If your goal is to improve the strength and look of your thighs, a combination of weight and cardio training or a program of focused isometric exercises such as Barre, produce the best results. As we now know, there isn’t such a thing as spot reduction when it comes to reducing body fat. However, by reducing overall body fat, some of the fat lost will be from the thighs and legs in general.
To get rid of excess fat, you have to burn more calories than you take in (a 3,500 calorie deficit per week to lose one pound). So in addition to eating healthy to keep your calorie intake low, you also have to engage in activities that burn a lot of calories. Cardio training is one of the best ways to do this. Activities such as brisk walking, running, biking, tennis, and a whole host of other activities that use your lower body major muscle groups, burn the most calories when you get your heart rate up into your target range – 220 minus your age multiplied by 0.8 – for at least 30 minutes or more.
While cardio training burns calories in the here-and-now while doing the exercises, lower body strength training works to tone and define the leg muscle groups so they naturally burn more calories than before even while at rest. It is this toning and defining that makes your thighs look leaner and stronger.
There are several strength training machines in a gym that focus on lower leg and thigh development, however, one of the best exercises without any equipment is the side lunge done from the squatting position. Not only does this exercise strengthen your knee, but it also works the glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves – a total lower body workout without any equipment.
Barre training is the new kid on the block when it comes to fitness. Its unique exercise routines give the participant that long, lean, ballet-dancer look without the typical cardio or strength training. Instead it uses bodyweight, a ballet barre, and lots of repetitions of isometric exercises that focus on lengthening and defining core thigh muscles. While not a calorie-burning focus type of exercise, an hour session does burn around 500 calories. However the real calorie-burning benefit comes from the increased lower body major muscle group development which burn more calories now at rest than before.
Of course no muscle development endeavor is successful without also eating healthy. Set yourself up for success by focusing on eating fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and nuts, along with minimizing sugar and saturated and trans fats. A combination of exercise focused on the leg muscle groups and healthy eating will get you to your goal of stronger and leaner thighs quicker.