Toning your thighs can be a tedious process. Unlike conventional weightlifting, muscle toning requires the use of lesser amounts of weight and careful attention to repetition. Toning is a process vastly different from strength development. As opposed to building muscle mass, toning is a process of making muscle appear more defined. A successful thigh-toning workout should be performed no more than twice per week and should incorporate a variety of targeted exercises, such as squats, leg curls and leg extensions. In addition, it’s also important to perform a sufficient amount of cardiovascular activity. For the purpose of specifically toning your thighs, taking up participating in a cycling class or spending time on a Stairmaster are most effective.
1. Condensed Squats
Squats are typically thought of as a grueling, heavy-lifting exercise that causes the quadriceps to buckle into a jelly-like sensation. Squats are one of the best quad-building exercises that you can perform in the weight room, but they’re also a resourceful workout tool for muscle toning. Rather than adding weight plates to a barbell in attempt to blast your thighs, perform condensed squats while holding a dumbbell with both hands close to your chest. Select a comfortable weight, as you will need to perform at least four sets of 15 to 20 repetitions to complete this thigh-toning exercise. Consult a personal trainer if you are unfamiliar with how to properly perform a squat. Make sure to take deep breaths in between each repetition.
2. Leg Curls
Even though leg curls do not directly target your thighs, they are an important muscle-toning exercise. Strengthening your hamstrings is a pivotal aspect of leg-building exercise. Strong hamstrings will allow you to perform higher frequency of repetition when targeting your thighs and also give your upper legs a more rounded shape over time. Leg curls can be performed either in the sitting position or lying face down. Your gym most likely features multiple weightlifting machines for this particular exercise. For the purpose of toning, do not attempt to lift more weight than is comfortable, as this could lead to injury.
3. Leg Extensions
Extensions are one of the most popular leg-strengthening exercises that exist. This muscle-building activity is mostly performed in the sitting position on a weightlifting machine. The frequency of which you perform this exercise is important in trying to tone your thighs. For optimal results, perform multiple sets of extensions while alternating weights without resting. For example, place the weight pin at a desired weight (e.g. 80 pounds) and perform eight repetitions. Stop momentarily and move the weight pin to 70 pounds and perform an additional seven repetitions. Finally, pause again and place the pin at 60 pounds. Perform another six repetitions. The culmination of repetition will effectively tone your legs over time. Perform three multi-sets during each thigh workout.
Note: you will feel an intense burning sensation after each multi-set; rest for two minutes in between each multi-set.
4. Cardiovascular Activity
The most frequently ignored aspect of muscle-toning exercise is cardiovascular activity. It’s important to participate in some sort of cardio exercise for the purpose of trimming body fat. While weightlifting activity will tone your muscles, you will not see noticeable results in the mirror if you do not burn excess fat. The best thigh-toning cardio exercises are those which serve a dual purpose (e.g. cardio that targets the thighs). Cycling is a good example of dual-purpose exercise for thigh toning. Get at least 30 minutes of cycling activity a few times a week for optimal results. Other effective activities include use of a Stairmaster, which should be used for the same duration. If you are uncomfortable with either of these exercises, make a habit of walking for 45 minutes at least three times per week. Integrating cardio activity into your thigh-toning workout will ultimately help you achieve desirable results.