I’m going to start this article by pointing out the obvious, beautiful legs on a woman are…well, a beautiful thing. Getting beautiful legs? Well, that’s not a beautiful process. It takes hard work, dedication, and a knowledge of the most optimal thigh exercises to stimulate the body into producing results. We’re not about to let you ladies down, however, so let’s discuss the thigh exercises that can help make your legs look great.
We’ll give you a list of the best thigh exercises and a little bit of extra information that’s important for you to be able to to develop beautiful, slender legs. Before I get into it, I’m going to warn you that this takes a bit of work outside of just doing thigh exercises, if you want real results. So if you skip straight to the list of thigh exercises, the fault is all your own!
The #1 mistake women make when it comes to their gym routines is too much cardio, and not enough sweat-inducing labor with the weights. Although we’ll leave that for another article, it’s noteworthy to mention that building your bodies is no different than building that of men. In order to get nice looking legs, you need to have some muscle there, and you don’t see guys putting on muscle by doing cardio, right? If you really want results, you’re going to focus on doing thigh exercises. Furthermore, your #1 priority during this process will be making sure that you work with your maintenance calories in order to achieve your fitness goals. You have to figure out a guesstimated maintenance calorie count (explained there), and use that to help cement the results you’re looking for. I’m telling you this before giving you a list of thigh exercises because your results will be minimal if you simply get to work doing them and don’t account for your work in the kitchen (diet!).
The laws of thermodynamics work the same with you as they do with us men, we might be from different planets, but it doesn’t change the basic understanding of science. If you eat more than you burn throughout the day, you’ll put on weight, and vice versa. Therefore, if you’re a skinny girl who wants to up her leg power and add some size, you’ll need to be a bit above your maintenance in order to give your body what it needs to make use of these thigh exercises (200-300 calories above). If you’re a girl that has some leg size but is looking to slim down a bit and make them more defined, the key is staying a bit below maintenance to drop some body fat (you can’t use these thigh exercises to tone!). I’d suggest up to 500 calories below, but to learn more about the best amounts for each goal visit our Calories Per Day article.
Key note, however: do not drop too much calories at once because the process is not going to work faster, instead it’ll reduce results because your body is going to start shutting down on you and making you feel weak. For those of you who need to up the amount, don’t use that as an excuse to pig out because you’re working so hard (racking up your total too high and causing unnecessary fat gain).
By the way, a quick tip for those women who are going to be trying to put on some muscle. There is a common scare that if you do certain exercises you’re going to “get big and bulky”. That’s impossible, it doesn’t even make sense.If a man requires years upon years in the gym, with all of his testosterone, do you really think an exercise with weights will make a woman big and bulky? No. Now then, let’s get to the part you want to read about the most. The best thigh exercises:
1) Squats – the #1 king of exercises, and that goes for both men and women. It will burn the most calories, and hit the most muscles. Your core (abs) will be hit hard and your thighs will be burning. Matter of fact, I’d go as far as to say that you can do this and nothing else and achieve amazing results if your diet is in check too. Start with bodyweight, and make sure you go down as low as your flexibility allows. The lower you go down, the more hamstrings and glutes are recruited. Now ladies, you all want to improve that butt, don’t you? Then make sure you’re not going down 2 inches and coming back up, as that will render this exercise almost useless, when it’s the most important.
2) Lunges – the wider you step forward on these, and the lower you go, the more your glutes are recruited. I place this only 2nd to the king thigh exercise above. If you want your quads to get hit more (front thigh), don’t go as low and don’t go as wide.
3) Hamstring Curls – nothing works better than hamstring curls at hitting your rear thigh area. If you have no access to the gym, either do the variation where someone holds down your ankles and you fall towards the ground restrained only by your hamstrings as you go down, or place a dumbbell between your feet and lay down while picking the weight up towards your hamstrings like you would with the machine in the gym.
Squats hit your entire thigh region, Lunges can too but can be focused more specifically on a particular section as described, and Hamstring Curls hit your hamstrings more so than the other two can (at least when we’re dealing with minimal weights). That makes up the entire thigh, so we’re good to go. 3 thigh exercises, no need for more. Each one should be roughly 4-5 sets, of 15-20 reps each, one week. Another week, do 3 sets of 6-8 reps (if you don’t have access to weights to make the reps heavier in order to do the lowered rep count, use other things like a loaded book bag, be creative!).
Alternate weeks and focus on the movement and the muscle targeted when doing each rep and set. For more on that, learn how to Enhance Training with our article on the Mind Muscle Connection. Like I stressed higher up, work with those calories, and if you do this rather short workout 2-3 times a week (no more than that, you need your muscles to recover and repair), then you’ll see improvements in no time. Good Luck!
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