12 Mar Instead of A Thigh Gap, How To Get Strong Legs: 4 Best Lower Body Workouts For Leaner, More Toned Hips & Butt For Spring, Summer!
There are beauty trends, fashion trends and even fitness trends (we wouldn’t be surprised if SoulCycle became its own nation soon). But would you consider the “thigh gap” an actual trend?
Maybe you heard about thigh gap from your elliptical neighbor or during a post-workout brunch, the term referring to the visible space between one’s thighs when standing upright with knees touching—a recent goal of many disillusioned women and young girls who frequent the gym.
The “thigh gap trend” has been circulating all over social media. Just look to singer Demi Lovato for some body-loving inspiration. One of her latest Instagram posts shows her nonexistent thigh gap, just a healthy body in one hot bikini. She goes on to say, “Regardless of what society tells you these days… You don’t have to have a thigh gap to be beautiful. It is possible to love your body the way it is.” Preach, Demi!
But that doesn’t mean skinny legs are unhealthy. Based on certain body types, a thigh gap might not be attainable. If you are going to the gym and losing weight solely to have “skinny legs,” then your entire concept of a healthy body image may be a tad misguided. If your goal is to look like a fashion magazine cover girl, proceed with caution. Those images of thigh gaps are merely photoshopped illusions, altered photos of famous actresses and models to perpetuate the belief that thighs rubbing together are not attractive. Well, think again!
We asked some of our favorite beauty editors and bloggers to weigh in on the thigh gap trend, if it’s something they personally try to achieve, if the term is in actuality misconstrued, and raising the more palatable question: “How can I obtain stronger, leaner-looking legs?” We also reached out to fitness experts Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, registered dietitian and owner/operator of CKO Kickboxing in Lyndhurst, NJ; David Kirsch, celebrity trainer and wellness expert; and Annie Rodriguez, NYC dancer/pilates, barre, and fitness Instructor at Chalk Gyms, to find out how to tone our legs the healthy way.
First things first—is the thigh gap really a healthy fitness goal? Of course not. It can be interpreted as trying to get really skinny legs to live up to certain standards of beauty, which, in reality, depends on factors such as your body type, age and genetics. “Women with wider hips tend to have a wider gap in this area,” explains Jacqueline Gomes, MBA, RDN. “In addition, for very athletic or muscular women this again may not be attainable. Typically you’ll notice the ‘thigh gap’ on very thin and muscular women like runway models for example.”
We all know that beauty comes in many shapes and sizes. So rather than focusing on achieving a thigh gap, women should be more diligent with toning their inner thighs, which will give you the appearance of a slenderized lower body (and an ultimately stronger core and pelvis). “You have to tone the muscles of your inner thigh, known as the adductor muscles. The tighter these muscles are, the more space you’ll have in between your thighs,” advises David Kirsch.
It’s important to approach the term “thigh gap” with a healthier understanding. Like our fitness experts pointed out, some people are just genetically born with more space between their thighs and can be completely healthy, while others with a different body type may not. “I think the most attractive inner thighs are the most functional ones, meaning that they work to lift the base of the core, support the pelvis and keep the legs in alignment,” says fitness instructor Annie Rodriguez. “If they’re properly trained, they’ll be sleek, toned, beautiful and strong — and who cares how much they touch when you have thighs like that?”
With all this talk of “me, me, me,” “I want perfect thighs,” and “I want to look like a model,” have you even considered what your significant other thinks of the thigh gap? Off the record, Annie added, “I consulted my husband who confirmed my suspicion that any increase in thigh gap would make him proportionally sad… but that’s probably not what anyone wants to hear from their fitness instructor.” Oh, it most certainly is.
Here’s what some of our favorite beauty/lifestyle bloggers, writers and editors had to say about the “thigh gap”:
“Let’s all be honest here: this is a crazy quest for perfection that just seeks to further a body ideal that is unrealistic and almost completely dependent on body structure, starvation and constant use of Photoshop, which is no way to live. My fitness goal is just to make sure mine [thighs] aren’t rubbing together, which is pretty achievable with a good amount of cardio, squats, lunges and time on the abductor machine at the gym. Just be healthy and happy, no matter where your thighs sit.” – Kristin Booker, Fashion/Beauty Writer, Founder of fashionstylebeauty.com
“I think it’s stupid but it’s click bait. I think it’s a very stupid trend made more pervasive by social influencers who routinely pose with food that they don’t actually eat. Rather than highlighting this very stupid trend, let’s talk about fitness and health in general.” Felicia Walker Benson, Beauty Writer/Blogger/Founder of ThisThatBeauty
“I think [having a] giant thigh gap is unattractive and unhealthy, but depending on your body type, a slight thigh gap is possible without cutting calories excessively. For me, avoiding complex carbs 80% of the time and doing barre workouts like Core Fusion at least twice a week yields a small but satisfying thigh gap.”Amber Katz, Founder and Writer of Rouge18
“To be honest, I never thought about the thigh gap before until everyone kept making a fuss about it last summer. I’ve always been active with sports and hiking, so strong, muscular legs were always welcome in my book. I don’t personally strive for getting a gap, because I try to base my goals around how I feel more so than how I look. To me, if your legs are strong and you feel healthy, who cares if they touch?! I will say, if you are aiming for those perfectly toned thighs, nothing beats good old fashion squats. Do a few reps of ten, and you’ll feel the burn for sure!” Caitlin Miller, Senior Beauty Editor at StyleBistro.com
“I don’t care about having a thigh gap, because I know I am healthy. However, I am saddened with the trend. Even women with the most slim/fit bodies don’t generally have a thigh gap, because its so unattainable. So, when celebs or style bloggers Photoshop their images to appear as if they have one, that sends a dangerous message.” Lorna Solano, Editor at The Fabulous Report thefabulousreport.com
“Everyone since the dawn of the Suzanne Somers ThighMaster has wanted the thigh gap. (I’m no exception.) The greatest advancement for me is wearing my Bledsoe Volare Back Brace Corset when I work out my legs and lower back. It keeps me aligned and supports my back to avoid injury.” – Lara Eurdolian, Blogger and Founder of Pretty Connected and In His Clothes.
“I don’t really care for a thigh gap, at least not on my body. I don’t think it serves any purpose. In all seriousness though, I don’t think a thigh gap is any sort of health marker, and more importantly, smaller thighs tend to mean a smaller butt and that is something I’m just not into. Small, isolated movements — like [you do in] barre class, I swear by Pop Physique! — will really help shape and sculpt your legs. It does take work though, and you will be sore! But that just means it’s working. Bren Lee, Beauty Writer.Blogger.Editor | Check out her site omgbren.com.
To jump-start your positive lower body image goals, David gave us four workouts you can do at home or in the gym to strengthen your core and tone your inner thighs, glutes and buttocks.
David’s Tip: Each of them should be done no less than 15 reps per side, with your core engaged. You should anchor all your weight in your heels and drive the energy from your heels to your butt. This will make it most effective as well as prevent any injuries.
Step 1. Holding a body bar, dumbbells, medicine ball, or even a broomstick in a pinch, stand with your legs shoulder-width apart.
Step 2: Bend forward, hinging at the waist. Keep your knees soft and back flat. Come back to starting position. (Make it easier: If you’re feeling shaky, hold the back of a chair or the edge of a table for balance. Make it harder: If you’re feeling great, try lifting your alternate leg as you go down.)
Lateral Lunge to a High Kick
Step 1: Stand with your legs shoulder length apart.
Step 2: Step into a lateral lunge.
Step 3: Move directly into a high kick, keeping your leg straight.
Step 4: Lower leg, then continue with opposite leg.
Plié Toe Squat
Step 1: Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width distance and turn your toes out. Weight is still in your heels.
Step 2: Keeping your weight in your heels and your knees turned out, squat down and up.
Step 3: Tuck your pelvis in and tuck your butt out. The more you engage, the more you’ll shape.
Step 4: To put even more emphasis on your inner thighs, butt and core: lift your heels up as you squat.
Sumo Lunge with Side Kicks (DK signature move)
Step 1: Stand in a “sumo” position with your feet slightly wider than hip width, knees bent and your body weight in your heels.
Step 2: Take a large step sideways with your right leg, bringing your right knee in toward your chest and then over to the right in one continuous motion.
Step 3: As soon as your right foot touches the ground, bring your knee back into your chest and complete a side kick, kicking your right heel out to the side into the stomach of an imaginary opponent (or jaw if that imaginary person is height compromised).
Step 4: Lower your right leg to the floor into the sumo position. Squat down while sticking your butt out. Keep your knees just above (not in front of) your toes.
Step 5: Spring up while thrusting your arms overhead. Land on your heels, rolling forward onto your toes. Repeat with a sumo lunge and side kick with your left leg and another frog jump. Continue alternating right to left until you have completed 10 lunges on each side and 20 frog jumps.
What do you beauties think of the thigh gap trend? Is it something you care about?
Let us know by commenting below! Make sure to follow us on our Pinterest page by clicking HERE! And don’t forget to get the latest beauty and skincare news by following us on Twitter @BeautyStat! #bstat
– Theresa Romano, Contributing Editor | Follow Theresa on Twitter & Instagram @there_esa
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