Don't get me wrong: lunges and squats are an excellent part of any full-body workout. They work major muscles in the body (core, butt, thighs) and get your heart rate up, and shape and lift your derriere, too. But lunges and squats work your thighs only while they are flexed (ie., muscles are contracted). To slim and tone your thighs without bulking them up, you need moves that work your thighs in extension as well as flexion. Click for these moves that will get you rocking that Little, little Black Dress hiding in your closet.
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Mountain Climber – Variation 1
Get into a deep lunge position with your right foot on the bench, right knee by your chest, and your left leg extended fully behind you. Your hands should be placed lightly on the bench, slightly wider than shoulder-width. In one quick, fluid motion, switch your legs in a light "hop" so that your left foot lands between your hands, and your right leg is extended behind you. Your hands should stay on the bench and your upper body should remain as steady as possible. Repeat on the other side: that's one rep. Do 20 reps.
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Mountain Climber – Variation 2
Start in a plank position with your hands on the bench (or on the ground). Quickly pick up your right foot, bringing the knee high toward your chest, then put it back and repeat on the left side, as if you are running in place. Make sure to extend your That's one rep: do 25 reps per set, three times.
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Around the World Leg Lift
Lie down on your left side with your head supported on your right hand, and your right leg stacked on your left leg. Keeping both legs straight and your feet pointed, slowly lift your right leg toward the ceiling. Engaging your core, bring your right leg slowly to the front of your body, so that your foot is directly in front of your face. Slowly lower your leg until both feet come together. That's one rep: do 20 reps, then switch sides.
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“L” Leg lift
Start with your hands and knees on the ground, and your back parallel to the floor. Extend your right left straight out to the side, keeping your foot pointed. Slowly raise your right leg until it is parallel to the floor. Lower your leg slowly and touch the floor with your foot, then raise it back up, keeping your leg straight and engaged and your hips square. Repeat 20 times, then switch sides.
To condition your thighs without bulking them up, you need moves that will work your legs in extension, not lunges. These toning exercises will get you rocking that Little, Little Black Dress in no time.