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The Japanese Method of Getting Skinny Legs

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Hezekiah relocated to Japan in 2000, to the Land of the Rising Sun.

Beautiful legs

Beautiful legs

5 Exercises for Thin, Toned Legs

For many women, the legs can be the most difficult part of the body to slim down. Though many people have the goal of thinner legs, it's something easier said than done, and a large percentage of people simply give up and accept the shape of the legs they have.

However, shapely legs aren't simply a matter of losing weight. After all, skinny, bony calves and thighs don't look healthy. It is also about toning your muscles.

Unbalanced muscle usage is the cause of many people's body concerns, including their thighs being too thick, the shape of their calves not being in line with their legs, and the lack of definition in their backside, or glutes. Due to the way you walk or move around, certain muscle groups may be overused and others underused, which causes an overall imbalance in the shape of the legs. An appropriate training routine will encourage all of the muscles to be used evenly, resulting in more attractive legs.

This exercise plan focuses on giving your legs better structure, shape, and muscle balance and can help you achieve more appealing-looking legs you'll feel confident showing off.

The exercises we are going to look at will be working all the muscle groups in the legs and also enhancing the backside and thigh separation. And since we will be working on muscle stimulation, the whole body will also benefit. Remember, the more lean muscle mass you have, the more calories you naturally burn per day.

Inner thigh lifts

Inner thigh lifts

1. Inner-Thigh Lifts

  1. Rest your shoulder on the floor with the rear leg bent, knee facing upwards. Stretch out the other leg on the floor while twisting the knee to face the floor.
  2. In the same position, lift up the leg in front so it is floating approximately two feet above the ground.

Repeat these two steps, holding each position for three seconds, for 10 reps on both sides.

Thigh lifts

Thigh lifts

2. Front and Back Thigh Lifts

  1. Lie down on the floor on one side. Stretch out the arm that is on the floor while supporting yourself with the opposite arm. Then stretch out the leg resting on the floor and raise your other leg, toes pointed, as high as you can.
  2. Next, flex your foot and gradually lower your leg back down to your resting leg.

Repeat steps 1 and 2 at a moderate pace 10 times, then turn to your other side and work the opposite leg.

Side-thigh lifts

Side-thigh lifts

3. Side-Thigh Lifts

  1. Lie on the mat on one side and prop your torso up by supporting your weight with your forearm. Extend and stretch out both legs, and then lift the top leg up and pull it back about 45 degrees. You should feel your outer thigh muscle working to keep your leg in place.
  2. Keeping your leg pulled backward, pull the already raised leg a little higher and hold for a second or so.

Repeat the two steps 10 times and then swap to your opposite side.

Total leg shape-up

Total leg shape-up

4. Entire Leg Shape-up

  1. Similar to the above exercise, lay on your side with both legs stretched out and your elbow supporting you, forearm on the ground. This time, flex your feet and raise your leg by about 30 degrees.
  2. While maintaining the same leg height and flexed feet, gently swing the raised leg in front of you. You should feel the burn in your outer thighs.
  3. Move your leg back to its original position.
  4. Finally, point your toes and swing your leg back behind you. Be careful not to allow your body to swing or shake too much as this indicates a lack of leg control and, therefore, less muscle stimulation.

Repeat these steps for 10 sets. Remember to turn around and repeat on the other side.

Glute lifts

Glute lifts

5. Glute Lifts

This final exercise works the glutes and upper thighs for a defined butt.

  1. As in the first picture, sit with both knees folded, one knee in front of your body and the other behind.
  2. Using your hands for support, slightly lean toward the knee in front. From this position, slightly raise the rear knee so that it is floating a little above the ground. Breathe three times and lower it back to the ground.

Repeat the exercise five times on each side.

Legs that look good in a short skirt, shorts or a dress are not straight skinny legs, they are legs that have a decent amount of muscle which gives them the perfect tone and shapely curves. Try this easy workout for just one week and notice a change.

Are Genetics Involved?

Yes, genetics do play a part when it comes to body types. Some people's bodies naturally distribute mass more toward the thighs and butt than the lower legs. Because of this, some women are known to give up and say things like "I am meant to be like that." That's not the best attitude to have. Not everyone is built the same and, unfortunately, certain areas do need work more than others. Not all women are lucky enough to have naturally slender legs. However, the type of body you have can also be improved with the appropriate diet, stretching, and exercise aimed at certain muscle groups.

There are many other factors to consider too. The majority of Japanese people do enjoy a mix of traditional healthy Japanese food and Western food. But unlike many in the West, not many Japanese people have diets consisting of only meat and starches. Meals will normally be balanced with salads, beans, and fish.

Sleep Wearing Slimming Socks

These are very popular here in Japan. Simply spend the night wearing these socks, and it can make a difference in the circumference of your calves for the next few days. I have known girls who wear them and have noticed the difference myself.

How Important Is Diet?

Professionals often say that 80% of your workout begins in the kitchen, and I believe that is a very accurate statement. A good example is people with excessive belly fat who try to lose it by doing hundreds of sit-ups in the gym. There are people who can do 1,000 sit-ups, but still have a massive belly. Why is that? The reason is that although the muscles are strong, they are covered with a layer of fat that will not burn off through sit-ups alone.

However, diet does not mean restriction. Rather than directly cutting calories, the main changes should be:

  • Reducing the amount of carbohydrates and starches consumed, such as bread, pasta, and rice.
  • Cutting out sugars, especially fruit juices.
  • Drinking only water—this helps so much.

Calorie counting alone is not always good because you could be reducing necessary intakes such as nutrients and proteins, which are needed for muscle growth. Instead, you should change what you eat so that you do not consume empty calories.

Just as sit-ups will not necessarily result in a six-pack, the treadmill will not necessarily give you sexy legs. In fact, too much cardio, such as running and cycling, can actually burn the muscle needed for a nice leg shape and definition. Cardio should be balanced out with diet and strength and weight training. I have seen many a woman on the treadmill with flabby but thin legs due to lack of strength training.

If you get the diet right and keep up on the protein and natural food and vegetables, you will find that you can spend much less time in the gym and still maintain a very good shape. This is very important for people with very busy schedules.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.


adrian on May 18, 2019:


Mishaal Kaman on August 27, 2018:

How can i get thin in 7 days

Jessica Thomas on March 24, 2018:

I need help getting in shape and going on a diet

Jessica Thomas on March 24, 2018:

this is a great quiz

Desi on March 23, 2017:

I have problem with my legs and I will try all of exercises tomorrow !

manali shah on March 08, 2017:

i have fat around butt.will this help???

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on July 17, 2016:

It will help with all aspects of the legs

Mary on July 15, 2016:

Hey! I have really bad fat at my kneees n thighs. Will this help for the knees as well?

jessi on May 20, 2016:

I want to reduce even an inch of my calves,they are too bulky pls help me

I heard there are some tubes to apply too is that true?I will be glad if u reply. Regards

Sophie on July 28, 2015:

Thanks for the tips here, I really do admire some of the Asians with their slender physique. Then again diet is different though.

Natalie on January 08, 2015:

Good tips here, definitely need to try some of these.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on December 30, 2014:

Thanks, I hop these methods work for you.

Kerry on December 30, 2014:

Thanks for sharing this. It's good to see how other countries are doing it with new methods.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on December 27, 2014:

I agree. I believe it is a combination of genetics and good food.

Dave on December 27, 2014:

The Japanese do tend to have slender sexy legs.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on January 06, 2014:

For reducing muscle in the calf, involves cutting down on exercises that put a strain on the lower leg, like running, cycling, standing for long hours. Unused muscle does eventually burn away as energy. Also stretching to elongate and even out the calf muscle. There is also the surgery like the Koreans on my other article.

Amina on January 06, 2014:

I just want to reduce the muscles in my calves,will that be achieved by the total leg shaping exercide

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 06, 2013:

The Japanese method of getting Slim Legs in One Week awesome photos and what one eats also makes a difference well said.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 30, 2013:

Men can just as much benefit from this too. Thanks

Sid Kemp from Boca Raton, Florida (near Miami and Palm Beach) on April 29, 2013:

This exercise form makes a lot of sense - I might give it a try, even though I'm a guy!

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 29, 2013:

You are welcome, thanks.

Koralee Phillips from Vancouver British Columbia Canada on April 28, 2013:

Excellent hub! I have seen some of the exercises before, but I've never seen the separating the butt and thigh exercises. I really appreciate the excellent pictures that accompany your description of how to do each exercise. Voted up and useful.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 25, 2013:

you are welcome, give it a try.

Petra Vlah from Los Angeles on April 25, 2013:

It seems easy enough and if it works, so much the better. Thank you for the tips

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 25, 2013:

Thank you very much.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 25, 2013:

I hope she likes it.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 25, 2013:

Yes it looks like you are giving your legs a good workout already.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 25, 2013:

You are welcome.

Hezekiah (author) from Japan on April 25, 2013:

You are welcome, I hope it works.

prasetio30 from malang-indonesia on April 24, 2013:

Very informative hub. I'll show this hub to my mom and my sister. Thanks for the step by step instruction. Up and useful :-)


Natasha from Hawaii on April 24, 2013:

Comprehensive with great photos! I do a couple of these, but several others I hadn't seen. Thanks!

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on April 24, 2013:

I walk everyday and because I live in the mountains the hills give my legs a good workout. They look better everyday. I will add your suggested leg workouts as well. Great photos by the way. Thanks!

mr-veg from Colorado United States on April 24, 2013:

Nice article !! Superbly explained.. I sent it to my wife and she loved it....

Nell Rose from England on April 24, 2013:

Hi, great exercises and something that I have done in the past, only not so well! lol! great info, and voted and shared! nell