If you are looking for exercises to tone stomach, bum, and thighs – you want to use a variety of activities that complement each other – and that actually work.
Typically, a lot of the workout programs available on the web consist of a few different exercises thrown together – without leaving much thought behind it.
The exercises I’m about to show you are all developed to target the wanted muscle groups – and used together, they will bring outstanding results!
Exercises to Tone Stomach, Bum, and Thighs: The Fabulous Eight Explained
1. Lying Leg Raises
Lying leg raises are one of the simplest and most effective exercises you can do to strengthen your ab muscles (1). Plus, you don’t need any equipment to do these, and the overloading potential is excellent.
If you’ve never done these, start with bent knees and work up to a few sets of 20 repetitions. Then, being doing straight leg raises, work up to 20-25 reps, and consider attaching ankle weights for extra resistance.
Eventually, you can also begin to raise your hips off the floor as your legs are at the top position. This will force your abs to work even harder.
2. Hip Thrusts
Hip thrusts are a fantastic barbell exercise that strengthens your posterior chain (2). Most notably, the movement builds up your glutes, but it also works your hamstrings, calves, lower back, and abs.
To do this movement, you’ll need a barbell, some weight plates, a pad to cushion the weight on your groin area, and a gym bench to support your upper body. The exercise is simple to learn because the movement pattern is straightforward.
Unlike many compound exercises, the hip thrust is excellent because it allows you to primarily emphasize your glutes with significant weights and cause mechanical tension that leads to muscle growth.
3. Barbell Back Squat
Like hip thrusts, the barbell back squat is also suitable for glute growth, especially when you squat deep (3). But the exercise also strengthens your quadriceps, core, and back muscles.
First, squatting with a heavy weight on your back forces your leg muscles to work extra hard. Second, your entire upper body helps keep you balanced and upright, which is why the squat is a great full-body activity.
The plank is a fantastic isometric exercise that strengthens your entire core and tones your stomach. This full-body activity emphasizes your ab muscles and works your back, glutes, hamstrings, chest, shoulders, and triceps. All of these muscles contract isometrically to keep your body in position for a predetermined amount of time.
5. Glute Kickback
Glute kickbacks are one of the simplest and most effective exercises you can use to emphasize your glutes and hamstrings. Doing these is relatively simple because you don’t need any equipment and the movement pattern is simple to grasp.
All you have to do is get on all fours, brace your core, raise one knee off the floor, and begin to kick back, fully engaging your glute as you do.
Should the bodyweight version get to be too easy, you can add ankle weights to the equation or squeeze small dumbbells at the back of your knees between the back of your thighs and calves.
6. Bulgarian Split Squat
Next to regular squats, the Bulgarian split squat is one of the best exercises you can use to strengthen and tone your thighs (4).
To do these, you need to elevate one foot, step forward with the other, and squat. It’s a simple movement that forces you to support your body on a single leg. Doing so allows you to build single-leg strength and prevent muscle imbalances from occurring.
Plus, you don’t need any equipment to start with these. For example, you can elevate one foot on the sofa, a chair, or your bed. The bodyweight version will be more than enough to keep you challenged for a long time.
7. Russian Twists
Russian twists are a fantastic bodyweight exercise that builds rotational strength in the torso and emphasizes your obliques – the muscles on either side of your abs.
Besides oblique development, Russian twists also involve your abs because these muscles have to keep your torso in an almost upright position.
Russian twists also offer an excellent overloading potential. As the bodyweight version gets too easy, you can start holding onto a weight plate or dumbbell for extra resistance.
8. Glute Bridge
Aside from hip thrusts and kickbacks, glute bridges are another great exercise you should use to tone your bum (5). The movement is similar to hip thrusts but with a couple of differences:
First, instead of elevating your upper body on a gym bench, you’re lying flat on the floor. Second, you should typically do this movement without external weight unless the bodyweight version gets too easy.
Other than that, the movement pattern is simple and emphasizes your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back. Plus, you always have the option to add extra weight (for example, place a dumbbell on your groin area) or do these with one leg at a time.
There are hundreds, even thousands of exercises we can do for every muscle in the body. But as with most things, results come when we narrow our focus and get started.
This list of eight exercises should hopefully give you at least a few good ideas of activities you can start doing right away to build up your abs, bum, and thighs.
If you want to go even further and are ready to set up your own workout program. check out my at-home strength building archive – LOADED with workout programs, effective exercises, and actionable fitness hacks.
See you there!
Other Helpful Resources
- How to Build Core Strength From Nothing: The Beginners Guide
- What is the Best ab Roller to Buy? Reviews and Top Picks
- What is The Best Sit Up Bench? Reviews, Comparisons, and Top Picks
- 4 Superb Benefits to Owning a Fold Away Sit up Bench
- Why is it Important to Strengthen Your Core? 7 Reasons to Why YOU Should do Core Exercises!
- Does Walking Strengthen Your Core? 3 Hacks to Build Core Strength While Walking
- Kim K, Lee T. Comparison of muscular activities in the abdomen and lower limbs while performing sit-up and leg-raise. J Phys Ther Sci. 2016;28(2):491-494. doi:10.1589/jpts.28.491
- Neto WK, Vieira TL, Gama EF. Barbell Hip Thrust, Muscular Activation and Performance: A Systematic Review. J Sports Sci Med. 2019 Jun 1;18(2):198-206. PMID: 31191088; PMCID: PMC6544005.
- Kubo K, Ikebukuro T, Yata H. Effects of squat training with different depths on lower limb muscle volumes. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2019 Sep;119(9):1933-1942. doi: 10.1007/s00421-019-04181-y. Epub 2019 Jun 22. PMID: 31230110.
- DeFOREST BA, Cantrell GS, Schilling BK. Muscle Activity in Single- vs. Double-Leg Squats. Int J Exerc Sci. 2014;7(4):302-310. Published 2014 Oct 1.
- Lehecka BJ, Edwards M, Haverkamp R, et al. BUILDING A BETTER GLUTEAL BRIDGE: ELECTROMYOGRAPHIC ANALYSIS OF HIP MUSCLE ACTIVITY DURING MODIFIED SINGLE-LEG BRIDGES. Int J Sports Phys Ther. 2017;12(4):543-549.