lean and toned rather than to compare yourself to others.

Remember to warm up for five minutes with some light aerobic activity before you begin any workout, and don’t forget to stretch thoroughly afterwards. Let’s get down to the exercises:

1. Pilates Side Splits

You’ll need a gliding disc or hand towel for this exercise, unless you have access to a reformer.

  1. Stand with your feet hip-distance apart.
  2. Extend your arms straight out from your shoulders with your palms facing forward.
  3. With the sliding disc under your right foot, slide your right leg out to the side, spreading your legs apart, then return to the start position by pressing into your left foot and contracting your inner thighs.
  4. Make sure to keep your legs straight throughout the exercise.
  5. Repeat 15 times, then switch to the other side.

2. Pilates Bridge

This one actually works your core and butt as well as your thighs.

  1. Lie on your back on an exercise mat with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
  2. Lift your butt up by contracting your abs and glutes until your body forms a straight line from your knees to your shoulders, then carefully lower yourself back to the start position.
  3. For increased difficulty, put your hands straight up into the air with your palms facing each other during the exercise.
  4. Repeat 20 times for one set.

3. Outside Leg Raise

  1. Lie down on your side on the exercise mat, with your bottom arm bent, hand propping up your head, and the other arm on the mat in front of you to balance.
  2. Your bottom leg should be on the ground and bent, while your top leg is extended out straight.
  3. Point the toe of your top leg, and raise your leg up until it is perpendicular to the ground (don’t worry if you can’t bend that far) then lower it back down without actually touching the ground.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times on each side for one set.

4. Inside Leg Raise

This is almost exactly the same as the previous exercise, but this one targets your inner thighs, so you’ll be lifting your bottom leg instead of your top leg.

  1. Lie on your side with your top leg crossed in front of your bottom leg, foot flat on your floor.
  2. Flex your bottom foot by trying to point your toes in toward your shin, and keep it flexed during the exercise.
  3. Lift your bottom leg up, keeping your leg straight, the lower it back down without touching the floor.
  4. Repeat 10-15 times on each side for one set.

5. Reverse Leg Raise

Start this exercise on your knees and forearms on the exercise mat.

  1. Lift your left leg up behind you, pointing your toe toward the ceiling and following through as far as you can.
  2. Slowly lower your leg back down until it almost touches the ground, then repeat.
  3. Make sure that you keep your core tight and your hips stable throughout the exercise.
  4. Do 10-12 reps on each side for one set.

Quick note: If you’re not used to Pilates or similar exercises, you may find that you are simply not flexible enough for some of these techniques at first. Don’t worry! With practice (and plenty of stretching), you should be able to do them in no time. Until then, simply go as far as you can without hurting yourself. If you keep at it, your hard work will be worth it in the end.

Caleb Palmquist

Caleb is a freelance writer living in sunny St. Petersburg, Florida. He is a health and fitness enthusiast who wants to inspire people to live happier, longer lives. Caleb’s hobbies include hiking, kayaking, biking, and cooking.

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