Grab your ankle weights, and get ready for a thigh burner that’ll melt away excess fat and tone your legs. We spoke with Jacquie Smith, a certified integrative nutrition health coach and a fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts, who shares six ankle weight exercises for toned thighs. If you really want to get your thighs into shape, working out with ankle weights is the name of the game.

Smith tells us, “Ankle weights are great for adding a little extra load to your muscles so they have to work a little harder in each exercise without compromising your form or range of motion. This will ultimately work your muscles more intensely and effectively to get those long, lean thigh muscles you are seeking.”

Keep reading to learn all about Smith’s top-recommended ankle weight exercises for toned thighs. And next, don’t miss Lose Thigh Fat Fast With These Slimming Exercises, Trainer Says.

Put your ankle weights on, and get into a tabletop position.

woman putting on ankle weights for ankle weight exercises at the gym
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To set up for your ankle weight exercises, position your hands underneath your shoulders, and line your knees up with your hips. Bend your elbows just a bit, and pull your abs inward.

1. Rainbows: For this first exercise, bring your right foot to the back corner of your mat, pointing your toes. Then, think of your big toe as a “paintbrush,” and “paint” a rainbow as you bring your right foot over to the back left corner of your mat. Your inner thighs should be squeezed for a second, then paint another rainbow with that same leg to return to the position you started in.

2. Leg Diagonals: Next, completely extend your leg behind you, keeping it lined up with your hip, and flex your foot. Then, bring your foot a couple of inches out to the back right corner of the mat. Squeeze it as you return to the starting position.

Lie on your side.

Lie on your right side, bend that same elbow, and position it under your shoulder so that it’s parallel to the mat. Keep your shoulders relaxed, and activate the right side of your body by pushing away from the mat. Bend your left knee, and position your left foot on the ground next to your right knee. Straighten your right leg to the right corner of your mat, flexing that foot.

3. Leg Raises: Activate your adductors by raising your leg as high as possible. Hold your leg at the top for a second to engage those muscles, then gradually lower it to hover an inch above the floor.

4. Leg Pulses: For leg pulses, bring your leg up as high as it can go—at least at a 45-degree angle—and point your foot. Pulse your leg upward and then down. Smith points out that these pulses should be tiny movements—just an inch up and an inch back down.

Stand up for the last few exercises.

For the final set-up, stand tall with your feet hip-width distance apart. Bend your knees just a bit, and activate your core muscles.

5. Lunges: Lunges will have you bringing your right foot forward and your left leg back to form a lunge. Your shoulders should be lined up with your hips. Lower your back knee to hover about one inch above the mat, squeezing your glutes and inner thighs as you come back up. Step into the position you started in, and repeat the motion.

6. Side Leg Lifts: To maintain balance, bring your hands up to your chest, and make sure your hips are squared. Bring your leg up about six inches off the floor, pointing your toe up. Lower it back down, and repeat the motion.

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