Five Thigh Exercises to Try at Home

There are two elements one must combine to improve body composition: nutrition and exercise. Below, we'll delve into this topic and how it affects the thigh area.
Five Thigh Exercises to Try at Home
Carlos Fabián Avila

Reviewed and approved by Doctor Carlos Fabián Avila.

Last update: 26 May, 2022

1. Classic squats

A woman doing squats.

Squats are one of the best exercises to work the entire lower body. This exercise not only tightens the thigh muscles but also firms the buttocks and helps increase leg strength.

In addition, the benefits of squats even extend to the bone level. According to a study published by Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, this movement improves knee stability and strengthens the muscles surrounding the knee, hip, and ankle joints.

The squat technique is quite easy to learn:

  • Stand up straight with your legs separated at the width of your shoulders and place your hands in front of your body or behind your head
  • Start to lower your body as if you were going to sit down, keeping your abdomen tight
  • Make sure your knees don’t go over the tips of your toes when lowering your butt
  • Stand up again to complete a repetition
  • Squat while holding dumbbells, or any kind of weight if you want to raise the intensity

2. Adductor exercise

The adductor muscles are located in the interior lateral zone of the thighs, by the groin, specifically. In addition to strengthening this muscle group, the sumo squat will allow you to work your hips and shape and tone your thighs. You do it as follows:

  • Stand up with your hands on your hips and open your legs as much as you can; point your feet outwards
  • Staying in position while keeping your back straight, bend your knees and lower yourself to a 90-degree angle
  • Contract your glutes and hold the position for 2 or 3 seconds, then go back to the original position.

3. The bridge is one of the best thigh exercises

A woman doing the Bridge.
The bridge is useful for scoliosis and can be performed in the home environment.

This classic exercise, also known as the “pelvic lift”, strengthens the hamstrings which are located behind the thighs. This exercise is great for toning the butt and waist, as well as for improving spine stability.

The bridge also improves the stability of the spine, as it strengthens the muscles of the middle and back, according to a recent study published in the Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy. The technique is quite simple:

  • Lay down on a rug or yoga mat, or rug, so you’re looking at the ceiling
  • Lay your hands at your side and bend your knees
  • Lift your waist towards the ceiling, making sure to tighten your glutes, thighs, and abdomen
  • Hold the position for a few seconds and slowly return to the floor
  • If you want, put a little weight on your stomach to add more difficulty

4. Side leg lifts are great thigh exercises

Side leg lifts are wonderful for working out the muscles in the waist and outside parts of the thighs. Do it as follows:

  • Lay down on your side with one arm under your body and the other on your waist
  • Put one foot on top of the other and keep your legs extended
  • Staying in position, lift the upper leg towards the ceiling until you feel a light pressure on your hips
  • Lower your leg without touching the other and lift it again
  • Once you’re done with one leg, follow up with the next one

5. Deadlifts

A woman doing leg exercises with weights.
The deadlift is an exercise with many benefits for the back and lower body muscles.

Deadlifts are one of the basic exercises for muscle strengthening. According to a study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, its main purpose is to improve the strength and power of the lower body and the erector spinae muscle.

Its execution requires a well-polished technique, otherwise, considerable injuries may occur. Carefully follow these steps to do it:

  • Stand up straight and hold a pair of dumbbells with your arms extended towards the floor
  • Separate your feet and lightly bend your knees
  • Lean your chest forwards, as if you wanted to touch the floor with the dumbbells
  • Make sure you keep your back straight and, keeping the initial position of your legs, go back to the starting position
  • Add more weights if you’re able can handle more resistance

Plan some exercises to shape and tone your thighs

Regarding the repetitions and sets for the proposed exercises, we must say these depend on the physical condition of each person. Therefore, professionals advise doing two or three sets of as many repetitions as possible and increase the amount progressively as your endurance and technique improve.

As you may have noticed, there are several exercises you can do at home. Spend a few minutes on this simple routine and discover how good these activities are for improving the shape and tone of your thighs. Don’t forget to take care of your other habits though!

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Escamilla, Rafael. 2001. Knee biomechanics of the dynamic squat exercise, Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise – Volume 33 – Issue 1 – p 127-141
  • Jeong-Oh Yoon, Min-Hyeok Kang, Jun-Seok Kim, Jae-Seop Oh. 2018. Effect of modified bridge exercise on trunk muscle activity in healthy adults: a cross sectional study. Brazilian Journal of Physical Therapy. Volume 22, Issue 2.
  • Camara, Kevin D.; Coburn, Jared W.; Dunnick, Dustin D.; Brown, Lee E.; Galpin, Andrew J.; Costa, Pablo B. An Examination of Muscle Activation and Power Characteristics While Performing the Deadlift Exercise With Straight and Hexagonal Barbells, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: May 2016 – Volume 30 – Issue 5 – p 1183-1188
    doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001352

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.