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This workout targets your thighs and abs in 9 moves — no equipment required

a photo of a man with strong abdominal muscles
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

If you’re looking for a home workout you can do without having to reach for a pair of the best adjustable dumbbells, you’ve come to the right place. Strength and conditioning gains don’t have to come from lifting heavy weights, or spending hours sweating in the gym — they can come from doing equipment-free exercises that force you to work hard, for a short amount of time. 

But where do you start? Whether you quit the gym during the pandemic and have yet to return, or you’re traveling and looking for a workout you can do on the move, this no-equipment workout targets your thighs and abs in nine simple moves. 

Instructor Britany Williams is a fitness trainer and Barre instructor on the Sweat app (read our Sweat app review here). The entire workout takes less than 30 minutes, and all you’ll need is yourself and your exercise mat (check out the best yoga mats that double as exercise mats here). 

The workout hits the thighs and the abdominal muscles for some serious toning. Looking for more workout inspiration? After you're done here, check out some more full-body workouts you can do from anywhere.

The thigh and abs no-equipment workout

The workout includes nine different exercises. You complete each for 35 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds before moving on to the next move. You then repeat the full circuit three times through, with a 60-second rest between each circuit. 

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The circuit is as follows: 

Inner Thigh Lift + Side Plank
V Up + Adduction
Reverse Nordic Curl
Second Plié Oblique Crunch
Second to Lunge to Knee Drive
Kneel to Squat
Forward Lunge + Twist
Kick Sit
Side Plank + Abduction

If you're unfamiliar with any of these exercises, the video above shows how to do each properly.

The workout targets different muscles in the thighs and the abdominal muscles. Some, like the V Ups and adduction, target the rectus abdominal muscles (the outer abdominal muscles that give you a visible six-pack), as well as the glutes, thighs, and hip flexors. Others, such as the lunge and twist, target the inner thighs. We’ve also found seven of the best exercises for toning your inner thighs here. 

Whether you’re looking to gain muscle, lose weight or both, it’s not a good idea to target the same muscle groups every single day, as you’re likely to overtrain and it could lead to injury. When it comes to how often you should work out to see results, Beachbody Super Trainer Megan Davies recommends starting with two to three sessions a week and building up. Downloading one of the best workout apps on the market is an easy way to get some extra motivation. 

Will the workout leave you with a six-pack? Probably not — while strength training is important when it comes to building a solid core, visible abs are the result of a low body fat percentage. Here’s how to calculate your body fat percentage, and why it matters. 


Next: Check out this weightless arm workout that surprised us, how to do a reverse plank for killer abs as told by Ariana Grande's personal trainer and 6 resistance band exercises that can build your arms without weights.  

Jane McGuire
Jane McGuire

Jane McGuire is Tom's Guide's Fitness editor, which means she looks after everything fitness related - from running gear to yoga mats. An avid runner, Jane has tested and reviewed fitness products for the past four years, so knows what to look for when finding a good running watch or a pair of shorts with pockets big enough for your smartphone. When she's not pounding the pavements, you'll find Jane striding round the Surrey Hills, taking far too many photos of her puppy.