Unfortunately, it’s almost impossible not to face up to the fact that at some point during the summer, you are going to have to appear in public in a bathing suit and reveal your thighs to the world – every newspaper or magazine you open at the moment is carrying a story on the best swimsuit to buy or the best way to look good in your swimsuit. For female (women & girl) particularly, the thighs are a major pain in the butt. The upper leg is usually hit hardest by excess flab and they’re also the last areas to show improvement. Fortunately, you still have time to do something about it.
The bottom line is this: to really lose fat, you need to be on a weight-loss diet as well as being physically active. You cannot spot reduce your thighs with exercise alone. In other words, just because you are doing exercises specifically for your thighs, doesn’t mean the fat is going to fall off you legs. First you need to remove the fat from your body by losing weight. You will lose fat from all over your body, including your thighs, but not specifically your thighs. The advantage of doing exercise specifically for your thighs is that as the fat is lost from your body, it will reveal the toned and shapely thighs below. So what you need is a combination of diet AND exercise.
The best way to motivate is to visualise how you want your thighs to look. Put a picture on your fridge as a reminder and really concentrate on the image when you grit your teeth and persevere with the exercise. You WILL see results. As an extra motivation why not measure the girth of your thighs with a tape measure once a week and track your progress. Then you will really know that what you are doing is making a difference. It will.
WALKING It’s the simplest method of toning the thigh area. To reap some of the benefits during your daily schedule, simply avoid parking as close as possible when going shopping or to work. Give your body a chance to adjust to greater walking distances. This will eventually lead to increased endurance and thus increased ability to tone the legs.
STAIR-STEPPING Whether at work or in a gym, climbing stairs is an excellent way to target the thigh area. The stair-steppers in the gym provide a fat-burning and muscle-toning workout that will contribute to the development of lean, fit legs. If you don’t have access to the stair-stepper machines, you can perform the toning aspects of this workout by using old-fashioned stairways. Simply by choosing stairs over lifts or escalators will make a noticeable difference in your leg muscles.
CYCLING Distance cycling and mountain biking are great outdoor activities that provide both a great cardiovascular and toning workout. The energy required to perform these sports will help whip the thighs into shape. Just check out the iron thighs on Lance Armstrong and other Tour De France athletes.
SWIMMING Everybody in the pool… the constant kicking in swimming provides an outstanding workout for the thighs. The variations of swimming styles provide multiple workouts for the thigh area. Butterflies and backstrokes, as well as freestyle and breaststroke, all use a repetitive contraction of the leg muscles. This will help to tone the thighs using many different angles of muscle contraction.
STRENGTH TRAINING EXERCISES
LEG EXTENSIONS This exercise trains the quadriceps, which are the muscles to the front of the thighs. Sit on the chair with both legs bent in front of you. Extend your right leg out straight in front of you, even with the thigh. Point your toes upwards and squeeze your leg at the top of the movement. Hold for one second. Lower the leg back down to the ground. Repeat 8 to 10 times. Then do the same for the left leg. Exhale on the upward movement and inhale on the downward movement. To increase resistance, add ankle weights
LEG CURL This exercise targets the muscles that constitute the “hamstrings.” Start on the floor on all fours. Lift your right leg to the back and hold it straight out from the hip, parallel with the floor. Bend your leg and bring it towards your body till your heel hits your bum. Squeeze your leg at the top of this movement.
Repeat 8-10 times. Then do the same for the left leg. To increase resistance, add ankle weights.
LEG ABDUCTORS Stand erect with left hand on a chair or table for balancing. Place right hand on hip. Keep right leg straight while moving that leg away from your body towards the right. When the leg reaches a point where you feel a contraction in the area of the buttocks, stop the motion and hold for one second. Then return the leg to the starting position. This will constitute one repetition.
Perform 10 to 15 repetitions, then switch legs.
LEG ADDUCTORS Stand erect with your legs and shoulders equal width apart. Balance yourself with your left leg and for added support place your left hand on a chair or table. Put your right hand on your hip. Slightly bend the left leg so as not to hyperextend it. Keeping the right leg straight, cross it over in front of the left leg. Stop the motion when the inner thigh contracts, then hold the pose for one second. Return the right leg to the starting position.