The thighs are a popular part of the body to target at the gym, right up there with six-pack abs. If you’re looking for a thigh “slimming” workout, there’s a catch: you can’t spot decrease. What you can do is build more lean muscle in a certain location. When you’re ready to break a sweat, consider this your go-to butt and thigh exercise. These thigh exercises will build your hamstrings, glutes, and calves, as well as your core.
The assisted single-leg deadlift is a good starting point as thigh exercises for persons who have difficulty doing a complete single-leg deadlift. It also teaches you how to complete a hip hinge before performing a full single-leg deadlift.
Resistance Band Lateral Step Out Squat
This is an excellent technique for activating the glutes. You could incorporate this into your warmup to activate the glutes and work through the squat range of motion.
One of our all-time favorite thigh exercises is jumping jacks. It requires no equipment or coordination, has little impact, and is an excellent method to warm up the body and get the heart rate up.
Front Rack Deficit Lunge
This lunge modification expands your range of motion and duration under stress, increasing the demand for your inner thighs (and entire lower body). Trust us, you will be addicted to thigh exercises when you start this one!
Ball Hamstring Squeeze
This motion not only strengthens your glutes and hamstrings but also works your inner thigh muscles hard.
Begin by laying on your stomach, with your forehead resting on your forearms, your legs straight on the mat, and a stability ball (or yoga block) gently pressed between your ankles and feet. Bend knees and activate hamstrings to raise feet and ball or block a few inches off the floor without moving the upper body. Return to the beginning. That counts as one rep.
Side lunges (also known as lateral lunges) are excellent for developing the outside and inner thighs. The additional cross-over in this thigh training routine works your inner thighs even harder and adds a core balancing challenge (here’s why core muscles are so important).
Dumbbells and Lunges
This traditional thigh exercises’ routine not only trains your leg muscles but also works on your postural control — as well as your booty for a whole lower-body butt and thigh workout. (Try incorporating all of these other lunge variants into your thigh exercise as well.)
Low Lunge With Isometric Contraction
This isometric contraction engages your inner thigh muscles while simultaneously working the rest of your body, making it a far more effective technique to train than the hip abduction and adduction equipment at the gym. (It also stretches the hip flexor on the opposite leg.)
Step-ups are an excellent approach to improve unilateral strength, single-leg balance and coordination, and glute activation.
Weighted Lateral Lunge
This advanced side lunge focuses on your inner thighs and glutes. Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart, holding a pair of weights neatly at your chest. Take a huge stride to the left, sit back with your hips, and drop yourself until your left knee is approximately parallel with the floor. Straighten your right leg. Return to the starting position by pressing through the heel.