In our battle with the bulge, the toughest fight is getting rid of the flab in our thighs, the inner part to be most precise. After belly fat, the thighs are the repository of unwanted fat accumulation in the body. The fat settles just below the skin or within the muscles, giving that wobbly amorphous look. And while no spot exercises can work as such, there are swaying exercises like inner kicks and some that work on the abductor muscles, toning, firming and strengthening them.
What would work the most is a gentle workout of stretching or walking or swimming alongside your main workout. So if the main workout is in the morning, follow up with a complementary workout or a supplementary workout like swimming in the evening. But above all else, back these up with a calorie-counted diet and good sleep.
Lying down exercises: Raise your legs up to 45 degrees and cycle mid-air with both. Then, circle the legs in clockwise and anticlockwise movements with one leg at a time. Do this at least 10 times each for two sets. Also raise your legs, getting them to 90 degrees in the air, suspended or against the wall.
Glute bridge: Fold your legs with knees facing upwards and feet parallel to each other. Lift up your glutes as much as you can and come down slowly. Do two sets of 10 reps.
Squats: Keep your back straight. Avoid rounding your back when you’re lowering or coming back up. A rounded back underweight can cause injury to the spine at the upper or lower end.
Track your knees over your toes: Keep your knees from going past the tips of the toes. This is generally not good for the knee joints. Plant your feet. Keep your heels planted firmly on the ground and the knees lined up with the feet and not splayed in or out. Look straight ahead. Try not to look down. Be aware that your back and butt are in the correct position, with your back straight and butt extended. Do at least two sets of 10 reps.
Lunges: Put your feet hip-width apart and stand tall. Step forward strongly with your right leg. When your right shin is vertical and your right thigh is parallel to the floor, lower your body. Get back to starting position, drive into your right heel. Continue on the opposite side. Do 10 times on each side.
Split squats: These can be a great way to switch up the standard horizontal stance. This is a good alternative for anyone who finds they have knee pain with back squats. Just stand in front of a bench and carefully place your right foot on top of it. Bend your left knee and drop your right knee. Your weight should be on your front left foot. Lower until your front thigh is at least parallel to the floor. Push through your front foot to raise up, but do not lock out your knee. Repeat for desired reps, and then switch sides. Do two sets of 10 times on each side.
Side kick while in sumo squat: Stand straight with legs three feet apart. Breathe in and go down in a squat position. Breathe out, come up, straighten your legs and kick sidewards, alternate right and left. Breathe in and come back in a squat position.
Curtsy lunge: Step your right foot back and around for the curtsy while simultaneously bringing the weight down to your outside left thigh while extending your arms. Return to start and repeat.
In all above exercises the gluteus medius and maximus, hamstrings, quadriceps, and gastrocnemius/soleus (calves) muscles are involved. The hip adductors get activated, which bring your thighs together.
(Dr Mehta has trained Bollywood superstars Akshay Kumar, Preity Zinta, billionaires, politicians, Miss World/Miss Universe candidates and the Maharashtra Police. A best-selling author, his latest book is called ‘Weightless.’ He has been appointed FIT India Movement Champion by the Sports Authority of India)