Try These 10 Exercises To Reduce Thigh Fat

Try These 10 Exercises To Reduce Thigh Fat

Just about everyone has an area on their body that they wish looked different. More specifically, the thighs have a bad reputation for holding onto fat and never letting go. 

The key to the effective and lasting reduction of thigh fat isn’t to simply focus on a calorie deficit and weight loss. Although that does play a part, you’ll also need to focus on targeted leg workouts that can help tone the thigh muscles. 

But before we jump into the best exercises for that, let’s understand what contributes to fat building up around our thighs. 

What Causes Thigh Fat?

The first step to eliminating thigh fat is to understand what has caused it to show up in the first place. Here are a few of the most influential factors that commonly result in thigh fat.


One of the primary factors involved with fat storage is passed down from our parents. Some people are genetically predisposed to storing excess fat in certain areas, including the thighs. 

While genetics aren’t something that you can control, our genes don’t get to decide our fate. Making intentional lifestyle modifications can positively influence how our genes express themselves.


The passage of time brings a variety of changes that we can’t do much about. For instance, our metabolism slows down as we age, which can often lead to fat accumulation in certain areas, such as the thighs. 

However, just as you'd tweak your clothing style with different life stages, changing your workout routine and dietary habits can support maintaining a more balanced body composition.

Hormonal Changes

Hormones play a significant role in fat storage, especially for women. Higher levels of estrogen can often lead to fat being stored in specific areas, including the thighs. 

By aligning our workout routines with our body's hormonal rhythms, we can facilitate maintaining a balanced body composition.

Dietary Habits

Dietary habits, particularly a routine of high-calorie and heavily processed foods, can often be the reason behind belly fat as well as extra fat deposits to our thighs. 

Embracing natural, nutrient-dense foods can revolutionize your caloric intake, supporting an overall balanced and healthier body.

Sedentary Lifestyle

An under-the-radar contributor to thigh fat is a sedentary lifestyle. Long hours of sitting at work and minimal physical movement may lead to building up more fat around your thighs. 

Encouraging more physical activity, whether it's a quick walk during your break, taking the stairs, or adding in weekend outdoor activities, can counter this and encourage a healthier lifestyle.

10 Exercises To Target Thigh Fat

If you’re embarking on the journey to reduce thigh fat and the appearance of cellulite, then you'll want to include a variety of exercises that utilize your leg muscles in your arsenal. The exercises listed below specifically target the muscles in the thigh area, firing up your metabolism while also taking care of overall body fitness. 

1. Regular and Sumo Squats

Kicking off the list, we have the classic squat and its somewhat powerful cousin, the sumo squat. These exercises have a particular focus on the inner thighs, quads, and glutes. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand up straight, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Lower yourself into a squat as though sitting on an imaginary chair.
  3. Aim to create a 90-degree angle at your knees without letting your knees go past your toes.
  4. Return to the standing position, pushing through the heels. That's one rep.
  5. For sumo squats, widen your feet beyond shoulder-width, turning your toes slightly outward, and repeat the steps outlined above.

2. Forward and Reverse Lunges

Another classic, forward and reverse lunges work primarily on your quads and hamstrings, two primary muscle groups in your thighs. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand straight with feet hip-width apart.
  2. Take a step forward with your right leg and bend both your knees to 90 degrees, forming a lunge position.
  3. Your right knee should be directly above your right ankle.
  4. Push off from the right foot back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat the steps by stepping backward for a reverse lunge, alternating between your left and right feet.

3. Leg Lifts

Pinpointing inner thigh fat, leg lifts focus on toning the adductor muscles and are one of the premiere inner thigh exercises. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie down on your right side with your legs straight and stacked together, rest your head on your right hand.
  2. Keep your left hand on the ground in front of your belly for balance.
  3. Slowly lift your left leg as high as you can, keeping it as straight as possible.
  4. Lower it back down slowly without letting it rest on your bottom leg.
  5. Perform this for a few reps and then switch sides.

4. Cardio Workouts

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) and aerobic exercises are excellent for increasing your heart rate. A well-rounded cardiovascular-oriented workout could include a mix of jogging, jumping jacks, rowing, jumping rope, biking, dancing, swimming, or playing sports. 

You don’t need to utilize all of these activities, as anything that gets your heart rate elevated will help burn calories and support overall body fat loss. Just pick your favorite one and create a habit of doing it multiple times a week. 

5. Step-Ups

Adding a level of intensity to the regular step-ups, incorporating a pair of dumbbells can transform this workout to support your upper body as well. 

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand in front of a step or bench and hold a dumbbell in each hand.
  2. Step onto the bench with one foot, followed by the other.
  3. Step off, starting with the initial foot that you used to step on.
  4. Make sure to switch the starting foot with each rep.

6. Single Leg Deadlifts

This exercise focuses on your hamstrings and glutes, the back of your thighs.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand upright while holding a dumbbell in your right hand, palm facing towards you.
  2. Slowly lift your right foot off the floor, keeping it just behind your left leg.
  3. Bend at your hips, and lower your body until it's parallel to the floor.
  4. Your right arm should hang down, and the dumbbell should be close to your left foot.
  5. Slowly return to the starting position.
  6. Perform equal repetitions for both legs.

7. Burpees

While burpees are full-body workouts, they're exceptionally well-suited for burning calories and reducing overall body fat, including in the thigh area.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart.
  2. Go down into a squat position and place your hands on the floor in front of you.
  3. Kick your feet back to get into a plank position.
  4. Quickly pull your feet back up to return to the squat position.
  5. Then, perform a jump with your arms extended straight overhead.
  6. Repeat.

8. Wall Sits

Looking for a thigh-intense workout with less movement? Wall sits engage your quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Stand tall with your back against a wall.
  2. Slowly slide down until you are in a sitting position so your legs form a 90-degree angle.
  3. Hold the position for as long as you can.
  4. Slide back upward to the starting position.

9. Glute Bridges

This simple but powerful exercise targets your glutes, hamstrings, and lower back muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie flat on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor.
  2. Push off your heels to lift your hips off the ground, keeping your back straight.
  3. Squeeze your glutes at the top and hold for a few seconds.
  4. Lower your body back down to the starting position to complete one rep.

10. Leg Circles

A Pilates favorite, leg circles work wonders on both the inner thigh muscles as well as the outer thigh muscles.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Lie down flat on your back and extend one leg towards the ceiling.
  2. Begin to rotate the raised leg in small circular motions.
  3. Keep your movements slow and controlled, and ensure your hips remain on the ground.
  4. After a set of rotations, switch legs and repeat the motions.

How Can You Maintain Toned Legs Long Term?

Maintaining toned legs long-term isn't about quick fixes — it's about nurturing sustainable lifestyle changes that transcend day-to-day fluctuations and seamlessly transition into habits. 

A combination of sensible nutrition, a consistent fitness regimen, stress management, adequate sleep, and hydration are all key when it comes to staying fit for the long haul.

Clean Out Your Diet

Most importantly, it's time to adopt a balanced and healthy diet. Transitioning towards a wholesome, nutrient-rich diet is an investment that your body, especially your legs, will thank you for. 

Aim at reducing the clutter of excess sugar and carbohydrates, replacing them with nourishing foods like whole grains, lean meats, colorful fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats. When your meals are balanced and filled with the right nutrients, you’ll be well on your way to reducing thigh fat and achieving a healthy weight. 

Stay Consistent

Consistency is truly key when it comes to maintaining fitness and overall health. Developing a workout routine tailored to your body weight and fitness level encourages this consistency. Make sure you also include both strength training and cardio workouts within your routine to target different muscle groups effectively. 

Consider monitoring your progress — tracking your positive transformations isn't about obsessing over numbers but celebrating your achievements. If possible, seeking the guidance of a personal trainer can also help fine-tune your specific needs and goals.

Regular Sleep Patterns

While rest might seem counterintuitive in a routine focused on getting toned legs, a consistent sleep pattern is actually one of the keys to maintaining these results. Aiming for seven to nine hours of sound sleep each night can help restore your body, aiding in muscle recovery and supporting your metabolism.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping yourself adequately hydrated is more helpful than you might think. Not only does it help with muscle elasticity, but it also fosters overall metabolism, potentially assisting in fat burning. 

If you find plain water to be a bit too bland and boring, then there are a few ways you can enhance the flavor without resorting to a diet bursting with added sugars. Try adding fruits to your water to change up the flavor, or incorporate our skin-supporting Lemon Sips to add a flavor boost and support firmness.

Manage Stress

Too much stress can hinder your health progress, potentially leading to weight gain. Incorporating mind-body practices like meditation and yoga can be powerful tools to mitigate stress and promote an overall sense of well-being. Regular exercise itself is also a great stress reliever.

The Bottom Line

We're all on this journey together, and it's about finding joy in progress, not perfection. Each step taken is a stride towards better health. As we integrate these positive habits into our lifestyle, we can see the benefits not just in our thighs but throughout our whole bodies.

Remember, you're not alone in this journey. Follow Dr. Kellyann for more insights on health, fitness, and nutrition. Embrace our valuable tips, tasty recipes, and programs aimed to support you, including your journey towards losing thigh fat and maintaining toned legs. 


Our Genes Affect Where Fat is Stored in our Bodies | ScienceDaily

Surprising Findings About Metabolism and Age | Harvard Health

Eating Highly Processed Foods Linked to Weight Gain | National Institutes of Health

Time Spent Being Sedentary and Weight Gain in Healthy Adults: Reverse or Bidirectional Causality? | ScienceDirect

How Many Hours of Sleep are Enough? | Mayo Clinic