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5 Perfect Exercises for Defined, Lean Legs

This routine will leave you sweaty, sculpted, and ready for your next beach vacation in no time.
FACT CHECKED BY Alexa Mellardo

You probably hear the phrase "leg day" frequently in the fitness world as a means to achieve tight, toned thighs. The truth is, you don't need to dedicate specific days or spend multiple hours in order to get a sculpted lower body. What do you need? The right exercises for the female body, or movements that work harmoniously with your hormones, to develop those long, lean lines from head to toe. So you'll certainly want to add the below five exercises for lean legs to your fitness routine as soon as possible.

As a trainer focused on hormone balance and pre/postnatal-friendly workouts, my all-time favorite move is the lying down inner thigh series. Not to mention, it will also stabilize your pelvis and strengthen your core. The best part? It requires absolutely no equipment (But you are always welcome to level up with ankle weights!) and very little space.

Read on to learn about the five best exercises for lean legs, and next, don't miss 6 Exercises for Toned Thighs That Don't Require Equipment.

Here's how to set yourself up:

trainer demonstrating mat exercises for lean legs
Jacquie Smith

To set up, lie down on your right side, bending your right elbow and placing it under your shoulder. Your arm should be parallel to the front of the mat. Make sure to relax your shoulders and activate the right side of your body by pushing out of the mat. Then, bend your left knee, and place your left foot on the floor next to your right knee. Finally, extend your right leg out toward the right corner of the mat, and flex your foot. Keep a micro-bend in that leg so you don't lock out your joints.

We've put together this thigh-burning routine to leave you sweaty, sculpted, and ready for your next beach vacation in no time! And if you're looking for more hormone and pregnancy-friendly workouts? Try this FREE 30-Minute Full0Body Sculpt Workout With Optional 1 lb Weights. All you have to do is register here.

Leg Raises (10x)

Start to engage your adductors by lifting your leg as high as possible. Hold at the top for just a moment to really work the muscles and then slowly lower your leg back down about an inch above the mat. Continue to lift and lower.

Leg Pulses, Foot Flexed (10x)

Keep your leg at the highest height (at least at a 45-degree angle) with your foot flexed, and pulse your leg up and down. These pulses should be super small, so only about an inch up and an inch down.

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Point + Flex Leg Raise (10x)

Lower your leg down about one inch above the mat, and point your toe. Lift your leg up to the highest point again and then flex your foot as you lower it back down to the starting position. Point your toe on the leg lift, and flex your foot on the leg lower.

Little Circle with the Toe (10x each direction)

Your inner thigh is probably on fire at this point—with or without weights! To continue this routine, bring your leg back up to the highest point, and begin to draw tiny circles with your big toe. Once you complete 10, reverse the circles and do 10 in the other direction.

Leg Pulses, Pointed Toe (10x)

For the final burn, pulse your leg up as high as possible with a pointed toe, and hold the final pulse for four seconds before you release to maximize your effort!

Repeat the series on the left side, and make sure to open up those inner thighs afterward with a child's pose! There's an option to do two rounds on each leg for an extra challenge.

Jacquie Smith
Jacquie Smith is a certified integrative nutrition health coach from IIN and a fitness instructor specializing in barre, yoga, and pre/postnatal workouts. Read more about Jacquie
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