You are here

Top 10 Moves for Thinner Thighs

The Ultimate Thigh-Slimming Exercises

thigh-slimming exercise jump lunge

1 of 11

All photos

So you want to know how to get thinner thighs or skinny legs? Here's the thing: You can't spot-reduce fat or target-tone certain areas of your body. That's just not how weight loss works. You can, however, develop the muscles in your legs to appear more firm, "toned," and, most importantly, to feel strong and capable. As a result, you may score the appearance of thinner thighs. (Don't believe it? Check out these body transformations from lifting weights.)

This circuit of thigh-slimming exercises created by trainer and fitness expert Jessica Smith will help strengthen your whole lower body—especially your quads, hamstrings, abductors, and adductors (or the front, back, outside, and inside of your thighs, respectively).

How it works: Do 15 reps of each move back-to-back without rest, up to four days a week. Be sure to couple your lower-body and thigh workouts with cardio exercise, a healthy diet, and other strength workouts to make the most of these thigh-slimming exercises.

Equipment needed: None. You can do all these moves with just your bodyweight. Want to boost your burn? Try adding a set of 5- to 10-pound dumbbells (free weights have tons of benefits!) to some of the strength moves for an added challenge.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Side Lunge to Crossover Tap

side lunge crossover leg workout routine thigh-slimming exercise

2 of 11

All photos

Target your upper legs from every angle with this thigh-slimming exercise designed to hit your inner thighs, quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

  • Stand with your feet together, arms down by your sides.
  • Take a wide step to the side with your left foot (your right leg should stay extended), and bend your left knee, pushing your hips behind you.
  • Keep your back flat, eyes looking straight ahead, and reach both arms on either side of your left foot, touching the ground with your fingertips.
  • Push off the left leg and shift your weight back into the right foot, reaching both arms up to the ceiling, while you bring your left leg across the front of your body and tap your left toes on the floor, just past your right leg. That's one rep.

Do 15 reps on each leg.

Form Tip: Focus on squeezing your inner-thigh muscles and drawing your abs in tight on the crossover tap to help with balance and control.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Runner's Lunge to Balance

runner's lunge to balance thin thigh slimming exercise

3 of 11

All photos

This deep lunge and balance combo will help slim thighs and improve your balance. (Related: 8 Butt-Lifting Exercises That *Actually* Work)

  • Stand with your feet together.
  • Take a big step forward with your right leg.
  • Reaching towards your right foot with both hands and hinging slightly forward from your hips, bend both knees into a low lunge (be sure to keep your right knee lined up over your right ankle at the bottom of your lunge. Don't let your knee extend past your toes). Your left knee should be pointed straight down to the floor (like a sprinter about to start running).
  • Next, press your weight into your right leg and push down through your right foot as you stand up out of the lunge, lifting your left leg off the floor and straight up behind your hip. Your upper body should maintain the hinged forward position as you stand, with your back straight, abs tight.
  • Balance for one count and then lower back down into the lunge. If it's too hard to stand on one leg, try tapping your left foot lightly on the floor behind you as you stand up out of the lunge.

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: As you stand out of the lunge position, focus on one point on the floor in front of you. This will help you balance at the top of the move.

 

Photo: Peter Ardito

Scissor Power Switch

scissor power lunge thigh-slimming exercise

4 of 11

All photos

This thigh-slimming exercise helps burn more calories while you work the power (fast-twitch) muscle fibers in your legs—a killer combo for trimmer thighs.

  • Stand with your right foot forward, left leg back and lower into a runner's lunge, reaching your left arm towards your right foot and extending your right arm behind you.
  • Push off the floor with both feet, jumping straight up, scissoring legs midair, and land back into a runner's lunge with your left leg forward, right arm reaching across. If an injury prevents you from jumping, try quickly alternating your legs with a rear tap instead of the jump.

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: Start slow to ensure proper form on your landing (always keep your knees behind your toes on the front leg of your lunge). Progress into a faster speed for this thigh-slimming exercise when you're ready to advance.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Diagonal Lunge

thigh slimming exercise diagonal lunge

5 of 11

All photos

This multi-directional lunge (see how to ace perfect lunge form) helps build coordination and control while also toning and tightening your quads, glutes, hamstrings, and inner thighs.

  • Stand with feet together, both arms reaching overhead, palms facing forward.
  • Take a wide step with your right foot out to the corner of the room (at a 45-degree diagonal angle), bending your right knee and reaching arms and upper body forward over your right thigh (your back leg should be straight, with your heel lifted off the floor).
  • Try to touch the floor, on either side of your right foot, lightly with your fingertips.
  • Push off of the right foot to return to the starting position.

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: As you stand back out of your lunge, focus on drawing your abs in tight, squeezing your inner thighs together, and maintaining good posture.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Plié Slides

best thigh slimming exercise plie slide

6 of 11

All photos

This ballet-inspired thigh-slimming exercise targets both the inner and outer legs.

  • Stand with your hands on your hips, heels pressed together and toes rotated out to the sides (about 45 degrees).
  • Step your left foot out (wider than hip-width apart), into a deep "plié": bend both knees out over your toes, lowering your body straight down to the floor, keeping your back straight and abs in tight.
  • Next, as you rise up out of the plié, slide your left heel back in towards your right, straightening your legs and returning to start position.

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: Make sure your knees stay lined up over your toes on the plié, don't let them roll in.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Lateral Plyo Squats

lateral plyo squat thinner thigh exercise

7 of 11

All photos

This quick plyometric (plyo) interval will get your heart pumping and tone your hips, thighs, and glutes. (BTW: here's everything you need to know plyometric, aka jump-style training.)

  • Stand with your feet together, arms down by your sides.
  • Step your right foot out to the side (about hip-width apart) and bend your knees, holding both arms in front of body, sitting back into a squat: press your hips behind you (as if reaching back for a chair) and keep your chest lifted and eyes forward.
  • Quickly push off the floor with both feet, jumping up and to the left. Land with your left foot stepping out to the side and back into your squat position. (Modification option: Instead of jumping, simply stay down in your squat position and step your feet quickly from side to side to raise your heart rate without the impact.)

Do 15 reps.

Form Tip: Use your arms to get your momentum going and to help you push off the ground during this thigh-slimming exercise.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Kneeling Roundhouse Kick

kneeling roundhouse kick thigh slimming exercise

8 of 11

All photos

This kickboxing-inspired thigh-slimming exercise is a terrific way to hit your outer hips too. (Related: How to Master 4 Key Martial Arts Kicks)

  • Start kneeling on all fours (on carpet or a mat) with your arms extended under your shoulders and knees bent under your hips.
  • Lift your left knee off the floor, bending your left heel in closer to your body.
  • Next, lift left knee (keeping it bent) straight out to the side of your body, trying to bring it up to hip height.
  • Extend your leg straight out, pointing your toe, shin and shoelaces facing forward.
  • Bend knee back in and lower it down, almost to the floor (but not touching).

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: Draw your abs in tight and try not to lean away from your legs as you lift it into your kick—press both arms strong into the floor, keeping hips square.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Hip Extension and Cross

hip extension cross thinner thigh exercise

9 of 11

All photos

Condition the backs of your thighs, glutes, and get a bonus core workout with this targeted isolation exercise.

  • Start kneeling and bend both elbows down to the floor below your shoulders, hands clasped.
  • Extend your left leg up and behind your body, pointing your toes as the leg extends.
  • Bend your left knee and draw your left leg in, lightly tapping the back of your right knee with your left kneecap.
  • Extend left leg back out.

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: Press both arms down into the floor to avoid collapsing into your chest, and keep your abs drawn in tight so that your lower back doesn't sag.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Plank to Stand Up

plank to stand up thigh slimming exercise

10 of 11

All photos

This tough thigh-slimming exercise improves flexibility in your hamstrings and hips while also toning your core, legs, and back.

  • Start at the top of a push-up position, or a high plank.
  • Keeping your abs drawn in tight, step your right foot in between your hands, bending your knee so that your right thigh is parallel to the floor, keeping your back leg extended.
  • Push your weight into your right foot as you slowly stand up out of the lunge, leaning slightly forward with your upper body, and tap your left foot on the floor behind you at the top.
  • Bend your right knee and lunge back down to the floor, placing hands flat on either side of your right foot. Step right leg back to plank position and then repeat with the left leg.

Do 15 reps per side.

Form Tip: If it's too difficult to stand up with your hands on the ground, place your hands on top of your front thigh for more support. Do the same on the way back down.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Prone Hamstring Curl

prone hamstring curl thigh slimming exercise

11 of 11

All photos

This thigh-slimming exercise shapes up the hamstrings and lifts that hard-to-reach spot where the glutes and hamstrings meet. (Related: This 30-Day Butt Challenge Will Seriously Sculpt Your Booty)

  • Lie face down on the floor, bend your elbows and stack your hands under your forehead.
  • Extend both legs straight out behind you, pointing your toes and squeezing your heels together.
  • Press your shoulders down and lift both legs slightly off the floor.
  • Keeping your feet touching, bend your knees (knees can open out to the sides slightly as they bend) and curl both heels in towards your body.
  • Without letting your knees touch the ground, slowly extend both legs back out straight.

Do 15 reps.

Form Tip: Be sure to keep your kneecaps lifted off the floor during the full movement, and imagine you are pressing your heels into something as you bend your knees in, to really squeeze the backs of your thighs.

Photo: Peter Ardito

Comments

Add a comment