There is a misconception that to lose fat accumulation around the obliques and thighs, one should only do targeted exercises for these areas. Along with the strength training exercises, you will also have to include cardiovascular exercises in your workout regime. The cardiovascular exercises help to burn a lot of fat, which is more often than not accumulated in the abdominal oblique region and thighs in case of women. The best cardiovascular exercises to get rid of love handles and thigh fat are walking, running and jogging, swimming, elliptical trainer, etc. This article is divided into two sections
Exercises for Love Handles
There are a number of exercises, which can be used to get rid of love handles. While doing these exercises, it is important, that you have the right posture, so that you can derive the desired benefits from these exercises, but not hurt yourself. Also doing some stretching exercises beforehand will give better results.*Click on the images for a better view.
This is one of the best exercises for love handles. Lie down on your back, interlace your fingers and place them behind your neck. Extend both your legs. Now slowly lift your shoulders and feet off the floor. Slowly bring the right knee towards your chest. Twist to the right side and touch the left elbow to the right knee. Then extend your right leg and bring your left knee towards your chest and try to touch the right elbow to the left knee. Repeat this exercise 15 times on both the sides. When you are doing this exercise, the motion will look similar to that of cycling, at the same time remember not to touch your leg to the ground.
This exercise for obliques, also works the outer part of the thighs. To do this exercise, lie down on your side, resting on your forearm with your legs placed one on another. Slowly lift the leg on top, till it makes a 90º angle with the leg resting on the floor. Slowly bring the leg down, ensuring it does not touch the floor or the leg on the floor. Lift the leg up again and repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions. Switch sides and repeat the same on other side as well.
Oblique Crunch (OC)
To do this oblique exercise, lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Interlace your fingers and place your hands behind your neck. Slowly lift your shoulders off the floor, twist to the left and try to touch the right elbow to the left knee. Slowly come back to the starting position and repeat the same on other side. This core exercise should be repeated at least 15 times on either sides.
OC with Leg Extended
These crunches are similar to the oblique crunches. The only difference is the way the feet are placed. In this variation of crunches, one leg is extended out straight and the other leg is bent at the knee and brought closer to the chest. If the right leg is bent, lift your shoulders and back off the floor, twist to the right side and try to reach the left elbow to the right knee. After finishing 10 to 12 repetitions, change sides and repeat on other side as well.
Stand with your legs wide apart. Slowly bend down sideways, such that your torso is almost parallel to the thigh. When you are bending to the right side, your left hand should be extended out straight above your head and vice versa when you are bending to the left side. Slowly come back to the starting point and repeat the exercise on the other side about 12 to 15 times.
Hand to Big Toe
This exercise can also be a part of the warm-up as much as it can also be included in the obliques exercise routine. Stand with your legs wide apart. Extend your hands out straight to the sides. Now bend down from your waist and try to reach your right hand to your left foot. Slowly come back to center, bend down and try to reach the left hand to your right foot. Continue this exercise till you have completed 12 to 15 repetitions on either side.
Down Dog Pose
This is a yoga exercise (also called Adho Mukha Svanasana), which works love handles subtly. Come down on your hands and legs into a table position. Slowly lift up, as you lock your elbows and knees to form an inverted 'V'. Try to lengthen from your waistline and hold the position for as long as you can. This can be a warm-up as well as cool-down exercise.
Swiss Ball Crunches
There is a double-fold benefit of doing oblique crunches on the Swiss ball. It not only works the obliques and thighs, but also strengthens the core. Lie with your back on the Swiss ball, with your fingers interlaced and placed behind your head. Ground your feet firmly, such that your thighs are parallel to the floor. Slowly lift your torso off the ball and crunch to a side. Come back to center and repeat the same on other side. Continue to do this exercise, for 12 to 15 repetitions.
Tadasana is a great exercise to work the love handles and aids in concentration. To do this exercise, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Balance your weight on your left foot, as you slowly lift the right leg off the floor. Place the right foot on your left inner thigh and extend your hands out straight at shoulder height to help you to maintain balance. Once you are stable, lift your hands up and extend them above your head into a prayer position. Hold the position for as long as you can, as you try to extend your hands up in the air as much as you can.
Simplest, yet the most effective exercise for love handles. Sit in a simple cross-legged position. Place the right foot on the floor, so that the knee is closer to the chest. Now twist to the left side and try to reach the left hand to the right hand, as though the left hand were to encircle the body from behind. In other words, the right hand will extend behind you from the right side and the left hand will extend behind from the left. Hold the twist for a few seconds, release and repeat the same on other side.
This pose is called half-moon pose. Stand in a lunge pose with your right leg in front. Your left hand should be resting on your hip. Both your knees should be locked. Bend forward as you bend your right knee and place the right hand in front of you, but a little to the left side. Balance your weight onto your right hand and right foot and lift your left leg off the floor, as you extend the left hand above your head. Once you are well grounded, turn your neck to look at your left hand.
The English name of this exercise is side crane pose. To do this pose, place your hands on the floor, about one foot away from your feet. Slowly bend your knees to come into a squatting position, with your thighs parallel to the floor. If your heels, do not touch the floor, place some padding under your heels. Slowly twist your torso to the left, till your right knee is resting on the left arm, but above the elbow. Once you are stable, gradually lift your feet off the floor, as you balance your weight on your hands. Hold the position for a few seconds, before you release and repeat the same on other side.
This pose is called extended side angle pose in English. To get into this pose, stand with your feet about three feet apart. Turn the right foot out to the right side, such that the heel of the right foot is in line with the arch of the left foot. Bend the right knee, so that the right thigh is parallel to the floor. Place your right palm in front of the right foot, such that the right hand is leaning against the right leg. Extend the left hand, above your head. While you are in this position, make sure your left knee is extended. Repeat this exercise on the other side.
As the planks are known to work wonders for the abdomen, similarly, Vasisthasana are known to work for the love handles. Doing them regularly will also help in building strength in the upper body. Get into the down dog pose, then shift your weight onto the outer edge of the right foot and on the right hand. When you get into this position, your hand should not be directly under the shoulder, but at an angle. Slowly shift the left leg onto the right leg and hold the position, making sure you do not collapse in your shoulders or in your core.
Sitting Side Bends
Sit in a cross-legged position, but extend the right leg out to the side. Extend both your hands above your head. Slowly bend to the right side as far as you can. Come back to the center and repeat the same for three to five times, before you switch sides.
Exercises for Thighs
Trikonasana is one of the best postures for obliques. Stand with about 3 feet distance between your feet. Turn the right leg forward, such that the heel of the right leg is in line with the arch of the left leg. Bend down and place the right hand behind the right foot and extend your left hand above your head. When you get into this position, both your knees should be locked. When you are new to this exercise, you will find it difficult to reach your hand to the floor, at such times, you can use a padding under your hand. Often yoga bricks are used for the same.
To shape the thundering thighs, there are numerous exercises. Most thigh exercises also help to tone the buttocks. Most of women find it difficult to get right rid of fat accumulation in the thigh region, this can be attributed to the fact, that women are biologically designed to have children and the body is reluctant to let go of the fat deposit, which it will need during pregnancy and delivery. Let's see some thigh toning exercises.
Supine Leg Walk
One of the simplest, yet most effective exercise to get rid of thigh fat is supine leg walk. Lie on the floor with your legs extended out straight. Place your hands out straight into a 'T' position at shoulder height. Now imitate the action of walking, making sure your legs are extended out straight and not bent in the knee. In other words, while your left leg is about six inches off the floor, your right leg makes a ninety degree angle with the floor. Slowly lower the right leg, as you lift the left leg towards the ceiling. This exercise should be repeated 10 to 12 times on either legs.
Although the title of this exercise says stationary bike, you can also use the regular bike to work your thighs. As a matter of fact, if you could cycle to work or to run errands, then you will definitely have your thighs worked out. Make sure you cycle at least for 15 to 20 minutes for optimum results. Working with high tension will bring you better results.
The Sanskrit name of this pose is Ushtrasana. Come down on your knees with hip width distance between your knees. Bend backwards and try to reach your hands to the heels. When you are new to this exercise, do not throw your neck behind. Once you are used to this pose, you can slowly throw your neck behind. Stay in the position for as long as you can.
Come down on your fours, to do this exercise for thighs and hips. Lift your left knee off the floor, such that the thighs are parallel to the floor and the foot is facing the sky. Slowly lower the leg, but do not touch the knee to the floor. Complete 12 to 15 repetitions of this exercise, before you switch legs.
To work the thighs, this is one of the best exercises. Stand with hip width distance between your feet and slowly bend backwards as you try to reach your hands to the floor. Once your hands reach the floor, make sure your hands are extended and you are not collapsing in your shoulders. In the initial days, you will require support to do this exercise. However, with practice you will be able to do this exercise on your own.
The most well-known exercise for thighs are the lunges. Stand with hip width distance between your feet. Step the right leg in front of you. Slowly lower your torso, till the right leg is parallel to the floor and the left knee is locked. Come back up slowly and repeat the posture 12 to 15 times and switch legs.
Step Up Lunge
The steps to do this exercise are the same as the 'lunge' exercise. The difference between step-up lunge and regular lunge is the way the leg in front is placed. Place the leg in front on an elevation and continue to do the lunges and repeat the same on other side.
The only difference between lunges and dumbbell lunges is the addition of weights to the exercise. To add more resistance to the exercise, use weights in your both hands. Start off with lighter weights and once you are used to the weights, you can use heavier weights.
Other than lunges, squats are known to be great exercises for the thighs. Place barbell on your shoulders. Stand with shoulder width distance between your feet. Slowly lower your torso, such that your thighs are parallel to the floor, but your knees do not cross over your toes. Come back up and repeat this exercise 12 to 15 times.
The steps to do dumbbell squats is same like that of barbell squats. The only difference is in the weights used. While doing dumbbell squats, hold dumbbells in both your hands. When you are getting into the squat position, you will extend your hands straight in front of you, which will ensure you are able to better balance your weight. If the weights that you are using are heavier, then it is best to keep your hands to your sides, when you are doing the squats.
Inner Thigh Squat
The steps to do this exercise is slightly different from the regular squats. Stand with hip-width distance between your feet. Turn your feet outwards, so that your heels are facing each other. Lower your torso, till your thighs are parallel to the floor. You feel your inner thighs working. Hold the position for a few seconds, come back up only to repeat this exercise 10 to 12 times.
This is a wonderful exercise for the thighs as well as for buttocks. Lie with your back on the floor. Bend your legs and place your feet on the floor. Slowly lift your torso off the floor and intertwine your fingers and continue to press your hands into the floor. Hold the position for as long as you can and slowly lower yourself.
Swiss Ball Leg Lifts
Another exercise for thighs as well as for hips are the Swiss ball leg lifts. Place the stability ball closer to a wall. Lie side-ways on the stability ball, such that your torso is resting on the ball. Now slowly lift the leg on top, till the leg is in line with the hip. Slowly lower the leg, but do not touch it to the floor. Complete a set of 10 to 12 repetitions, before you switch sides.
Warrior II Pose
The Sanskrit name of this pose is Virbhadrasana II. To get into this pose, stand with about three feet distance between your feet. Turn the right leg forward, such that the heel of your right leg is in line with the arch of the left leg. Now slowly bend the right leg, so that the right thigh is parallel to the floor and the knee of the left leg is locked. Extend the hands out straight to the sides. Try to lower your torso as much as you can and hold the position for a few seconds. Change sides and repeat the same on other side.
Baddha Konasana is the Sanskrit name of this exercise. Sit down on your mat and bend your legs and join the soles to one another. Pull your feet closer to you and hold the pose for a considerable amount of time. Doing this pose regularly will also help in releasing tension in the hip-joint.
How can the list of exercises to work the thighs be complete without the mention of jogging or walking exercise? If you are new to exercise, then you will want to initially take up brisk walking, before you make the switch to jogging. Similarly, if you are overweight, it is best to start off with brisk walking and once you have lost some weight, you can transition over to jogging. Make sure you have the right pair of shoes for the same, so that you do not injure yourself.
Before you do these exercises, make sure you do some warm up exercises as well. If you notice any pain, when you do this exercise, stop doing the exercise immediately and consult your trainer to know, if your posture is wrong. Like the warm up is an important part of an exercise routine, cool down is equally important. Stretching exercises should be a part of the cool down, so that the muscles do not contract forcefully.