Looking to get toned legs and reduce some of that pesky thigh fat? You’re not alone – toned legs are a goal for many people, especially women. First off, let’s debunk the myth that spot reduction isn’t a thing – you can’t just target fat loss in one specific area of your body, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on toning up your legs overall. Variations of exercises like lunges, squats, and calf raises can help strengthen and tone your leg muscles.
Let’s see how we can get rid of our “saddlebags.”
What Causes Thigh Fat
If you’re taking in more calories than your body can burn, those extra calories turn into fat – and for some people, that fat ends up on their thighs. There are two types of thigh fat: inner thigh fat and outer thigh fat. Both are often caused by things like genetics, stress, hormonal imbalances, and a lack of physical activity.
Women tend to store more fat in their hips, lower bellies, and inner thighs due to the naturally wider pelvises. Poor posture and an unhealthy diet can also contribute to inner thigh fat.
As women age, a diet high in sugars and a sedentary lifestyle can cause their bodies to add fat to their outer thighs. Hormones play a role too – female hormones can drive the increase of fat cells around our pelvis, buttocks, and thighs. So, what can you do about it? There are a few lifestyle changes that can help reduce thigh fat. Reducing your intake of processed foods and sodium, swapping white starches for complex carbs, cutting out sugary drinks, and eating more lean protein can all be beneficial.
Exercise can also help both cardio and strength training can be effective in reducing thigh fat. Squats, fire hydrants, lunges, hip extension, hip raises, and yoga are all exercises that can target your thighs. Remember, consistency is the key element here, and making these changes a part of your daily routine is bound to bring favorable results.
The Best Inner-Thigh Workout
The inner thighs are a common problem area for many people, but with the right exercises, you can effectively target and tone this area. These exercises will help you build strength and improve balance and stability, giving you firmer, stronger inner thighs.
- Lateral Lunge – Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Then, take a big step to the side with one leg and bend your knee, pushing your hips back and lowering until your other thigh is parallel to the floor and your other shin is vertical. You need to put the weight on the leg you’re stepping out with.
- Stability Ball Hamstring Squeeze – Recline with your back flat on the ground, arms outstretched, and feet resting atop a stability ball. Firmly clench your glutes and core muscles, then lift yourself into a straight line position while leaving your shoulders and head relaxed against the mat. Gradually pull your heels towards you, rolling in the stability ball, followed by pushing it back outward for maximum effectiveness of this exercise!
- Supported Single-Leg Deadlift – To do it, stand holding a weight in front of one thigh, with your feet hip-width apart. Shift your weight to that leg, hinge forward from the hip, and reach your other leg back behind you. Keep your chest lifted and your back flat as you lower the weight toward the floor. Return to standing, and then repeat on the other side. It’s a great way to strengthen your hamstrings, glutes, and core.
- Reverse Lunge – Stand tall with feet hip-width apart, then take a big step backward with one leg and lower your body until the opposite thigh is parallel to the floor and the opposite shin is vertical. Press into the heel of the back leg to return to the starting position, and repeat on the other side.
- Lateral Lunge With Glute Pull – Start by standing with your feet together. Step out to the side with one leg and lower until the opposite thigh is parallel to the floor. As you return to the starting position, squeeze your glutes and pull your other knee in towards your chest. Repeat on the other side.
- Resistance Band Lateral Step-Out Squat – Attach a resistance band to an anchor at ankle height and stand on the band with both feet about hip-width apart. Keep the band close to your ankles and step laterally with one foot, bending your knees and sitting back into a squat. Step back to the center and repeat on the other side.
- Jumping Jacks – A classic exercise that can be used to target your inner thighs, as well as your other leg muscles. To do them, stand with your feet together and your arms at your sides. Jump up and spread your legs out wide while raising your arms above your head. Jump back to the starting position and repeat.
- Bulgarian Split Squat – Stand two feet in front of a bench or step, then lift one leg and rest the top of your foot on it. Slowly lower down onto your other leg while bending the knee until your thigh is parallel to the ground. Use all your strength to press off with that same foot and return to the standing position!
- Isometric Squat – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, slowly bend your knees, and push your hips backward. Lower into the squat position and hold it for a set period. This exercise will help build strength and stability in your inner thighs and core.
- Single-Leg Deadlift – Start by standing on one leg with your other foot slightly behind you. Bend forward at the hips, reaching your hands towards the floor and extending your other leg straight behind you. Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Lateral Lunge With Reach – Begin by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Step your right foot out to the side and lower into a lateral lunge. Reach both hands overhead and press your hips forward. Return to the starting position and repeat.
- Lateral Step Up – To do this exercise, stand to the left side of a box, bench, or step. Step up onto the box with your right foot, then place your left foot next to it. Step down again with your right foot, making sure the whole foot is on the step.
- Sumo Squat – Start in a wide stance with your toes pointed outward and hold a kettlebell or dumbbell with both hands close to your neck. Lower your bottom into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor, then push back up through your heels to return to the starting position.
- Front-Rack Deficit Lunge – Start in a standing position with dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell in the front-rack position. Take a big step forward with one leg and lower yourself until both knees form 90-degree angles. Make sure your front knee doesn’t go over your toe, then press back up to the starting position.
- Isometric Lunge – Position your feet hip-width apart with a dumbbell, kettlebell, or barbell in the front rack position. Step forward with one leg and lower yourself until both knees form 90 degrees angles, ensuring that your front knee remains behind your toes while pressing back to the starting point.
- Weighted Lateral Lunge – Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand. Take a big step to the right and drop your right hip toward the ground. Keep your chest up and make sure the right knee does not go over the toe. Pause at the bottom, then push back up to the starting position and repeat on the other side.
The Best Outer-Thigh Workout
If you’re looking to tone up your outer thighs and get rid of those pesky saddlebags, try out these exercises. They’ll help you strengthen and tighten your outer thighs, giving you a firmer and more toned appearance. Plus, they’re easy to fit into any workout routine, so you can start seeing results in no time.
1. Roundhouse Kick And Squat
Get ready to unleash your inner warrior! Start by standing with feet placed shoulder-width apart and fists beneath the chin. Rotate 45 degrees towards the right leg, stretching it outwards as you perform a roundhouse kick; be sure to reach for higher heights and focus on turning the thigh facing upwards. Then drop into an energizing squat before lifting the other extended leg. Just make sure not to forget to repeat these same steps on the opposite side too!
2. Hip Extension With Circles
With your feet, shoulder-width apart and shoulder blades pressed together, lift one leg off the ground with toes pointed. Afterward, draw a clockwise circle with those same toes before looping counterclockwise. When finished, repeat on the other side for optimal results.
3. Chair Pose To Back Lunge
Start from a standing posture with your feet shoulder-width apart. Push the hips back and drop into a squat like you would if sitting in an armchair. Remain in this stance for 10 seconds, then inhale deeply and return to the original position.
4. Plié Squat With Lifted Heels
To execute this move, begin by standing with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and your toes angled outward at 45 degrees. Bend your knees and lower the body while keeping a straight back and tightening your abs. Lift both heels simultaneously for several seconds before returning to the start posture.
5. Warrior Pose To Tree Pose
Take a wide stance with your feet 3-4 feet apart and turn your right toes outward. Bend your front leg while keeping the back straight, and keep your arms stretched out in either direction. Afterward, slowly raise the left foot to rest on the inside of the right thigh. Clasp both hands together in front of the chest and hold this pose for 10-20 seconds.
6. Curtsy Squat To Lateral Lift
Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Step back with your right foot while simultaneously bringing the weights down to the outside of your left thigh, extending both arms outward as you do so. Then return to starting position and repeat the same motion on the other side.
Begin with a warm-up for 5-10 minutes, then move on to dynamic kick combinations like sidekicks, roundhouse, and crescent kicks in 30-second iterations. End your session with an extensive stretching routine.
8. Stair Climbing
To get the most out of your workout, begin with a 10-minute warm-up. Make sure to climb those steps two at a time for 25-30 minutes. For an extra kick, incorporate lunges, squats, and deadlifts into your routine when you’re finished climbing!
9. Strength Training
If you commit to completing 2-3 sets of this routine 3-4 times a week, your thighs will be noticeably stronger in just four weeks! Include exercises such as Roundhouse Kick and Squat, Hip Extension with Circles, Chair Pose to Back Lunge, Plié Squat with Lifted Heels, and Static Stretches. If you want to turn up the intensity, hold a pair of lightweight dumbbells during the bodyweight exercises.
Quick Tips For Total-Body Toning
Incorporating exercises that target all major muscle groups, like your arms, chest, back, glutes, and abs, into your thigh-focused workout routine can help you get fit and achieve your desired results. Cardio is also important for building leg muscle and challenging your heart. Good options include stair climbing, high-resistance ellipticals and bikes, and exercises like froggy jumps, burpees, mountain climbers, squat jumps, and jumping jacks.
Proper nutrition and hydration are key to staying energized and achieving your goals. Drink at least eight glasses of water a day and 16 ounces for every hour of moderate to intense exercise and replace electrolytes with sports drinks or coconut water. Don’t forget to warm up for 5 minutes, take water breaks, listen to your body, and stretch after your workout to ensure a safe and effective experience.
Injury Prevention Tips
Taking a few easy steps can significantly lower the odds of injury while participating in sports. Here are several injury prevention tips that will help you stay safe:
- Develop a fitness plan that includes cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and flexibility.
- Alternate exercising activities to avoid overuse injuries.
- Start your workout slowly and gradually increase the intensity.
- Perform proper warm-up and cool-down routines.
- Incorporate strength training and stretching into your routine.
- Hydrate adequately to maintain health and minimize fatigue.
- Follow a healthy diet.
Diet Tips To Follow
To burn thigh fat, incorporate legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils into your diet. Opt for high-quality lean proteins like fish or chicken breast to get the most nutritional value.
Fruits and vegetables are also essential while limiting processed grains and refined carbs should be taken with a pinch of salt.
Electrolytes such as dark leafy greens can help too – yogurt is especially helpful, while bananas make an excellent snack choice.
Don’t forget to exercise regularly, which will not only tone up your legs but reduce that troublesome thigh fat once and for all.
Yes, walking can reduce inner thigh fat. If you focus on intensity while walking and alternating between short bursts of speed and slower paces, walking can effectively target inner thigh fat.
Factors that cause thigh fat in females include genetic predisposition, an unhealthy diet, and lack of exercise.
Foods that can cause thigh fat include refined carbs and sugar, such as pasta, white rice, bread, pastries, sodas, and desserts.
Many women with a pear shape or spoon body type tend to accumulate fat on their hips and thighs, leading to the appearance of saddlebags. These types of women often have a larger lower body compared to their upper body and tend to carry extra weight in their hips, thighs, and butt.
Having toned legs is something that many people strive for. Not only does it give a lean, attractive look, but there are many health benefits associated with having toned legs as well.
Muscle tone in the legs helps build strength, increase your cardio capacity, burn calories, and promote weight loss. On average, it takes two to four weeks to start seeing small changes in your legs. However, depending on your fitness level, it can often take three to four months to see any remarkable difference.
So, if you want to maximize your progress, remain consistent with your workouts and nutrition plan. Showing some patience and dedication will always give you the results you are striving for and working towards.