How do you tone your outer thighs and hips with side leg raises? Most people think of the apparent muscles–quads, hamstrings, and calves for lower body training. These muscles are essential for your overall aesthetics and athleticism.
But what most people forget to address are their outer thighs and hip flexors. As far as functionality and overall lower body development go, these areas deserve a lot of attention. So today, we’ll go over how to tone your outer thighs and hips with side leg raises.
Are you ready? Let’s dive in.
How does the side leg raise tone your thighs and hips (and what are some mistakes to avoid)?
Your leg abductor muscles (outer thigh muscles) bring the leg away from the body’s midline. Typically, this movement involves many tasks, including lateral stepping, getting in a car, and similar.
Side leg raises train that movement pattern directly, allowing you to develop your abductors and hip flexors effectively. The great thing about side leg raises is that you can do them standing or lying with or without external weights.
So whatever your preferences are, this exercise is quite versatile.
Why you should focus on strengthening your outer thighs and hips
While you rarely think about them, your leg abductors serve a huge role and are vital for your athleticism, safety, and movement ability.
Aside from their isolated role in leg abduction, your abductors and hip flexors play a considerable role in many other movements and allow you to train more effectively.
For one, strong abductors and hip flexors reduce knee valgus–the collapse of your knees inward, which can often be seen during a squat.
Fixing knee valgus is vital as it improves your athletic performance and keeps you injured- and ache-free. Second, strengthening these muscles allows you to do various physical tasks more effectively and achieve greater muscle activation.
More specifically, side leg raises help to improve strength and balance in the lower body.
How to nail the perfect side leg raise technique
To perform side leg raises appropriately, keep your leg straight and start moving from your butt and groin areas. Perform each repetition with a smooth and full range of motion, holding the top position for a moment before releasing.
Most people make the most common mistake with this exercise (particularly with the standing version) to use a lot of momentum and turn the leg raise into a leg swing.
A weekly routine you can follow to tone your outer thighs and hips with side leg raises
Before we wrap up this article, here is a weekly routine you can follow. You will train these muscles directly three times per week. That will allow for greater repeat exposure and help you learn how to engage these muscles better.
Day 1 (e.g., Monday)
Lying side leg raise–3 sets of 15 to 25 reps per leg
Day 2 (e.g., Wednesday)
Standing side leg raise–3 sets of 15 to 25 reps per leg.
Day 3 (e.g., Friday)
Lying or standing side leg raise (with a pause at the top position)–3 sets of 10 to 20 reps per leg