How to Tone Your Thighs

If there is one part of the human body that very few people are completely satisfied with, it’s the thighs. Your thighs are the top area of your leg, from knee to hip. Whilst the buttocks are technically separate from the thighs, it can benefit from many of the same exercise techniques. The most effective way to tone your thighs is to engage in targeted exercise; work out moves designed specifically for these muscles. These include a combination of cardio and weight training exercises. Read on to discover some general tips, as well as some specific exercises for toning your thighs.


The Basics

  • Toning your thighs requires a combination a few different exercises. This is because there are several different muscle groups in your thighs, so your workout should include a variety of targeted exercises.


  • You should aim to engage in cardio workouts at least 4 or 5 times a week. This can include walking, jogging, riding a bicycle, and using the steps, treadmill, or rowing machine at the gym.


  • You should also do weight exercises at least twice a week which work on building up your core and can be performed from the comfort of your own home.


  • If you have any worries or concerns, check with your GP before you start any exercise program.


  • Always warm up and cool down with light cardio and stretching.



Walking is an excellent cardio exercise and can be great for toning your thighs if done at quite an intensive level on a regular basis. Start walking for 30 minutes a day, and gradually add 5-10 minutes extra each day. This way, you will be slowly working your way up to 60 or 90 minute walks, and will be building your stamina at the same time.


Cycle and Step

Cycling is very beneficial for toning your quad muscles, which are located along the front of your thighs. Take the stairs or use the step machine at the gym to tone the back muscles of your thighs: your hamstrings.


Leg Lifts

You’ll need a yoga mat for this one. Lie on your side, with your elbow on the ground and your head resting in your hand. As you inhale, lift your leg up as high as you can, and lower it back down on the exhale. Repeat this for 10 breaths, and then turn over and do it on the other side.


Squat (with weights)

The squat exercise is perhaps the single most effective move for completely toning your thighs, and even works your inner thighs which are generally the most problematic. Squats are even better if you add a weight component. If you don’t have dumb-bells, hold two cans or two water bottles. You should be holding your weights at your sides.


Spread your legs slightly wider than hip width apart, keeping your feet flat on the ground and facing forward. Keep your core strong and still, and your head straight and looking forward. Try to keep your back straight. Slowly bend your knees as you lower your hips, and hold the position for 3-5 seconds before slowly returning to the starting position. Do not so far down that your knees extend outwards further than your toes, and make sure your weight shifts towards the heels of your feet. Repeat this for two or three sets of 10.


Lunge (with weights)

The lunge is also great for your thighs, especially if you hold weights in either hand. Stand straight with your feet together and your head facing forwards. Step your left foot as far forward as you can. Bend both of your knees and lower your hips to the ground, so that your right knee is almost touching the floor. Make sure both feet are facing directly forward and keep your heels flat on the ground. Remain in this position for a few breaths then slowly return to your starting position. Repeat for two sets of 10 repetitions then swap so the right foot steps forward.


Leg Circles

Lie flat on your back with your legs out straight. Try to keep both legs straight as you lift one leg up to the ceiling. If you are unable to comfortably keep both legs straight, bend the knee of the leg you left on the ground; this will help you to keep the lifted leg straight. Begin to draw circles in the air with the lifted leg; aim for 5-10 clockwise circles and 5-10 anti-clockwise circles before switching legs. Be sure to breathe gently and consistently; don’t hold your breath and don’t lift your head off the ground.



Toning your thighs requires a combination of both cardiovascular exercises and muscular exercises. Cardio exercises include walking, running, swimming, cycling, martial arts, and using the rowing machine at the gym. Muscular exercises include squats and lunges, as well as Pilate’s type move such as leg lifts and leg circles. Cardio burns off fat, whilst muscular exercises tone the muscles. It is important to engage in a variety of different exercises to avoid becoming bulky in any one area.

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