What Does it Take to Reduce the Thighs?
If you’re trying to reduce the size of your thighs, then you've come to the right place.
In this article you'll discover what it really takes to reduce your thighs and slim down other parts of your body.
A successful fitness program for getting a body you love includes changing the way you eat, and exercising regularly. This is the only proven way that exists to achieve lasting affects on your body. Both nutrition and exercise are crucial for long-term thigh reduction and should be taken seriously. Don't skip either!
Below, I will cover nutrition and leg exercises in detail and explain why they are important if you want to successfully slim down in the long run.
Reduce Your Thighs by Losing Weight in Your Entire Body
If you thought you could reduce your thighs without losing weight in the rest of your body, you’ve been misinformed. The myth about spot reduction is just that - a myth - though many people still believe they can burn fat in specific parts of their body by performing targeted exercises.
Our bodies are designed to store and burn fat according to our unique genetic programming and it simply doesn’t work when we try to burn fat in specific parts of our body.
The only way to slim the thighs is to reduce fat in your entire body, and this can only be achieved by burning more calories than you consume.
Below I will go into detail about what a healthy diet looks like and some exercise regimen ideas that can get you started on the road to forever-slim thighs.
Diet Tips for Losing Weight Safely and Sustainably
If you're serious about getting slimmer thighs and a lean body, then you need to be serious about nutrition since muscle tone and definition have more to do with genetics and diet than they do with exercise regimens. While you don't have much control over your genes, you can change what you put in to your body.
Like I mentioned above, you can lose weight by burning more calories than you consume. Let's dive in to what that will look like for you.
How Much Should You Eat?
A good way to determine the minimum you should eat on a daily basis to maintain your weight is taking your body weight and multiplying it by 10 or 12. This will get you your basal metabolic rate, which tells you how many calories you'd burn if you just laid in bed all day. By the way, this is just an estimate. Everyone's body is different and has different needs.
YOUR BODY WEIGHT X 10-12 = BASAL METABOLIC RATE
You burn calories on top of this since your daily activities include working and exercising, but this is a good way to find out how much your body needs to function.
If you don't know what you're eating on a daily basis or how many calories you're taking in, try logging your food using a website or a notebook (myfitnesspal.com and fitday.com are both good resources for that) and balancing that against the fluctuations you are (or aren't) seeing in your weight.
It's true that to lose weight, you need to burn more calories than you consume, but stay away from starvation-based diets and juice cleanses which will inevitably result in you gaining back the weight you lost.
Remember that you can't outsmart your body. Only healthy eating choices over the long term will result in sustainable weight loss.
What Should You Eat?
Here are some tips that should guide a healthy eating plan:
- Try cutting down on carbs and sugar. Don't pretend you'll be able to cut them out completely, but start with getting carbs down to 25-30% of your daily intake of food, making sure many of those are made up of vegetables.
- Remember that carbs include even "good" carbs like fruit, brown rice, whole wheat toast, etc.
- Up your protein intake to be about 40% of your diet. This can include proteins like meat and dairy (avoid eating too much red meat), as well as plant proteins like peanut butter, hummus, beans, rice, and quinoa.
- Remember that low-fat does not mean better for you. It's been proven that low-fat diets are ineffective, and Americans have been gaining weight steadily over the past twenty years even as they've been eating less fat.
- Try low-carb or Mediterranean diets, focusing on foods that are mostly derived from plants and avoiding highly processed foods.
Other Tips for Losing Weight
- Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that people who are chronically sleep-deprived are more likely to be obese. Also, when you're tired, your body craves comfort food and it will be much harder for you to make healthy eating choices, especially if someone brings in cookies to the office.
- Do not reward yourself with food. Just because you work out doesn't mean it's time to go get a pizza.
- Remember that every body is different and that your body will respond in its own way to how you change your eating and exercise habits. You might see change quickly or slowly, but the key is to keep on working at it.
Exercises to Slim Your Thighs and Reduce Cellulite
Thin Your Thighs By Strengthening Thigh Muscles
Why is it important to build up the strength of your thigh muscles? Muscle building speeds up metabolism and will also help you tone your thighs and make them look totally irresistible.
MYTH: You may have heard that doing squats, weight training, or other kinds of resistance work will make women "bulk up," but that isn't true. Testosterone is what causes men to "bulk up" when they do strength training, and women have 20-30% less testosterone than men.
The result, women can do resistance training and gain strength without the bulk.
Below are some exercises you can do that do not require any equipment or gym pass. If you don’t see results after the first two weeks, don’t be discouraged! Toned thighs are the result of many months of work and if you keep at it, you will be rewarded with a body you love.
A good place to start is choosing 3-4 of these exercises, and doing three sets each (the number of repetitions will depend on your fitness level).
Standing Free Squats
Doing 20 squats each morning is a great start to keeping your thigh muscles strong. If you feel like 20 squats is not enough to give you a good workout, do more until you feel like you’re challenging yourself. Be careful to not go overboard though!
Squats not only exercise the thighs, they also work out your hips and buttocks. There are many variations on the basic squat including jump-squats, wide-stance squats, split squat jumps, and goblet squats - some of these are below. But to start, don’t worry about adding weight or doing anything too fancy. Simply stretch your arms in front of you and start squatting.
How to do it:
- Put your arms straight out in front of you, parallel to the ground. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Don't round your back or hyper extend. Your weight should be on the heels and the balls of your feet, as if you were pasted to the ground. You should be able to move your toes freely.
- Keep your body tight the entire time.
- Breathe in, break at your hip, and push your butt back. Keep sending your hips backwards as your knees begin to bend. It’s important that you start with your hips back, and not by bending your knees.
- Keep your back straight, with your spine neutral, and your chest and shoulders up. Keep looking straight ahead.
- As you squat down, focus on keeping your knees in line with your feet.
- Squat down until your hip joint is lower than your knees (what we call parallel). We are looking at your hip joint here, not your thighs. Depending on the size of your thighs, your squat may appear to be less deep than it truly is. You can go deeper than this, however, anything less than parallel is a partial squat.
- Once at the bottom, it’s time to stand back up.
- Keeping everything tight, breathe out and drive through your heels (keep the balls of your feet on the ground as well).
- Drive your knees out the same way you did on the way down, and squeeze your butt at the top to make sure you’re engaging your glutes.
Chair and Single-Leg Squat
This is a perfect move for beginners.
How to do it:
- Begin standing with your back to a chair, feet hip-width apart.
- While keeping your weight centered on your heels, draw in your abs, and hinge forward at the hips slowly lowering your butt toward the chair.
- Pause right before you would sit down and return to standing while keeping the core engaged.
The lunge is the ultimate thigh workout and engages your entire thigh area. Similar to squats, lunges can be performed with or without weights.
How to do it:
- With your chest lifted, chin up and abs contracted, take a big step forward with your left foot.
- Sink straight down so your front left knee tracks over the top of your shoe and your back right knee points down toward the floor. You are on your back left toe.
- Push back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the right leg. Keep alternating.
If you decide to increase difficulty by adding weights, get some light dumbbells (hold a dumbbell in each hand) or a barbell with weights on it (hold a barbell on top of your neck and shoulders).
Again, if you don't like adding weight to your exercise, simply do more lunges. As always, make sure you are consistent and do the exercises regularly. Consistency is the key to keeping thigh muscles strong.
Pivoting Curtsy Lunge
This is a variation on the standard lunge above.
How to do it:
- Stand with feet hip-width apart, step diagonally with your right foot behind you and into a 7 o'clock position.
- Bend both knees so you're in a lunge stance.
- Lean your torso forward 30 degrees and pulse up and down 10-15 times.
- Straighten the body and pivot 180 degrees so your right foot comes to the front.
- Again, lower into a lunge.
This exercise is kind of like a jumping curtsy lunge.
How to do it:
- Begin with your feet shoulder-width apart and arms at your sides.
- Take a large step backwards with your left leg and cross it diagonally behind the right leg.
- Meanwhile, extend your right arm out to the side and swing the left arm across the hips.
- Hop about 2 feet to the left and come back to the beginning stance.
- Repeat with the other leg; that's one set.
Standing Leg Left
How to do it:
- Start off standing with all your weight on one leg.
- With the other leg, point the toe and turn that toe out towards the side, keeping the toe at 45 degrees.
- From here, just lift the leg and then lower; that's one repetition.
This is a variation on the standing free squat above.
How to do it:
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
- Start by doing a regular squat, then engage your core and jump up explosively.
- When you land, lower your body back into the squat position to complete one rep. Land as quietly as possible, which requires control.
This V-Position is similar to a ballet plié and just like that classic move, it works the thighs, hips, and glutes.
How to do it:
- Stand holding the back of a chair with one hand.
- Place your feet in a V position, toes should be about four inches apart and heels stay pressed together.
- Bend your knees and lift the heels a few inches off the floor. Then, lower your hips until you feel your quads intensely working.
- Pulse up and down - 15 times equals one set.
Lateral Lunge Variations
This are two variations on the lunge exercise above:
Lateral lunge with squat and side kick
How to do it:
- Lunge directly to the side with your right foot, finishing the lunge with your knee bent and as much weight as possible on that foot. Your toes stay forward and your weight remains in your heels.
- Return feet to center and squat, focusing on keeping your weight in your heels, then kick out with your right foot (see above for information on how to do a squat properly).
- Alternate squatting and kicking with both legs.
Lateral lunge with side hop
How to do it:
- Start with a lateral lunge (like in the previous move), keeping your weight in your heels and your toes forward.
- Return to the original position, and with your feet together, hop over to where you had just lunged to.
- Repeat with the other foot.
This is another cousin of the standing free squat:
How to do it:
- Come into a chair pose, abs engaged, inner knees and ankles touching, hips lowered to a half-squat, dumbbell over your head.
- Now come up onto the balls of your feet and keep your lower legs controlled as you lower and lift your butt, about four inches.
- Take your time and keep yourself steady as you lift and lower, between 8 and 12 times.
Standing Leg Curls
How to do it:
- Start standing with your hands on your hips (for those who are more advanced), or put your hand on a chair for some balance.
- Make sure your knees are parallel to one another.
- Flex your foot and bring it up towards your butt, keeping your pace nice and even.
- Do about 30-40 reps before switching to the other foot.
- To make this exercise more difficult, you can raise your arms over your head or add an ankle weight.
- Make sure to stretch out your hamstrings after completing the exercise.
Cardio and aerobic exercises to help slim your thighs
Dedicated aerobic exercise is a good addition to a workout regime. It can strengthen your heart (which is also a muscle!), and help burn calories to achieve your weight-loss goals.
Here are some cardio exercises which are particularly good for strengthening the thigh muscles.
Jogging to Slim Thighs
Jogging is a good exercise for toning thighs and increasing muscle mass in the legs while also burning fat. In addition, it's easy to do and requires no special equipment.
It’s considered a complex exercise because it engages almost every muscle in the body, including the heart. Check out the video above to learn how to jog properly.
It's also good to remember that mixing up your jogging routine can help you get the most out of your cardio time. Short bursts of intense activity - like sprinting or running up stairs - will not only help you strengthen your thighs but also increase the number of calories you burn.
Climbing Stairs to Shape Your Legs
If you live near an arena, stadium, or track, chances are you have access to some great stair climbing opportunities. (You can also use a stair climber in a gym). Climbing stairs is a good way to burn calories and work on building up your thigh muscles.
The repetitive motion of climbing builds muscular endurance, making it possible for you to perform a variety of leg-strengthening workouts with greater ease. You can alternate stair climbing with other cardiovascular activities to sculpt your thighs while eliminating body fat.
Cycling is a low-impact cardiovascular activity that really works your thighs. Each time you push down on the pedals, you engage your quadriceps and glutes, while pulling up the pedals during rotation engages your calves and hamstrings.
Cycling also works the adductor muscles, which are located on the inside of the thighs.
Ride a bicycle throughout your neighborhood or climb on a stationary cycle at your gym for a low-impact workout that burns fat and sculpts your thigh muscles (you can see the above video for an example stationary bike workout).
Kickboxing to Lose Weight and Tone Your Legs
Kickboxing is a high-impact aerobic activity that sculpts muscles in the upper and lower body, incorporating a variety of kicks, many of which are used in martial arts training.
The roundhouse kick, high kick, and low kick are just some of the moves you'll learn in a kickboxing class, and these kicks fully engage your quadriceps, hamstrings and a few other muscles in your legs.
Start by taking a kickboxing class at a local gym or martial arts school for a cardiovascular exercise that works the muscles in your thighs and throughout your legs. There are also multiple tutorials and how-to's on YouTube.
Maintain Your Shape
While many articles show you how to reduce the size of your thighs, they often forget to mention that it's very easy to gain everything back if you stop exercising and eating right.
If your goal is to slim your thighs and keep them lean forever, you'll need to follow the nutritional and exercise guidelines presented in this article for the long term.
Exercising three times a week should be enough for maintenance but in the end, it's all about leading a healthy lifestyle. Developing healthy eating and exercise habits is crucial for long term success no matter what part of the body you're trying to slim.
If you have any tips or tricks that have worked for you, please share them in the comments!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
sarah on May 19, 2019:
I have tried so many other things and thay have not worked but this is perfect thnx
Sonny on March 23, 2015:
Your article was very helpful. I must ask though, how often should I do these exercises ?
Friend on April 12, 2014:
It s very usefull, I ll try 2 reduce my thigh
Aastha on September 12, 2013:
it really works.THANKS
sasanka on July 31, 2013:
thank u for this information.
raje krishnan on May 23, 2013:
this is very informative. thanks for your tips.
jimmy on April 22, 2013:
thanx after trying this i got a 000 figure thank u so very much...
mewrite (author) on September 07, 2012:
This could happen for many reasons. This could be due to your age, some health condition, or maybe you just aren't doing lounges correctly. Consult a doctor or fitness expert if pain persists.
Shwetha on July 25, 2012:
Hi when I do lounges my knees hurts pl let me know .
irenemaria from Sweden on September 04, 2011:
Really good info you have here!