Gain tone and core strength in your hips and outer thighs by performing leg abduction exercises. Think of the word abduction to mean "to take away." Therefore, the leg or hip abduction exercises lift your leg out to the side and away from your mid-line. You can perform side leg raises without equipment and still receive their full benefit.
Standing Leg Abductions
Stand sideways to a wall with straight posture. Place your nearest hand on the wall if you need to balance yourself.
Shift your weight to the leg nearest the wall. Inhale to prepare for exercise.
Exhale and lift your outside leg away from your mid-line out to the side at a 45-degree angle. Inhale and slowly resist gravity as you lower your leg down to starting position. Refrain from lifting the leg higher than 45-degrees because it will tilt your pelvis, cause incorrect body mechanics, and not benefit the exercise.
Continue to perform standing hip abductions for three sets of 10 repetitions. Rest 30 seconds between each set.
Floor Hip Abductions
Begin side-lying hip abductions on the floor with your head resting on your outstretched arm. Do this if it is more comfortable to have your lower leg bent or straight.
Inhale to prepare for exercise. Exhale, compress the front of your abdomen, and lift your leg upward and away from your mid-line. Lift as high as a 45-degree angle. Inhale and slowly return your leg to starting position.
Continue floor hip abductions for three sets of 10 repetitions on each leg. Rest 30 seconds between each set.
Begin in side lying position with your head resting on your outstretched arm. Angle your stacked legs slightly forward.
Raise your top leg a few inches off of your lower leg. Inhale and move your leg straight backward. Exhale, compress your abdomen in toward your spine, and slowly swing your leg forward past your lower leg. Perform a small double pulsing kick forward. Inhale and pendulum swing your leg back again. Continue for six to 12 repetitions and switch legs.
Refrain from counterbalancing with your torso and leaning your torso in a direction opposite the leg. Instead, pretend to have a teacup on top of your shoulder and keep your shoulder still. The front to back motion of your leg solicits different portions of your gluteal deltoid muscle group.
Add a small forward leg circle to your standing side lifts. Reverse the motion and perform small backward circles.
Change to a bent leg position with your top leg during side-lying leg abductions. This can help ,joint pain.
Perform small forward and backward circles while lying on your side. Make it more challenging by performing four large forward circles and four large backward leg circles. This is called a Grande Ronde De Jambe exercise in Pilates. Again, refrain from counterbalancing with your torso.