Thigh Toning Exercises for Women

Four Exercises for Shapely Legs

Shapely thighs are something that every woman craves. The problem is that women have a habit of gaining weight in their upper legs. Thigh fat can seem relentless, but following the right thigh toning exercises can give you sexy, toned legs at any age.

You can blame it on genetics, hormones, age, or simply the fact that we are women; but, the female body tends to store fat in the thighs. Well, you don't have to put away your bikini or mini skirts just yet. 

You can't "spot" reduce, but with a healthy diet and the right thigh toning exercises, you can lose those extra pounds and tone your legs so you feel confident and sexy. 

Thigh Toning Exercises

Sumo Squat

Squat exercises are good for just about every lower body muscle, and the thighs are no exception; however, there are a few variations of this classic movement that target areas like the inner thigh even more. 

Exercise Instructions:

  • Stand with your legs in a wide stance, about 2 1/2 – 3 feet apart, and toes turned slightly out while holding a dumbbell or medicine ball in front of you with both hands and arms straight down.

  •  Lower your body into a squat position, hold for two counts, then return to starting stance. Repeat for desired number of repetitions.

dumbbell sumo squat

Side Lunge

Side lunges offer a variation over the traditional forward lunge. The sideways action with your legs allow you to work your hips, glutes and inner thighs a little differently because of the angle. The side lunge also puts less stress on your knees.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and toes facing forward. 

  • Step out to the right beyond shoulder width, making sure to keep your toes forward and your feet flat on the floor.

  •  Bend your right knee and squat down through the right hip, keeping your left leg straight and your body facing forward. 

  • Hold for 3-4 counts then return to starting position and repeat on other side. Continue for desired number of repetitions.

side lunge exerciseKim Demonstrating the Side Lunge

Double Thigh Lift

As you can see by the pictures, thigh lift exercises were designed to target those annoying "saddlebags" that accumulate on the outside of your upper quad leg muscles. 

Exercise Instructions:

  • Lie on your right side with your elbow on the floor and your head resting in your right hand. 

  • Extend your legs straight out in line with your body, making sure that your left leg is stacked directly on top of your right leg.
  • Place the palm of your left hand flat on the floor in front of your chest for support. 

  • Lift both legs up together, hold for 3 counts then lower. Repeat for desired number or repetitions then switch sides.

double leg lift position #1
double leg lift position #2

Bulgarian Split Squats

This is a more difficult version of a normal split squat, with your rear leg up on an incline. You can do split squats without weights by crossing your arms in front of your chest or putting them on your hips.

Exercise Instructions:

  • Start out holding a set of dumbbells at arm's length next to your sides.

  • Standing with your right foot 2-3 feet ahead of the left one, place your left foot on a bench. The higher the bench, the harder the squat exercise.

  • Bend your right knee and slowly squat down until your thigh is parallel to the floor, hold the pose for a count and push off of your right foot with force to return to your starting position. Repeat the exercise 5-8 times and switch sides.

bulgarian split squat position #2
bulgarian split squat position #2Kim Demonstrating the Bulgarian Split Squat


  • With Bulgarian split squats, the higher up you place the back foot the more challenging the exercise will be. Split squats also effectively work your core muscles as you try and maintain steady balance.

Other pages that might interest you:

I will continue to share ideas about diet and exercise that have helped me along the way. If you have any questions I can help you with, or ideas you would like to share, feel free to contact me or visit our Q&A forum

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