Exercise Band Workouts for Your Hips and Thighs

The hips and thighs are difficult to slim and trim, second only to trimming belly fat. You can squat, lunge and extend and still have not get the results you want. Adding an elastic exercise band to your workout might be just the thing that helps improve your workout. Adding extra resistance to your exercise routine improves the effectiveness of your workout. To burn fat, you have to reduce your calories and do aerobic exercise, such as running, jogging, swimming or bicycling.  Do strength training exercises to improve your muscle tone and to add lean muscle mass while strengthening your muscles.

You can find exercise bands in most sporting goods stores or even at your local gym.  They are generally inexpensive, compared to other exercise equipment, and come in a variety of strengths. Beginners should start using bands that offer the least resistance and gradually move to more resistant bands as your strength increases. You can find bands that have handles or no handles. You can attach them to a door frame or a permanent wall anchor. Circular bands that wrap around your ankles or thighs are great for working your lower body while leaving your hands free.

Wrap a circular band around your ankles and lie down on the floor to do band leg extensions. Lie on your back with your legs extended. Squeeze your abs and lift one leg straight up toward the ceiling, stretching the band as you lift your leg. Hold for 2 to 3 seconds and then lower your leg back to the floor. Do 10 to 15 repetitions on each side. As your legs grow stronger, hold the lift up to 10 seconds or do more repetitions. Increase the resistance or the number of repetitions when you can do 12 repetitions without experiencing muscle failure.

Increase the effectiveness of your regular set of squats by adding a medium resistance exercise band. You can use two bands, one secured to each leg, or stand on one long band and hold each end in your hands. Move to your squat position and hold the handles of the exercise band with your palms up (or wrap the band around your hands) until there is slight tension on the bands. Push yourself up from the squat but keep your hands about waist level with your elbows bent and your palms upward. This exercise will not only add resistance to your lower body workout, it is also a great way to strengthen your arms and shoulders. Do 10 to 15 repetitions and then rest for one minute before doing another set of 10 to 15 squats.

Have a seat for this next exercise that will work your inner and outer thighs. Sit in a sturdy chair without arms and wrap an exercise band around your legs just above your knees. Keep your feet flat on the floor and your back straight. Spread your knees apart pushing against the resistance band. Hold the position for 2 seconds and then relax. Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.

Dump the Saddlebags

Photo Credit: Bill Branson, National Cancer Institute PD
Saddlebags are those pouches of fat that accumulate on the outer thighs. Women are particularly susceptible to fat deposits on the thighs. The best ways to dump the saddlebags are to eat nutritious, low-fat foods and exercise. Cardiovascular exercises, such as swimming, running, brisk walking or jogging and bicycling, help burn fat. There are also some exercises that you can do right at home to help burn away the saddlebags. When you exercise to get rid of hip and thigh fat, you can lose weight overall while building muscle. 
Do some step-ups on a low step stool or a step  aerobics stool. Stand in front of the stool with your arms relaxed at your side. Step up onto the stool leading with your right foot and then bring your left foot up beside your right foot. Step down onto the floor with your right foot and follow with your left. Repeat 10 to 15 times and then switch to leading with your left foot. Add some extra calorie burning to your step-ups by holding a 5 pound dumbbell in each hand. If you don’t have a set of dumbbells, hold a 1/2 gallon container of water in each hand. Use a container with a sturdy handle. 
Side leg raises work the muscles of your thighs, buttocks and abdomen. Hold the back of a sturdy chair and stand up straight. Place your feet about hip-width apart. Drop your shoulders and stretch your spine upward. Lift your right leg upward in front of your body. Keep your leg as straight as you can and then stretch your right leg out to the right of your body. Hold this position for 2 to 3 seconds and then slowly return your leg back to the floor. Do 15 repetitions with each leg. 
Lie on your left side with your left leg on top of your right leg. Rest your left forearm on the floor to support your upper body and place your right hand on the floor in front of your torso. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and lift your right leg straight up toward the ceiling. Keep your upper body straight. Hold your leg up for 5 seconds and return to the start position. Repeat 20 times on each side. 
Squats are great for the abs, hips and thighs. Stand up straight with your feet flat on the floor, about hip-width apart. Place your hands comfortably on your hips. Bend your knees to lower your body to a sitting position. Keep your back straight to avoid bending forward. Push your body back upright using your legs. Repeat this exercise 10 to 15 times. 

Exercise to Strengthen Hip Joints

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Hip joint pain can interfere with almost every activity. Sitting down, standing up, climbing stairs, bending and walking require flexible hip joints. You can keep your hip joints strong and flexible by riding a bicycle, swimming and walking regularly. Make sure you get enough calcium and vitamin D in your diet to avoid bone loss and weak joints, which can result in injury. There are some easy-to-do exercises that you can do every day to help strengthen your hips, pelvic area, legs and lower back. 
The pelvic tilt is a great exercise to strengthen your pelvic muscles, strengthen your spine and your hips. Lie on your back on the floor and bend your knees. Place your feet flat on the floor about hip-width apart. Place your palms on the floor beside your hips. Tighten your abdominal muscles and move your lower back downward until it touches the floor. Hold this position for 10 to 15 seconds and then relax. Repeat this exercise for 10 repetitions.
Hip flexes will stretch the muscles of your hips and improve joint flexibility. Stand up straight. Drop your shoulders and look straight ahead. Hold onto a sturdy chair or place your palm on the wall if you need help balancing on one foot. Lift your left leg off the floor and bend your knee until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your leg makes a 90 degree angle. Hold this position for 10 seconds and then slowly lower your leg back to the floor. Repeat this exercise 10 times for each leg. 

Leg lifts strengthen your hip joint as well as the muscles of your legs and hips. Lie on your left side. Bend your left leg in a 45 degree angle. Stretch your left leg out. Support your upper body on your forearm with your elbow below your shoulder. Tighten your abdominal muscles and then lift your left leg 12 to 24 inches toward the ceiling. Hold the position for 5 seconds and then slowly lower  your leg to the start position. Do 10 repetitions. Repeat this exercise with the other leg. 

No Equipment Thigh Strengthening Exercises

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Strong thighs are important for bearing the weight of your body, endurance and balance. Weak or under-developed thigh muscles may be susceptible to injury from exercise. You can strengthen your thighs without the need for equipment. Stretches and jumping exercises can help you strengthen your thighs. 
Kneeling thigh stretches are easy to perform, but don’t let the ease of this exercise fool you! It’s a powerful way to strengthen and tone your thigh muscles. Kneel on the floor or on an exercise mat for comfort. Keep your knees about hip-width apart. Your toes should be pointing at the wall behind you and your weight on your leg from your knees, down your shin and across the top of your foot. Stretch your torso up tall toward the ceiling and squeeze your abdominal muscles. Don’t drop your chin, but keep your head up looking straight ahead. When you are ready, shift your weight back and bring your hips toward your heels. Move your arms back and brace yourself by placing your fingertips on the floor on either side of your legs. Hold this position for 10 to 20 seconds and then return to the start position. Do 5 to 7 repetitions of this exercise. Increase the length of time you hold the position and the number of repetitions as your strength and endurance increase.  
Jump and reach to stretch your thigh muscles and increase flexibility. Begin by standing in an upright position with your legs hip-width apart and your arms relaxed at your side. Shift your weight back on your hips and lower yourself toward a sitting position, as in a squat. When you feel your heels lift off the floor, reach your arms upward toward the ceiling and push your body upward from your feet, through your legs and thighs in an explosive push toward the ceiling. The momentum of swinging your arms up with a simultaneous push upwards will help you reach high.

2 Great Exercises for Slimmer Hips and Thighs

Photo Credit: Mauritsvink Public Domain
It can be difficult to lose fat and build muscle in your hips and thighs. You can lose fat, firm and tone your muscles with a whole body exercise regime, but you may need to do a little extra work by spot training to slim your legs and hips. The hips, thighs and stomach area tend to store more fat than any other part of your body. Two great exercises that can help burn more fat, tone and strengthen hips and thighs include dumbbell step-ups and dumbbell squats. Don’t start a new exercise program until you see your doctor and get a complete physical. A personal fitness trainer can help you stay motivated and offer instruction on how to perform exercises to get maximum benefit and avoid injury. 
Step-ups require an exercise step block and a set of dumbbells. Start with a low block and gradually increase the height of the step as you gain strength and stamina. Start by standing in front of the step block with your feet apart about hip-width. Hold a 2 to 5 pound dumbbell in each hand in an overhand grasp with your palms facing inward. Drop your shoulders, squeeze your shoulder blades and stand up tall and straight. Step up on the block with your right foot. Keep your body straight and push your body up with your left foot. Place your left foot next to your right foot on the step block platform. Shift your weight to your right foot and step backwards off the step block with your left foot. Place your left foot firmly on the floor and then bring your right foot back to the floor in the start position. Alternate legs and repeat the exercise. Try to do 10 repetitions leading with your right foot and then alternating and leading with your left foot for 10 more repetitions. Increase the number of repetitions and add a heavier dumbbell as your gain strength and endurance. 
Dumbbell squats help tone and firm your arms as you exercise your hips and thighs. Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a 2 to 5 pound dumbbell in each hand. Grasp the dumbbells in an overhand hold with our palms facing your thighs. Squeeze your abdominal muscles and inhale. Raise the dumbbells to your chest until they rest on the front of your shoulders. Lift your chest and squeeze your shoulder blades together so that you are standing tall. Slowly lower your body in a sitting position from the hips. You may need to shift your weight to you heels to maintain your balance. Try to bend your hips and knees at the same time for a smooth downward motion. Keep your feet planted firmly on the floor. Stop lowering your body when your heels begin to lift off the floor. Exhale and smoothly push your body back to the upright position using your feet. Try to do 5 to 10 squats. Increase the number of repetitions and add more weight when your strength and endurance increase.