For many people, the inner thigh area can be a major source of concern. It’s a body part that lends itself to fat storage, and it’s right up there with the lower belly and upper arms in terms of being asked, “How to lose thigh weight?” by trainers.
I completely get this, and I vividly remember my eighth-grade classmate comparing my thighs to the shape of a grand piano because of that small curve of adipose up top.
I grew up in the era of the Thighmaster and “toning exercises” clipped from my mother’s women’s magazines, and I spent countless hours trying to lose that jiggly little piece of me.
Working as a personal trainer in college and attending several anatomy and training classes in pursuit of my exercise science degree taught me that strengthening the inner thighs does not actually burn fat there.
At best, inner thigh exercises will strengthen the muscles beneath the fat, and if you’re witnessing muscular hypertrophy (muscle growth), your thighs may grow in size as a result.
So, how can you get rid of that fat in your inner thighs?
The quick answer is that if your genetics predisposition you to fat accumulation in that location, you won’t shed much.
The lengthier answer is that you can lose body fat by exercising and eating a healthy diet, but you’ll lose it everywhere over your body. Exercise won’t help you lose weight in specific places of your body.
But don’t give up hope. Within the limits of your genetic potential, an increase in muscle and a small reduction in body fat can make your legs more shapely. I’ll give some exercises to assist you in achieving both of these objectives.
The most effective methods for fat loss
Diet and exercise are the most effective ways to slim down your thighs. Let’s start with the diet.
While losing weight isn’t always as straightforward as eating less calories than you burn, there is some logic to that approach.
When you burn more calories through activity than you take in, you create an energy imbalance, which means you must use your stored energy (fat) to meet your body’s calorie demands.
This is a delicate balancing act, because a large calorie deficit might actually work against you, decreasing your metabolism in reaction to extremely low calorie intake. To keep your metabolism in good shape, avoid calorie deficits of more than 500–1,000 per day.
However, diet is only one aspect of it. Exercising can surely speed up your metabolism and help you burn fat. Certain sorts of workouts can help you burn fat effectively.
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT, is one of the most effective ways to increase strength, burn fat, and speed up your metabolism. It not only burns a lot of calories, but it also affects your general metabolism by changing your insulin response in a beneficial way.
HIIT allows for some variation, but it ultimately consists of alternating high-intensity, typically explosive, activity with recovery-intensity exercise.
The high intensity intervals (which can last anywhere from 30 seconds to several minutes) must be completed at 85–95 percent of your maximum effort to reap the full metabolic benefits of HIIT.
The most significant advantage of HIIT may be the increased metabolism it provides. You’ll burn fat and calories at a higher rate for at least 24 hours if you really push yourself during HIIT exercises at 90–95 percent effort.
Another benefit of HIIT training is the range of exercises available. Burpees and pushups can be alternated with aerobic recovery periods, or resistance-based exercises like weighted lunges and kettlebell swings can be used for your work interval.
You could even conduct an all-cardio HIIT programme, but if your aim is to modify your body composition and develop a slimmer thigh, weighted strength exercises should be the high-intensity portion of your workout.
One thing to keep in mind with HIIT is that, due to its intensity, you’ll need to incorporate different sorts of workouts. The intensity of HIIT is high enough to merit appropriate recovery, and it’s critical to stay active on your days off if you’re attempting to improve your body composition.
For most people, 2–3 days of high intensity training per week is sufficient. To keep your body strong, recovered, and ready for the next big push, mix in some aerobic days with other types of recuperation, such as yoga and other gentle activity.
That’s right, you read that correctly. Because the calorie burn evoked from a single training session is so much smaller than what you burn when undertaking HIIT or cardio activity, many people underestimate the impact strength training has on body fat.
However, studies have shown that having more muscle on your body increases your calorie burn.
While your calorie deficit may not increase significantly, new research on mice reveals that weight training triggers a hormonal response in the body that causes fat cells to break down through a process known as cellular crosstalk.
Why? Other mouse experiments have discovered that fatty acids released into the bloodstream after fats are broken down may actually aid tissue healing.
To put it another way, when muscle fibers break down during weight training, fat cells step in to assist in the rebuilding process.
Because the research is new, more research is needed. All of this is to indicate that if fat loss is your aim, strength training can only help you get there .
Don’t forget about cardio for fat loss. You may keep your metabolic fires going with a couple of solid cardiovascular exercises during the week if you combine it with a strength-based interval training plan and at least one day of recuperation per week.
To keep your body and mind interested and responsive, mix and match your modalities (for example, running, bicycling, or swimming) and the type of aerobic workout you do.
Cardio over a long distance
Long, slow distance, or LSD, is a simple workout to get into if you have some time on your hands. It is a cardio workout that is performed at a reduced intensity for a longer period of time.
A somewhat longer swim at a slower pace, or perhaps a lengthy, moderate trek in the woods, for example. This workout focuses on endurance rather than intensity.
This form of activity will primarily burn fat for energy, and while the overall calorie burn will be smaller, it will still help you achieve your objective of becoming slimmer. If the intensity is low enough, an LSD workout is helpful for endurance and can be utilised as a recovery workout.
Inner thigh strengthening exercises
While losing weight with diet and exercise is the greatest way to shape your inner thighs, keeping your muscles firm will still give you a thin appearance. Here are some exercises that will help you focus on this region.
1. Squat like a sumo wrestler
Set your feet wide apart and turn your toes out to about 10:00 and 2:00. For increased resistance, hold a dumbbell.
As you bend your knees, maintain your chest up high and your knees pointing out over your toes. Squeeze your core, glutes, and inner thighs as you rise from the sumo squat.
Perform two sets of 12–15 repetitions each.
2. Side Lunge
With your feet together, stand tall. For increased resistance, hold a dumbbell at your chest.
Step out with your right leg and bend your right knee to send your hips back. During the descent, your knee should not extend beyond your toes by more than 2 inches, and your knee should be placed between your second and third toes.
Return to a standing position by pushing off with your right leg.
To complete 1 rep, repeat on the left leg.
Perform two sets of 12–15 repetitions each.
3. Curtsy Lunge
With your feet together, stand tall.
Squeeze your inner thighs by stepping your right leg behind your left, bending both knees and bringing both knees slightly towards the midline.
To increase the intensity and balance challenge, tap your right foot or elevate the knee as you stand to leave the curtsy lunge.
For 10–12 reps on the right side, repeat.
Rep on the other side, then do another set on each side.
Standing with your feet together, knees slightly flexed, and abs engaged, stand with your feet together, knees slightly flexed.
To hop to your left, push off with your right leg, allowing yourself to leave the floor in the process.
As you land on your left leg, cross your right leg behind you in a little curtsy lunge with your hips flexed forwards.
To finish the first full rep, return to the right side with a slight jump.
You can do these at a faster pace as a power move with a high cardio effect, or you can go slower and focus on range of motion. You’ll build your inner thighs, glutes, and abdominals in any case.
5. Side-lying adduction
Lie on one side on the floor with your top leg bent and dropped forwards, and if required, support your top leg with a yoga block or a cushion.
Extend your bottom leg as far as you can. As you lift and lower your bottom leg, keep your hips stacked and your abdominals engaged.
Perform 15–20 reps on one side before switching to the other and repeating. Perform two sets on each side.
Handling of soft tissue
The benefits of “fascia blasting” for fat loss are frequently promoted on social media platforms, with the premise that your fascia (wide bands of connective tissue that run throughout your body) leads to the appearance of fat on your body.
The “blasting” component of this equation entails purchasing a device and utilising it to massage fat and cellulite-prone parts of your body in an admittedly uncomfortable process.
Unfortunately, there has only been one study of this strategy, and it was both financed and carried out by the product’s producer.
According to the Better Business Bureau, there is a pattern of complaints.
While fascia blasting may have certain advantages, there is little proof that it is as effective as diet and exercise in sculpting toned thighs.
Last but not least
When it comes to changing our bodies, our genetic lot at birth, limits us to a considerable extent. Some of us are simply not designed to have a thigh gap, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve our appearance.
We can have beautiful strong legs of all shapes and sizes by shaping our muscles with strength training and staying thin with HIIT and cardio.