Achieving slimmer thighs cannot be done with cardio alone…a focused weight lifting routine will push your thighs past that plateau into a pair of defined, sexy legs! With so many large muscles in play when you power out a leg workout, you will benefit from calorie burn that lasts long after you leave the gym…while you’re wearing your short shorts!
When burning the legs, focus on two primary areas: quadriceps (front of the thighs), and hamstrings. You will be working the entire upper half of the leg, while also incorporating the inner and outer thighs, calves, stabilizers in the ankle and knee, the glutes (butt) and hips / hip flexors. Complete the exercises as weighted and unweighted super-sets. First, you will complete the move with weights, then drop the weights and complete the additional exercises to squeeze out the last bit of energy and really fatigue the muscles. The exercises can be performed in or out of the gym, or can be done on alternate days to stave off boredom and to keep your legs blazing.
Many women are afraid that they will bulk up if they add weight, but the lean muscle mass will likely cause you to lose inches in your thighs before you are ever able to get ‘big’. Make these following exercises the focal point of your leg routine that you complete twice per week, and you’ll see results in just a few rotations!
The best exercises for working the front of the thighs are squats or lunges. Concentrate on pushing through the heels as you lift, carrying enough weight to fatigue the muscles to the point where you can’t do more after 15 reps.
- Squats: Ideally, use a Smith Machine and load 40-80 pounds on the bar. Place feet a bit more than shoulder width apart, with toes turned slightly out. Keep feet forward from the body so you are leaning back. When you squat, lower butt straight down from shoulders, knees bent at a 90 degree angle in the lowest point of the squat. Alternatively, if you do not have access to the Smith Machine, perform the squat with a large balance ball. Place the ball at the small of the back against a wall. Hold dumbbells in hands at sides, keeping shoulders back. Roll the ball down as you squat.
After the weighted squats, immediately perform 15 plyometric squat jumps. Standing straight, squat low then jump up as high as you can, landing softly in a squat.
You could also perform the Smith squat and the jump in lunge form as well! For the ball squat, complete a split lunge with one foot on the exercise ball, one foot on the floor. Lunge and press up from the heel 15 times. Be sure to keep knee in line with the ankle, pressing up and down, with no forward movement.
The back of the legs need to be worked strategically to see the most change. Your goal is to tone the muscle and burn the fat that women are extremely succeptible to having on the back of the thigh.
- Hamstring curls: Lay flat on a curl machine and load 20 lbs on the stack. Curl right leg up, touching bar against your glutes, and complete as many reps as you can. Drop the weight to complete 15 reps, or raise the weight and use both legs before repeating on the right leg. If you don’t have access to the curl machine, hold a heavy weighted bar in front of thighs. Stand up straight, keeping shoulders back and knees straight, then raise and lower to a flat back until you complete 15 reps.
When you have completed the set, complete one minute jumping rope or jump up, 15 times on an exercise bench, stair or plyo box.
Now, break out the shorts, ladies! You’ll be showing off those slimmed down thighs in no time!