Before talking about anything else, it is important to know that losing fat from a specific area of the body is always hard. This is also true when trying to lose thigh fat.
Remember that you can’t burn body fat in certain spots only. And it is really hard to reduce thigh fat or belly fat. Instead, body fat gets shed from all over the body during the weight loss process. Plus, trouble areas like the thighs will probably be one of the final ones to slim down and firm up.
Thighs may be big or bulky for very different reasons. For instance, some people may have a lot of fat buildup stored in this area and others may just have big muscles in their thighs. To effectively lose thigh fat, you will need to find what type of thigh muscle or fat you have. The result will then help you decide whether you need to lose fat in thighs or if you need to slim down the muscles in this area.
If you are not sure, and start working out without planning, then you may unintentionally make your thighs bigger. To see what type of thighs you have try the following thigh test:
Start by straightening your leg and tightening the thigh muscle. Then pinch the top layer of skin and fat on your thigh. If there is a lot to pinch, then your thigh has fat on it. In this case there will probably also be cellulite in the area.
If there is not much to pinch, then your thigh has muscle mass on it or large thigh muscles. How you decide to lose thigh fat will now depend on the result of this test.
What Causes Big Thighs?
Men and women tend to have gender specific fatty deposits. This is because of sex hormones that determine how fat gets distributed throughout the body. For example, estrogen in women directs fat deposits to the buttocks, pelvis and thigh area. For men testosterone does the same by depositing fat to their belly.
Keeping this in mind, it can become very challenging for women to lose fat from the thighs. Shifting fat deposits can be equally difficult from other problem areas like the hips.
The body shape of a person will also determine the size of their thighs. Generally known as pear shaped, this body shape demonstrates large hips and thighs. Pear shaped women have more fat deposits in this region which can be rather difficult to get rid of.
In contrast, apple shaped bodies have more fatty deposits in the upper body.
Regardless of body shape, most women may have large thighs because of fat deposits in this part of the body. Since there is a natural inclination to collect fat in this area, it is also more difficult to shift the fat.
As for numbers, it takes approximately a body fat percentage of 18% for women to start slimming their thighs. This means that while women can hope to achieve slimmer thighs, it may take time to get there.
Another factor that dictates the presence of larger thighs is muscle size. If you have naturally large thigh muscles, then your thighs will look big. And even though muscle is a good thing to have, having large muscles will also give you big thighs.
While you do not want to reduce the muscle in your body, you may be able to slim your thighs. Perhaps the kind of exercises you do promote muscle gain in the thigh, so think about switching those up.
Tips on How to Lose Thigh Fat
Exercise is a great place to start! But the most effective thigh exercises are those that do not only tone, but also strip the fat away. This is the primary objective because if you do not burn fatty deposits, you will not reduce thigh fat.
Exercises that simply firm thighs without burning fat will not help you lose fat in thighs and make your legs slimmer. So here are a few ideas to help you out:
Avoid Exercises That Build Thigh Muscle
If excess fat is the reason behind your big thighs, then you definitely want to steer clear of certain exercises. These can include thigh exercises like squats and lunges, calf raises and leg curls. Even though these exercises are very popular, they target thigh muscles making them bigger.
In case of fatty thighs, you will first need to strip the fat off of your thigh and then focus on toning it. Once you successfully manage to burn the extra fat, you can then do these exercises to tone and shape your thigh.
In case of muscular thighs, you probably already have a lot of muscle in the area. The aim here is to not build on the muscle and make it bigger, but to trim the existing muscle. To do this it is a better idea to indulge in cardio exercises instead.
Cardiovascular Exercises to Lose Thigh Fat
Cardio moves will help either type of thighs. For thighs with extra fat deposits, cardio will help burn out fatty deposits without gaining a lot of muscle mass. With these type of exercises you will not need to work the muscles of the thighs more than necessary. Many cardio exercise like walking, swimming or biking and require low to moderate intensity. These same exercises also target the thigh area very well.
Endurance or Long Distance Cardio for Losing Thigh Fat
Endurance or long distance cardio workouts target the kind of muscle fibers which make muscles become big as well as bulky. These types of workouts include options like long distance walking or endurance running. This kind of a workout targets smaller muscles fibers, so you can see slimming results without building bulky muscles. Also, while doing steady endurance cardio a lot of fat gets burned.
Take a look at endurance runners as an example. These athletes have extremely slim legs as compared to sprinters. Instead, sprinters have very large and highly developed thigh muscles because they do intense bursts of cardio.
For people with large thigh muscles, endurance running can be helpful as it can decrease thigh size. Running helps reduce excess fat which surrounds muscle so that thighs look slimmer.
To get best results from endurance walking or running, work out on a flat or no-incline surface.
Add In Resistance Training To Lose Thigh Fat
Once you have managed to lose fat from your thighs, you can then move beyond cardio. When fat gets stripped from the thigh, it may lose its shape and the skin become saggy. To regain definition in the leg and improve muscle mass, you can do resistance training.
Resistance training with a band or some moderate weights can help shape and firm thighs. The point is to use moderate weights so that thigh muscles can become harder and stronger, but not necessarily larger. The focus of resistance training to lose thigh fat is to do more repetitions with less resistance.
Avoid Spot Reduction Exercises to lose fat in thighs
First off, spot reduction fat is not a real thing. Fat does not come off in spots on the body but overall instead. Plus, spot reduction exercises like inner thigh exercises target thigh muscles. This means that the burn felt is from the muscle working and not the fat burning.
At this point, it becomes important once again to remember that fat and muscle are not the same thing. Doing exercises that target thigh muscles works them and makes them stronger. And when muscles become stronger, they also become bigger.
This is why spot reduction exercises to reduce thigh fat fail. Since they cannot make muscles smaller, losing thigh fat becomes increasingly difficult. Sure, they are a great way to tone muscles and sculpt the shape of your leg, but they are not the go-to way to lose fat in thighs.
As a reminder, you cannot perform a bunch of inner thigh exercises and expect those alone to give you results. Rather you need to lose weight all over, practice some dietary and lifestyle changes, and then tone up your thighs with targeted exercises.
Other Considerations for Losing Thigh Fat
Now that we have talked a lot about the kind of exercises to do, (and not do) to lose thigh fat, let us look at what else can help. Losing thigh fat effectively demands a comprehensive approach. This means taking control of your body weight and eating better for weight management. Plus, you will also need to adopt some sensible lifestyle habits that can help you lose unwanted body weight and keep it off.
Lose Extra Body Weight
Weight problems of all sorts start with too much body weight or being overweight. This means that the first step to losing thigh fat lies in managing your overall body weight.
You already know about trouble spots where fat deposits accumulate. When you start to lose fat from all over your body, these trouble spots are also targeted. This step makes it so much easier to work on specific areas later on in the weight loss process.
With much of the fatty deposits removed by overall weight management, losing thigh fat can then be achieved with the help of toning exercises.
Eat Clean and Lean to Lose Thigh Fat
Since excess calories from bad food choices end up on the body as extra fat, it is best to keep foods clean and simple. Eating healthy involves consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains. It also means eating enough lean protein to keep the body supplied with fuel for energy. And finally, keeping all sugars, processed foods and unhealthy fats at bay.
When you establish these eating habits along with exercise, body fat will melt away quickly. You will also notice losing some thigh fat.
Get Adequate Rest
Getting proper rest is an integral component of any successful weight loss program. The body and all working muscles need time to recover after exercise. Building adequate recovery time into a training program is important as this helps the body adapt to the stress of exercise.
This recovery period also allows your body to replenish energy stores and repair damaged tissue. This also means that recovery is just as important as training because it helps build strength, endurance and muscle.
Rest can come in different forms including taking a break between training days as well as sleep. Sleep is important as it is integral to maintaining good health on all levels.
Thigh Toning Exercises
Now that you have tried everything from losing body fat, improving your diet and making lifestyle changes, it is time to consider thigh toning exercises and reduce thigh fat.
Exercises that target both the inner and outer thighs for losing thigh fat will only be effective when extra fat has been remove from the area. By this time your thigh may show saggy skin and although you can’t spot-reduce fat from thighs, you can surely spot-tone it. So let’s get started:
Standing Exercises to lose fat in thighs
Lunges to Lose Thigh Fat
This is a toning move to work leg muscles. It targets the thigh, hamstrings and glutes. In addition to strengthening and toning the legs, lunges also improve balance and boost core strength.
- To begin, stand tall with the feet hip width apart.
- Place hands on hips and look straight in front.
- Step forward with one leg, keeping the torso straight.
- Lower body bending at the knee of the front leg until it forms a 90 degree angle.
- The back leg should also be at a 90 degree angle.
- Beginners can keep their back leg straight.
- Make sure that the front knee is directly above the ankle.
- Hold in place for 5 seconds and stand back up.
- Repeat with other leg.
Side Lunges for Losing Thigh Fat
This is a side variation of the traditional lunge and targets the inner thigh.
- Start by standing tall with feet placed slightly apart.
- With hands held together in front, take a big, controlled step to the right with your right leg.
- Bend right knee and lower body until the right leg is parallel to the floor.
- The right knee should track directly over the right ankle.
- The left leg should be stretched out straight throughout the move.
- Hold position for 5 seconds and bring right leg to standing position.
- Repeat entire move on the other side.
Squats for Losing Thigh Fat
Squats are an ever popular move to target the entire lower body and core.
- Start by standing with feet hip width apart.
- Keep the back straight and hold arms out in front.
- Slowly lower yourself as if you are going to sit in a chair by pushing the butt backward.
- Hold the pose in sitting position for 5 seconds before standing up again.
Wall Sits to Lose Thigh Fat
This move is a body weight exercise that holds the body in a static position and really works on the thighs.
- Start by leaning against the wall with the feet hip width apart.
- Feet should be about 2 feet from the wall.
- From this standing position gradually slide down the wall with the back still pressed against it.
- Slide until your knees are at a 90 degree angle and hold position.
- Your knees should track directly above the ankles and the back should remain touching the wall.
- Hold for 20- 30 seconds.
Plie Squat for Losing Thigh Fat
This is a move where the burn in the thigh can be felt as soon as you get into position.
- Start by standing with feet wider than hip width apart.
- Toes should be turned outwards diagonally at 45 degrees.
- Place hands on hips and bend both knees to sink lower.
- Go down low until the knees are at a 90 degree angle, or both legs parallel to the floor.
- Keep the knees tracking above the ankles.
- Hold position for 10 seconds and return to standing position.
- For a more advanced version, pulse when in plie squat.
Skater Lunges to Lose Thigh Fat
A cardio variation of the lunge, this move works on various leg muscles.
- Start by standing with feet shoulder width apart and arms on the side of the body.
- Take a large step backwards with your right leg and place it diagonally behind the left leg.
- When doing so, extend your left arm to the side and swing the right arm across the hips.
- Hop about 2 feet in the opposite direction and return to the beginning stance.
- Repeat entire movement on other leg.
Jump Rope to lose fat in thighs
Jump rope is a great way to not only tone legs but also boost heart rate and strengthen the core. In fact, it is a total body cardio exercise that helps shed extra calories and fat.
Use a real jump rope or an imaginary one to do this exercise. Because it is a high intensity move, do this for 30 seconds to a minute and then rest before repeating.
Jumping Jack for Losing Thigh Fat
Jumping jack is another cardio move that also tones leg muscles.
- Stand up straight with legs together and arms at the sides.
- Jump by moving both legs outwards and raising the arms above your head at the same time.
- Come back to standing position.
- Repeat with another jump.
- Continue doing jumping jacks for 30 seconds to one minute before resting.
Mat Exercises to Lose Thigh Fat
Not all exercises to lose thigh fat need to be done standing up. In fact, there is a whole regimen of moves which can be performed while lying on your back. Here is a look at some of the most effective of these exercises:
Scissor Kicks for Losing Thigh Fat
This exercise requires you to lie down flat on your back and targets the leg muscles as well as the core.
- Start by lying on a mat and placing your hands behind your head.
- Gently lift up the head and shoulders off the mat.
- Lift both legs up keeping them straight.
- Start moving legs by lifting the left leg up to a 45 degree angle while the right leg is lowered.
- Switch movements by raising the right leg up and lowering the left leg.
- Keep moving the legs in this scissor-like motions for 20- 30 repetitions.
Hip Raises to Lose Thigh Fat
Another exercise to reduce thigh fat which can be done from the floor.
- Start by lying on your back on a mat.
- Keep back flat and knees bent, planting feet firmly on the floor.
- Place arms by the side of the body and pressing onto the palms gently lift your hips toward the ceiling.
- Hold in position by creating a 45 degree angle with the body.
- Flex hips and thighs in this position before lowering yourself back on the floor.
- Repeat the movement.
Chair Exercises to Lose Thigh Fat
If your back does not allow you to do exercises on the floor you can look at some other options to work out while seated on a chair.
Seated Bridge to Lose Thigh Fat
- Start the move by sitting on a stable chair.
- Place feet on the floor in front bending the knees at a 90 degree angle.
- Place hands on the sides of the chair and lift up your hips.
- Hold this position letting your arms and feet support your body weight.
- Hold for 30-60 seconds before going back to a seated position.
Seated Leg Raise to lose fat in thighs
- Once again, sit on a stable chair.
- Place feet on floor with the knees bent at a 90 degree angle.
- Place hands on either side of chair and extend one leg straight in front.
- Hold position for 30 seconds before lowering leg and repeat on the other side.
Seated Leg Extension for Losing Thigh Fat
- Sitting on a stable chair, place a medicine ball or rolled towel between the knees.
- Place feet firmly on floor and hands on either side of the chair.
- Now carefully lift both feet off the floor, still holding the towel/ ball between the knees.
- Extend both legs outward, squeezing the thighs inward.
- Hold position for three counts and release.
- Do 15- 20 repetitions.