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Exercise for Thighs

Updated on January 17, 2018

Various methods for shifting cellulite are constantly touted to eager female audiences worldwide. The reason for the success of this is that more or less, all women get cellulite in some form or another. The most common form being that found on or around the backs of the thighs. It is reckoned to be almost an impossibility to completely eradicate this particular deposit, but there is something which can be done to help improve your situation.

The first step to take is to cut out any unnecessary saturated fat intake from your diet. This includes foods such as desserts, crisps and chocolate. After dinner and snack foods such as these should ideally be replaced with fresh fruit, dried fruit, or simply be cut out altogether. This measure should help to reduce the deposition of fats where it is most common.

The next step is to monitor your weekly aerobic activity. If you do not exercise a great deal you need to make the effort to get out at least 3 times per week for around 40 minutes at a time. This should only be light aerobic activity such as brisk walking or light jogging. Typically you should look to raise your heart rate to around 40% of its theoretical maximum capacity. Use the Karvonen formula (220-your age) for an approximate value when working this out. If you already go for regular workouts, then you should decrease the intensity of your aerobic work, also to around 40-50% of your maximum heart rate value. Exercise at this intensity will utilise a larger percentage of fat for the provision of energy. As your intensity increases, so the body draws on a greater percentage of Carbohydrate for it energy resources.

Finally it is necessary to concentrate some exercise specifically on the problem area. Exercises to tone up the thighs are as follows:

Leg Extension

This should be done using light weights only and high repetitions to encourage muscle tone in the front of the thigh (Quadriceps Muscles).

Leg Curl

Using the backs of the thighs (Hamstrings), this should again be done using light weights and high repetitions.


Standing with your feet shoulder width apart and your hands on your hips, take a medium-sized step forwards and bend that knee. When your knee is almost fully bent, use your leg to push yourself back up into a standing position. Repeat using alternate legs. This should be done around 10 times per leg to start, the reps should then be gradually increased (or you can carry light dumbbells) to increase the resistance.


Another good exercise for both the quadriceps and hamstrings is a simple step routine. Either attend a class or simply step up onto the platform and down off of it using alternate legs for 2 minutes. Again the intensity of the exercise can be increased with longer duration or by carrying weights. This exercise can also be performed by simply walking up and down stairs for 2 minutes.

Seated Squat

Otherwise known as a leg-press, this exercise is very good for the thighs in general. However, unlike squats it enables you to use less than your body weight. This is safer for your thigh muscles and also puts less stress on the knee joints. It also brings your buttocks into play (this will be covered in the 'Bums' section of this week's Focus).

Lateral Leg Raises (Abduction & Adduction)

This exercise is extremely good for the muscles running down both the inside and outside of the thighs. Abduction (so called because it exercises the Abductor muscles which run down the outside of your thighs) involves lying on your side with your whole body in-line, then raising your top leg up in the air as high as possible. The leg should then be returned to a horizontal position without letting it touch the lower leg (this ensures that the upper leg abductor is constantly exercised). This should be repeated on both legs 10 times. Adduction (so called because it exercises the Adductor muscles which run don the inside of your thighs) involves lying on your side again, but this time lifting your lower leg upwards (this should be done with the top leg positioned forwards so as not to impede movement).


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