You’ve probably been going along for years thinking more about your waistline than your thighs, and then all of a sudden, “thigh gap” became a thing. For some reason, it’s not cool anymore if your thighs touch when standing upright, even though they are naturally shaped to make this quite common.
Well, we’re not going to encourage you to obsess about a thigh gap, but your thighs do an important job and for that reason, it’s great to have them toned and strong. When you’re told to “Lift with your legs!” your thighs bear the brunt of the effort. When you scoop up a child or climb stairs, even when you’re just walking, your thighs are hard at work.
Losing some thigh fat and building those muscles can make everyday tasks much easier. As a bonus, you may find that you fit into your pants more comfortably. And yes, you may even develop a thigh gap. Just don’t put that at the top of your goals list.
1. Plyometric Squat
Plyometric exercises are those that have some element of jumping in them, which obviously engages the thighs. Squats are basically the most targeted thigh exercise you can do. Plyometric squats, therefore, are one of the very best moves to incorporate into a plan to reduce fat.
How to Do It
- To begin, stand with feet approximately shoulder-width apart.
- Squat down until your knees are at a 90 degree angle.
- Then jump up from this position and land still in a squat. Use all the strength that you can muster from your legs and butt to power the jump.
- Try to come down as gently as you can with your knees still bent. Don’t land on your toes but keep your weight over your heels. If this move hurts your knees, reduce the angle of the squat until you’re comfortable.
- Work up to 3 sets of 8 reps.
2. Squat With Bal
Here is another version of a squat that uses an exercise ball. It targets your thighs and as a bonus, massages your back!
How to Do It
- Press your exercise ball against a clear, flat wall and position the ball into the curve of your lower back.
- Plant feet shoulder-width apart.
- Gently bend your knees and squat down about 5 to 10 inches, depending on your comfort. Keep hips squared and shoulders level.
- Hold for 3 seconds and return to starting position.
- For beginners, start with 5 reps and aim to work your way up to 12. Rest for at least 30 seconds between sets.
3. Single-Leg Circle
This is a deceptively simple move that yields big results in the thigh-slimming game. It engages your core as well as your thighs, and requires no equipment – just enough room to lie down.
How to Do It
- Lie down on your back with arms resting comfortably by your sides and palms facing down.
- Lift your right leg toward the ceiling, toes pointed and leg rotated slightly outward.
- Slowly trace a clockwise circle on the ceiling with your right leg, being careful to keep your hips still and on the floor.
- Repeat the circle 5 times moving clockwise, then pause and do 5 circles in a counter-clockwise direction.
- Switch legs and repeat.
- Aim for 5 sets on each leg.
4. Sun Salutation
If you’re not up for a high impact exercise but still want to work out your thighs, take a cue from yoga. The Sun Salutation is a sequence of moves that each rely on your thighs for stability. The move can be made more challenging as you improve.
How to Do It
- Stand straight with feet together and arms hanging at your sides. Distribute your weight evenly across the soles of your feet.
- Lift your arms out and up until they are over your head, raising your chin slightly at the same time.
- When your arms are straight up with palms facing inward, achieve mountain pose by stretching toward the ceiling with your fingertips.
- Then bring your arms down to your sides in a wide arc and bend forward until your fingertips (or palms if you are that flexible) touch the floor, one on each side of your feet.
- From this position, slowly raise your torso to waist height with your back flat. Bring your eyes up to gaze forward, keeping your head aligned with your spine and your belly button tucked in.
- The next move has you bend your knees and place palms flat on the mat in front of you about shoulder-width apart.
- Walk both feet backward and plant them hip-width apart as you lift your hips and settle into the downward facing dog position. Stretch your tailbone toward the ceiling and hold, breathing deeply.
- Reverse the moves by going back into the flat back pose, then forward bend, and finally sweeping your arms back above your head into mountain pose.
How about a nice ballet move to tighten up the backs of your thighs? Ballet is an extremely challenging form of dance but you don’t have to take lessons to reap the benefits of the moves. The plié is really another form of squat.
How to Do It
- For this move, stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and point your toes out.
- Bring your arms out straight in front of your body at shoulder height and slowly lower into a squat. Your knees will bow outward but should not extend over your toes.
- Slowly return to starting position and repeat.
- Keep your glutes tight, your tailbone tucked, and your back straight.
- The move can be made more challenging by doing a gentle bounce or pulse at the bottom of the squat before returning to the start position.
- Try for one minute of continuous squats, then rest and repeat if you have it in you.
6. Toe Squat With Overhead Reach
This exercise extends the basic yoga move called utkatasana, or chair pose. It creates tension in the thighs by asking you to press your knees tightly together while you both squat and lift at the same time. Confused? We’ll break it down, but this one could take some practice.
How to Do It
- First, stand with your knees and ankles pressed together and arms by your side.
- Move into a chair pose by bending your knees and dropping your bottom into a half squat as your arms sweep up over your head, palms facing inward.
- Next, extend the move by rising up onto the balls of your feet, still in the half squat position with arms up.
- Keep your lower legs steady as you hold for a couple of seconds and then ease back down to flat feet.
- This is a precision move that should be done slowly and with control. Take your time to remain steady as you lift onto the balls of your feet and then lower your heels back to the ground.
- Try to do 8-12 reps per session.
Keep in mind that these exercises are great for toning and strengthening your thighs, but good old cardio activity also goes a long way toward reducing fat stored all over your body. You may also want to consider calorie reduction. You don’t necessarily have to change what you eat; just make sure you’re taking in fewer calories than you burn.
With basic weight loss strategies coupled with these super thigh blasting exercises, you will soon be proud not only of how your thighs look, but also what they can do.
Here are 6 simple exercises that can help you lose thigh fat fast.