What Muscles Do Squats Work?

There are different variations of squats, including the barbell and jump squats. You can customize the squat based on your fitness level and fitness goals.

For example, the back squat with a barbell can help you strengthen and stabilize your:

  • hips
  • knees
  • upper and lower back
  • leg muscles

The sumo squat, on the other hand, can strengthen your inner thighs. The jump squat can increase your cardiovascular fitness and strengthen your glutes and thighs.

If you’re new to squats, you don’t need to squat down as far to still experience the strengthening benefits.

Jump squat

Muscles works: glutes, thighs, hips, legs

  1. Start by performing a basic squat following steps 1-3 above.
  2. When you reach the position where your thighs are almost parallel to the floor, keep your core engaged as you jump up.
  3. As you land, lower your body back into the squat position. The goal is to land softly mid-foot, with your trunk aligned slightly forward.
  4. Repeat for 10-12 reps, or do as many jump squats as you can in 30 seconds.

If you’re just beginning, start with a low jump. As you get more advanced, you can add a more explosive jump.

Barbell or back squat

Muscles worked: glutes, legs, hips, lower back

Equipment needed: barbell on a rack

  1. Start with the barbell on a rack, placed just below shoulder height.
  2. Move underneath the bar so it’s resting behind the top of your back, and grip the bar with your hands wider than shoulder-width distance apart, arms facing forward.
  3. Stand up to bring the bar off the rack. You may need to step back slightly.
  4. With your feet shoulder-width distance apart and chest up, squat down until your hips are below your knees.
  5. Press feet firmly into the ground, and push your hips back to stand up.
  6. Do 3-5 reps — depending on the weight of the bar and your fitness level — and then slowly step forward to replace the bar on the rack.

Sumo squat

Muscles worked: inner thighs, glutes

  1. Start by standing with your feet out wide and your toes pointing out.
  2. Keeping weight in your back heels, start to lower your hips and bend your knees into a wide squat. Go down until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Stand back up, squeezing your glutes at the top of the movement.
  4. Complete 10-20 reps. For more of a challenge, do as many sumo squats as you can in 30 or 60 seconds.

The Many Benefits of Squats and Lunges and What Muscles Are Targeted

Have you ever wondered what the benefits of squats and lunges are?

We’ve all heard that a couple of the most beneficial exercises to do are squats and lunges but why is that?

In today’s article, we’re going to be going over the major benefits of squats and lunges and also get into some details on each specific exercise.

Before you begin to do squats or lunges make sure your back is protected when you squat by using a high-quality weightlifting belt:

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Aside from that let’s dig into the details on the benefits of squats and lunges

The Benefits of Squats and Lunges

Squats and lunges are two incredibly effective exercises that offer numerous benefits.

The major benefits of squats and lunges are great at increasing overall strength, stabilization, and balance benefits as well.

  • Both are functional exercises that will improve your performance of natural, daily, movements
  • They will make you stronger
  • They burn fat: muscle burns fat and more muscle burns more fat
  • Help to maintain balance
  • Increase flexibility and improve range of motion through your hips, glutes, knees and ankles
  • Your buttocks will be strong and toned
  • Strengthens your core in addition to the muscles of the entire lower body
  • Both can be done in a variety of ways, great for all fitness levels
  • Adding a weighted bar or dumbbells will enhance the effectiveness of these movements
  • Versatile exercises that can be done anywhere, anytime, no special equipment needed

Lunges can help you improve your squats and squats can help you improve your lunges so they both work hand in hand.

One great benefit to the lunge is that the movement helps you “even out” muscle imbalances by improving your “weak” side so that it is up to par with your stronger side.

This can result in improved strength with your squats because you are able to eliminate the weaknesses that can hamper your progress.

Squats are a bilateral leg exercise which is best for building overall strength.

Related Article: Why You Should Do Squats

The increasing benefits of squats and lunges also allow you to target your glute muscles, and allow you to isolate and activate the glutes. Your buttocks will be much firmer and toner when you add these two movements to your repertoire.

Squats target the quadriceps and the glutes intensely, but also hit the hamstrings, calves and core.

How to do a Basic Squat the Right Way:

  1. Stand with your feet about hip distance apart. Point your feet forward or slightly out.
  2. Contract your abs as you keep your spine neutral.
  3. Don’t arch or round your back.
  4. Hinge at the hips to push your hips back. Keep your knees pointing forward, don’t let them collapse inwards.
  5. As you lower down into a squat, keep your abs engaged and spine neutral. Once your back arches or rounds, you’ve exceeded your ‘low point” and that’s as deep as you can squat and still maintain proper form.
  6. Hold for a count of 1-2 seconds, then drive through your heels to push your hips forward. Straighten your legs to return to the standing position.

Benefits of Squats:

If asked to choose one weight training exercise that will build overall lean muscle mass and increase strength, look no farther than squats.

For anyone who strength trains squats are the preferred exercise when maximum engagement of the muscles is the goal.

Squats work the thighs (quads, hamstrings, outer thighs), glutes, and core (abdominals and all the muscles that support your spine).

When you squat, you engage all your leg muscles to remain upright and balanced. Squats work a variety of major muscle groups simultaneously.

Related Article: How Many Squats Should You Do A Day

Squats will help work the posterior chain, those muscles of the lumbar, upper back, traps and neck.

A proper squat is a non-impact exercise, and won’t put any pressure on your joints or muscles in your lower body. This makes them safe for just about anyone to perform, even if you have weak knees, ankles, or are very overweight.

Spend 10 minutes doing squats with the correct form and you will target all the right areas with this one exercise.

Once you add squats to your routine you won’t have to spend time going back and forth between various leg-targeting machines at the gym.

It’s important to learn how to squat correctly.

Good form and technique is crucial for maximum benefit and to avoid injury. It’s not a difficult exercise but it might take some practice to master the correct form and positioning.

But once you do, the results are worth the time and effort.

Not only are they one of the best exercises for toning your legs and your backside, they are beneficial to other areas of your body as well.

And if you’re squatting at all you should protect your back by using a high quality weight lifting belt
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How to Lunge the Right Way:

  1. Stand with your upper body straight, your shoulders back and relaxed and chin up (pick a point in front of you to focus on). Always keep your core engaged.
  2. Place your hands at your side or put them on your hips
  3. Step forward with one leg, lowering your hips until both knees are bent at about a 90-degree angle.
  4. Make sure your front knee is directly above your ankle, not pushed out too far, and that your other knee doesn’t touch the floor.
  5. The heel of your back leg should be lifted off the floor as you squat.
  6. Pause for a few seconds in the lunge position before you push through your front foot to slowly return to the starting position.
  7. Keep the weight in your heels as you push back up to the starting position

When practicing lunges the right way, you can actually help strengthen and protect your knees.

Related: The Right Way to Do Squats and Lunges to Protect Your Knees

Benefits of lunges:

Lunges greatly increase your strength and flexibility. They focus on your calves, hamstrings, and all three of your glute muscles.

A certain amount of balance is needed for the correct form.

With lunges you will engage your lower back muscles and your abdominals to stay upright, so you will be working your core and various other muscles at the same time.

When lunging you have to work hard to keep your torso upright as you raise and lower your body.

By constantly working on your balance you will find that even normal daily activities can be done more easily. You will also see an improvement in your posture as well.

Lunges are a unilateral exercise and they train one side of your body separately from the other.

When working one leg at the time you draw upon your balance to react to changes in positioning more quickly.

Studies have found that lunges significantly activate the development of the gluteus medius.

Using weights when you lunge actually helps deload your spine.

Deloading is beneficial, it gives your spine a chance to rest and recover, especially necessary if you have been training for a while.

As an experienced lifter you can place greater compressional pressure on your spine as compared to a beginner.

Adding lunges to light leg workouts can give your spine some needed rest. The end result is possibly a more flexible spine.

Lunges are a great exercise for those who have serious back pain.

Lunges will help lessen back pain because they tone your core and legs. A stronger core and legs means those muscles will support you more, helping to take the strain off your back and providing it with more support.

Lunges can also strengthen your knees. They will help boost the support, strength and flexibility of the tendons around that area of your body.

When lunging, switching from the front to the side or back, will also change how your muscles are being activated, making them even stronger.

Conclusion for The Benefits of Squats and Lunges:

Both lunges and squats are great exercises and you will see benefits from performing each one. Both play a big role in developing the gluteus maximum.

By doing these exercises consistently you will gain flexibility, balance, coordination as well as stronger lower body muscles, stronger core muscles, great legs and a toned butt.

Since each exercise serves a purpose why not incorporate both? Add squats to some workouts and lunges to a different rotation so that there’s variety in your training program.

Adding new challenges to your workout routines ensures that you maintain your interest and hit the gym as often as possible!

Definitely don’t forget to check out our leather weightlifting belt to use while you squat:

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How-To: Holding dumbbells in each hand, step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower your torso toward the floor, making sure your front knee doesn’t pass your toes at the bottommost position. Stop just short of your rear knee touching the floor, then drive through the heel of your front foot while bringing your rear leg forward until you return to a standing position. Then step with the opposite leg into a lunge, repeating the pattern. Continue alternating down the floor. “The cues I utilize when teaching this movement are to always have your core engaged, with a neutral spine or slight lordosis (extension),” Flores says. “Most important, do not let the front knee turn in or out excessively.”

Erin Says: “I like this exercise as a finisher. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes, step evenly on both sides and keep your upper body tall.”

Bulgarian Split Squat

Did Bulgarian strength athletes really use this movement as a training cornerstone? The myths may not match the reality, but the name has stuck to what is, all in all, a pretty solid exercise. That is, if you tweak the common variation (shown here) as proposed by well-known Canadian strength coach Charles Poliquin. He contends that over-elevating the back leg — putting it on a flat bench or even higher — reduces the stability of the front leg, thus limiting your strength potential and putting you at risk for injury while also unnecessarily stressing the spine. His solution? The exercise that lands at No. 5 on our list, a split squat in which you elevate the back leg only 6 inches from the floor.

Main Areas Targeted: Quadriceps, glutes

Strengths: This move focuses on each leg individually, so you can pay full attention to each without a stronger leg compensating for a weaker one (as can happen on any bilateral exercise). In other words, any weaknesses in your strength or thigh development have nowhere to hide.

How-To: Holding a dumbbell in each hand, step forward with one foot and rest your rear foot on an elevated platform or bench, top of the foot facing down. Bend your front knee to lower yourself, making sure that knee doesn’t track out ahead of your toes. (If it does, take a longer step out from the platform.) When your knee joint forms at least a 90-degree angle, reverse the motion, driving through the heel of your forward foot to return to standing. Do not forcefully lock out the knee.

Erin Says: “This is a staple in my routine. Just like other unilateral exercises, start with your non-dominant leg. It’s always best to train weaknesses when you’re fresh.”

Hack Squat

While the barbell version of the hack squat — picking up a barbell placed behind you — is perfectly acceptable, especially for those training at home, the typical machine-based hack squat you find at most gyms is our choice here. That’s the one that’s plate-loaded and angles your body slightly backward. Within the confines of the machine, you’ll find a bit more safety than you would with the free-weight squat, which becomes more crucial as you tire during a workout. That means hacks are a great mid-workout option, serving as a bridge between squatting and other moves such as the leg press and lunge.

Main Areas Targeted: Quads and glutes primarily, hamstrings secondarily

Strengths: “This exercise is done in a weight-bearing functional position just like a standing squat,” Flores points out. “The hack squat machine also allows you to go a little heavier without sacrificing too much form as you would performing bar squats since your back is supported, which decreases the chance of injury. That’s important when the goal is to increase mass and strength.”

How-To: Step inside a hack squat machine, placing your shoulders and back against the pads. Set your feet at mid-platform just inside shoulder width, keeping your feet flat throughout the exercise. With your chest up and core tight, unhook the safeties and slowly lower yourself, stopping when your thighs are just past parallel to the platform. From here, powerfully press upward to the start position, keeping your knees bent slightly at the top to protect them from hyperextension. “When performing any squat movement, my cues are always to avoid any excessive internal or external rotation at the knees — think the ‘knock-knee’ position or knees and toes pointing out — along with keeping your knees about shoulder-width apart throughout the movement,” Flores instructs. “The weight should be felt in your heels, not your toes.”

Erin Says: “I use this primarily for targeting the quads. I put my feet high on the platform and keep them together. I’ll also perform partial reps at the top to get a good pump.”

Romanian Deadlift

The quadriceps muscle is a powerful, four-headed beast of a muscle group, and unless you develop hamstrings with enough strength of equal measure to balance out the quads, your knees will be forever prone to injury. Enter the Romanian deadlift, or RDL for short. This movement works the hamstrings from the hips, a necessary addition to a hams routine that might otherwise be dominated by variations of the leg curl (seated, lying and standing) that all work the muscle from the knee joint.

Main Areas Targeted: Hamstrings

Strengths: You may notice a pattern here — well, you should, at least — but like the other exercises on this list, the key to results with the Romanian deadlift is pinpoint form. Keep your back flat, core tight and the bar sliding along the front of your legs on the way up and down and you’ll build thick, impressive, protruding hamstrings. Allow your lower back to collapse and take on the load and you’ll help put a Ferrari in your chiropractor’s garage.

How-To: Stand upright holding a barbell in front of your upper thighs with an overhand grip. Place your feet shoulder-width apart and slightly bend your knees. With your chest up, arms straight and core tight to maintain the natural arch in your low back, lean forward from your hips, pushing them rearward until your torso is roughly parallel to the floor or until you feel a good stretch in your hamstrings. At the bottom, keep your back flat and head neutral. The bar should be very close to or in contact with your legs throughout. Flex your hamstrings and glutes to reverse the motion, bringing the bar back to the start position. “The movement should come from the hips extending — pushing your hips forward — not from extending the lower back,” Flores says. “In other words, don’t lead the lift with your chest, arms and back.”

Erin Says: “I tend to do these standing on a bumper plate or box, which gives me a better stretch. If you’re not as flexible, focus on lowering the weight and stop just before your back rounds. Always maintain a flat back and keep your shoulders square.”

Front Squat

As you already know, the barbell back squat is No. 1 on our list. But the exercise ranked runner-up is a close second in the eyes of many, especially those who like the idea of big, beefy quadriceps and the more direct line of resistance offered by moving the barbell to the front versus draping it across the upper back.

Main Areas Targeted:Emphasis on quads, plus glutes, hamstrings, calves and core

Strengths: “Both the barbell front and back squats are great exercises for increasing leg, back and core strength and for positively affecting anabolic metabolism,” says Dustin Kirchofner, certified strength and conditioning coach at Yuma United MMA and owner of Modern Warfare Fitness. “As for which is better, it depends on your posture, technique, previous injuries and personal preference. For example, if you lack proper shoulder external-rotation capability, then back squats might not be your best option. Due to your poor shoulder and thoracic spine mobility, you may have issues getting the bar racked and properly positioned across your back. In that case, front squats would quite possibly be a much better choice.”

How-To:Set the pegs in a power rack just at or below mid-chest, and place the safety bars at a level between your hips and knees. Step up to the bar, crossing your arms to build a shelf to cradle it at your front delts and upper chest. Keep your chest up, lower back and abs tight, and eyes forward as you step back into a shoulder-width stance. Bend your knees and hips as if sitting in a chair until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, then reverse direction by driving through your heels and pressing your hips forward to return to standing. “Keep your neck and back straight and elbows lifted high throughout the lift,” Kirchofner instructs. “Inhale to support the trunk and abdomen at the start of your descent, and keep your core and abdomen engaged to help minimize stress on your lower lumbar area.”

Erin Says: “If you have problems holding the bar in the clean position, try wrapping wrist wraps around the bar and holding onto the wraps. This will help you maintain bar placement.”

Barbell Squat

We know, ranking barbell back squats No. 1 here is about as surprising as a Donald Trump publicity stunt. But what else can we do? It’s not the reigning “king of exercises” for nothing. No single exercise is arguably as effective, not only for the intended lower-body target muscles but for all the muscles from your shoulders, chest and back down to your core, all of which fire to maintain your posture and balance as you rep.

Main Areas Targeted:Quadriceps, glutes, hamstrings, calves, core

Strengths:“You need strong legs from the ankles to the hips, and back squats work the lower-body prime movers, stabilizers and synergists,” Kirchofner explains. “The quadriceps and hamstrings are the major muscle groups that affect knee stability and motion. Quads come into play during the straightening of the knees, while hamstrings are directly related to the bending of the knees and the pushing action against the ground, such as in a short sprint. At the end of the day, squats are beneficial in developing muscular growth, strength and power, all while strengthening stabilizers and the core.”

How-To:Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart and hold a bar across your upper back. Your knees should be slightly bent and your toes turned out slightly. Keeping your head in a neutral position, abs tight and torso upright, bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit in a chair. Go as deep as you can handle, ideally to a point where your thighs come parallel to the floor or below while maintaining your natural lower-back arch, then forcefully drive through your heels and extend your hips and knees to return to a standing position.

Erin Says: “The benefit of free-weight exercises is the countless variations you can come up with. Experiment with bar placement on your back (high/low), foot placement (narrow/wide) and even with range of motion. I started doing rack squats, which target the top third of the movement. It allows me to go heavier and it mimics the range of motion used in jumping.”

Top 10 Exercises for Calves

For added deliberation, here are our picks for the top 10 calf exercises. We know what you’re thinking: “There are 10 calf exercises?” Yes. And they are not all created equal.

Start your calf routines with a movement that targets the more prominent gastrocnemius muscle (engaged when your knees are straight), followed by the smaller yet still important soleus muscle (engaged when your knees are bent). The rarely worked tibialis anterior is activated when the toes are higher than your heels and should usually be targeted last in a complete calf workout, although you can also do it on its own or sometimes shift the order for shock value. Training your tibialis ensures balance in your lower-leg musculature and further fortifies you against injury.

Champion Legs

The debate begins here. From the track to the Olympia stage, Erin Stern has drawn acclaim for her legs. We asked her about some of the foundational aspects of her training and what it takes to build the kind of lean, well-muscled pins that are just as adept at turning heads as they are at clearing the high jump bar. What she says about squats may surprise you…

What’s your favorite leg builder and why?

Right now, my favorite leg builder is the hex bar deadlift. I find that the bar helps me lift more weight and I can do more reps than I could with a traditional deadlift or a squat.

Do you like to train quads and hams on different days? Why or why not?

I have always taken a holistic approach to training. I’ll do two workouts per week for legs, but will instead focus on a heavy/athletic day and a light/aesthetic day. I think that too much isolation work can cause the physique to not “flow” as well.

Our list is 10 deep. Do you use a lot of variety in your leg routine, or is it better to stick to a few proven exercises?

I think it’s most important to develop a strong mind-muscle connection. This will help any lifter emphasize different muscles or parts of muscles when training. Those who are just starting out should stick to the basics until proper form, range of motion and targeting are mastered. Then add variety to break through plateaus and to hit the muscles from different angles.

Do you have a favorite intensity-boosting technique on leg day? If so, walk through it for us.

Push/pull supersets! An example would be pairing weighted step-ups (push) with Romanian deadlifts (pull). By training opposing muscle groups, you can keep your heart rate up. It also allows for an active recovery (quads rest while training hamstrings).

This article includes a few machines: the hack squat, glute-ham raise and leg press. Some purists prefer to have no machine work in their routine. What do you think?

In general I tend to avoid machines, but I do use the glute-ham machine. It’s effective for strengthening the posterior chain. That said, the hack squat can be awesome for building quads. I will sometimes do a few sets at the end of my workout, and I can go heavier than I could with free weights. The leg press? You won’t see me on it, personally. It tightens my hip flexors and hurts my lower back. Plus, I don’t want to pull out a calculator to find the cosine of the angle of the sled, multiplied by the weight added. I’ll stick to simple math!

In our list, back squat is No. 1 and front squat is No. 2. Do you agree with that assessment? Why or why not?

These are two staple lifts, and I relied on both when I was training for the Figure stage and for track and field. Now, with the goal of staying healthy and lean and looking good, I have to disagree. The squat compresses the spine and very few people can execute it correctly. This can lead to a host of problems from knee pain to back pain. If your goal is to compete in powerlifting, then yes, squats are paramount. Otherwise, I think there are smarter ways to stimulate leg growth.

Last Updated on August 30th, 2018

Skinny jeans, leggings, miniskirts won’t suit you at all if you have those heavy thighs. Show off this summer with full zest in the summer clothes with highly toned thighs.

But is it possible to get rid of those heavy thighs? Or would you be hiding them in your lose jeans or long shirts this time around as well?

Well, you are going to hear a variety of answers to these questions. If you hear someone tell you that some specific foods you are eating are causing your thighs to get bulkier, do not believe that at all.

There is no such food that directly adds fats to some part of your body. These are misconceptions that have traveled to us through our ancestors and are nothing but mere myths.

Thigh Workouts For Women – Introduction

When your body gains weight, on the whole, every part of the body gains weight equally. It depends on our physique and body structure that which part would get more prominent compared to the others.

It is important to know the details of the weight gain before we get to our topic of workouts for thighs. It’s all the game of calories.

A calorie is basically the unit to measure energy; Energy that is needed by the body to function properly and effectively.

When we consume any kind of food, our body breaks it up and converts it into calories which are further utilized by the whole body for functioning.

When we consume more food than that of the required amount, our body stores those extra calories into the body in the form of food to be later utilized for some functioning.

When this keeps on happening for a long time, the body eventually starts gaining weight.

So we conclude that when the body consumes calories, it needs to burn them as well and that happens when we move or work. When we don’t work to the required amount of work, we need to “workout”.

Although weight is not gained on targeted parts of the body; but the workouts could be targeted on those parts of the body, where we wish to lose weight.

It is possible because when we stress out a certain area of the body, the muscles of that area function more compared to the other parts of the body, resulting in burning the fat of that specific area to accomplish the workout and eventually loss of weight from that point.

Thigh workouts work on the same principle described above. Here in this article, you will find all about the weight gain on thighs and how to reduce them.

Practical Tips to Lose Thigh Fat:

Before we go to the discussion of thigh workouts, we need to know some basic tips to reduce the fat on thighs.

These are simple routine tips that will help you not only get toned and tight thighs but also have a toned body.

Since workout alone cannot help you lose weight and get in shape if you are not taking the controlled diet.

1. Get a Planner:

Technology has not deprived the weight loss of its blessings.

Today with a smartphone in your hand, you can get a thousand apps on phone to keep a record of things you eat, tell the number of calories in them and the right kind of workout for losing pounds.

So all you need is to download an app that counts your calories and start loading it with each and everything you eat all day.

At the end of the day, you would be surprised to find out how much you consumed compared to the amount you burned.

2. Set Realistic Goals:

Remember to be realistic in defining your goals, you cannot kill all those extra calories in just one workout, you took time to gain, you need time to lose.

Once you have gone through the calorie count tip, you will now have the proper knowledge of the extra calories you are taking.

Pick a workout that brings the result of consumed calories and burned calories to zero i.e.

Calories Consumed-Calories Burned (Workout, walks, diet, etc.) =Zero

3. Find a Partner:

One practical tip that can help you lose your extra fats is finding a partner to help you and to motivate you, once you find an energetic weight loss buddy, the process speeds up.

You enjoy everything you do together and to defeat each other. This healthy competition is promising for a healthier outcome.

4. Moderate Aerobics:

Other than the proper exercises for thighs, try adding moderate aerobic exercises to your daily routine. Set a specific time interval for aerobics each day and enjoy them by changing them each day.

For example, go for cycling in park one day and try morning walk the other day, try mowing the lawn or taking the dog on a walk, all these are referred as moderate aerobic exercises that keep your body burning well.

5. Proper Workout Routines:

Above all is the proper workout routine that you should follow for burning away all those extra fats.

There are a number effective thigh workouts that help you get toned and tight thighs, both inner and outer ones.

You just have to choose wisely and according to your capability to continue them daily.

6. Stay Consistent:

Last but the most effective tip is to stay consistent. Be it your controlled diet routine or your workout routine; you need to keep it going consistently.

Take breaks and rest days equally as they are a must to bring the body to relax and feel more energetic for next workout.

Having discussed the theory of weight gain and weight loss, let us move on to the workout routines that would play the helpful role in weight loss.

Top 5 Inner Thigh Exercises to Stay in Shape:

Here we have gathered the top five most effective exercises specifically for the inner thighs to get them toned.

1. Criss Cross Power Jacks:

This simple exercise directly engages your inner thighs to stretch and work and increases your heart beat rate as well.

All you have to do is to stand with your feet joined; then open up your feet with a little jump while taking your arms to your head and clap your hands above your head.

Now open the legs and bring right foot in front of the left one with a little jump again. Now repeat it for the left foot. Do these three steps with repetition.

2. Scissor Legs Plank:

For this exercise you have to get in the basic plank position and keep your legs apart, standing high on your wrists. Support your feet with a towel so they won’t slip on the floor.

Now start opening your legs slowly and keep opening them till you can. You will feel a good stretch in the inner thighs.

3. Frog Bend:

The next inner thigh exercise is called frog bend. As the name implies in this exercise you are required bend like a frog but lying on your back. This exercise is ideal in the time when you are short on time or traveling.

As this exercise does not require any equipment, it’s easy to go with. All you have to do is to lie on your back, hold your legs high in the air and slowly bend your legs towards you and then stretch them again. Keep repeating. Simple and easy.

4. Round The Room Frog Jumping:

One of the kids most favorite games it used to be, the frog leaps. It is the best exercise for thighs, and it pumps your heart at a really high rate, which causes the major calories to burn.

All you have to do is to stretch high your hand above your head and start leaping around the room. Jump up high and keep exhaling while coming back. This is one of the best cardio exercises as it involves all the body.

5. Squats:

Squats are classified as the best form of workout for the lower body, it does not only help reduce the thigh fat but it also helps tone up your hips and your calves.

All you have to do to perform a squat is to open your legs wide, arm relaxed on sides, now squat to your left and start flexing your right leg, pulling your arms in front of you while moving.

This completes your squat. Now do the same on your right side and keep repeating it in steps.

Remember to smile or laugh during your inner thigh workouts, it burns the calories and keeps you motivated to do the workout.

Top 5 Outer Thigh Workouts:

Having learned about the inner thigh workout, let’s move on to the outer thigh workouts. The outer thigh workouts or the hamstring workouts are not way too different from the inner thing workouts. Let’s start with the squats.

1. Squats with The Ball:

Squats, as told earlier are the best workout for the lower body. They give a tight and toned feel to the whole body. This time try the squats with the ball.

Place the ball at the wall on the height equal almost to your chest and press the ball with your back, hands on your sides. Open your legs and then bend down low till your legs can hold.

Then get up again and repeat the above step. Remember to stress your thighs a little in the beginning while you hold.

2. Cross Jacks:

This variation of jumping jacks which targets not only the outer thighs but inner thighs too.

This exercise is one of the most basic exercises that help in enhancing the metabolism and heartbeat, thus helping you burn more calories.

For this, you have to stand with your legs open wide, and your arms rose to your sides.

Now with each little jump, you will take, you will cross your arms in the opposite directions and your feet too would cross each other.

This is like jumping jack but both the feet and arms would cross.

3. Step Ups with a Chair:

For this simple exercise, you can use a sturdy chair. Make sure to pick one that won’t slide when you practice. Now put the chair in front of you, you can use some wooden steps or wooden boxed that are strong for this purpose.

Now very gently and firmly rest your right foot in the center of the chair and put pressure on it. Bring the left foot upwards towards you and bend the knee.

Now take the left foot back downwards and put it firmly on the floor. Keep repeating the steps in this sequence several times.

4. Side-lying Leg Lift:

For this exercise, you need to lie down on your side and put one hand under your head while the other one touches the floor from around your abs. Stretch both legs out placing each on the top of the other.

Now move the leg opposite of your hand lying on abs, move the leg up from knee and keep it high, then bring it back to the other knee. Repeat this for around 20 times for each leg.

5. Cycling:

Both kinds of cycling, static and nonstatic help tone up the thighs and give your legs a leaner look. You can go outside in some park to enjoy cycling there, closer to nature or you can pedal your static bike inside the house.

Choose the uphill motion of the static cycle and start pedaling. Once your legs get comfortable with friction and velocity, rise a level up of friction. This way you can burn more in the same amount of time.

We hope you found our tips and easy to do workouts helpful for losing your thigh fat.

10 of the best leg exercises you can do, according to experts

Kettlebells can be a useful tool when it comes to working on your leg muscles. iStock

  • A lot of leg exercises are compound movements that work your glutes, hamstrings, quads, and core.
  • You can train your legs using a variety of equipment including dumbbells and kettlebells.
  • Some leg exercises you may want to try include skater squats, kettlebell swings, and lateral squats.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

Performing exercises that target your legs and lower body can help you to improve your stability and strength.

And when it comes to starting to focus on performing lower-body strength exercises, Dr. Allen Conrad, BS, DC, CSCS, said it’s important to start by perfecting just a few, mastering the proper posture and form for each. By establishing proper form, Conrad told INSIDER that you can see better returns on your hard work and also reduce your risk of getting injured.

Here are 10 leg-targeting exercises you can do at home or at the gym, according to experts.

To perform walking, weighted lunges, you’ll need two dumbbells

For this move, Conrad said you’ll want to hold a dumbbell in each hand, ensuring they are weights you can easily lift.

Then, perform lunges. With one dumbbell in each hand and your arms lowered, step forward with one leg and lower your body until your rear knee nearly touches the floor. Your front thigh should be parallel to the ground. Next, step forward with your rear leg to perform the next repetition. Repeat as desired.

Performing skater squats can help you to tone your legs

While standing on your right leg, slightly raise your left leg off the floor. Then extend both arms in front of you to act as a counterbalance.

Lower your hips and bend your right knee and then lower your body as close to the ground as you can. As you lower your body, your back foot should slightly move back and skim the ground. Return to the standing position. Do repetitions as desired and then switch to raising your right leg while balancing on your left leg.

Conrad said you can hold light weights as you perform this move in order to make it more difficult.

Read More: 21 of the best ab exercises you can do, according to experts

Calf raises can help you to tone your calves

First, stand on a step or raised platform with just your toes touching the surface. Conrad said you’ll want to lower the rest of your foot down so the backs of your calves stretch. Then stand up on your toes and hold the position for a second. Be sure to keep your legs straightened as you perform this move. Repeat as desired.

Outer calf raises are quite similar to standard calf raises

Conrad said for this move you want to perform calf raises but keep your toes pointed about 10 degrees inward. By doing so, you will target the outer part of your calf muscles.

Kettlebell swings can target many parts of your body, including your glutes and hamstrings

Corey Grenz, a master trainer at Life Time Chanhassen, said that if you’re short on time, the kettlebell swing is probably one of the most effective exercises you can do. Since it is a dynamic movement, Grenz told INSIDER that it is technically a total-body exercise that will primarily target your glutes and hamstrings.

To try this move, place a kettlebell in front of you and hold it with both hands. Then, with your legs slightly spread, minimally bend your knees, hinge at your hips, and straighten your back.

While holding this position, in an explosive manner, quickly move the kettlebell backward, putting it between your legs. Again, in an explosive manner, move the kettlebell forward until it reaches shoulder height. Repeat these movements as desired.

Kettlebell goblet squats target your quads and glutes

Grenz said this alternative to a traditional squat will target your quads and glutes.

To try this move, use both hands to hold the kettlebell in front of your chest. Put your body in a sitting position, simultaneously bending your knees and hips until the tops of your thighs are parallel to the floor. To help you achieve this position, you may want to imagine that you are sitting on an invisible chair.

Extend your knees and hips upward until you are back to standing position. Repeat these steps as desired.

Performing full or kneeling side planks with leg lifts can help you to build up your core endurance

Geoff Tripp, CSCS, ACSM EP-C, CPT, and head of fitness at Trainiac said this move is great for hip stabilization, core endurance, and lateral hip strength.

First, get into a standard side-plank position by leaning with one forearm on the ground directly beneath your shoulder. Resting on this arm, raise your legs and prop yourself up so your body is in a straight line from your head to your toes.

Drive your hips off of the ground using your core muscles to support them. Using your glute muscles, lift your top leg up 6 inches to 10 inches into the air. As you do this, keep your hips raised. Slowly lower your raised leg to meet your other leg. Do as many repetitions as you’d like before performing this same movement on the other side of your body. Repeat as desired.

Split squats can help you stretch your legs

To do this move, get into a stationary lunge stance, placing one foot in front of you and one foot behind you. Then slowly lower your body downward, bending both of your knees at the same time. Without leaning forward, raise your body into a standing position. You should feel a stretch in your back leg and front quad as you stand.

To make this move more difficult, you can hold dumbbells as you perform it. Complete reps as desired, alternating which leg is in front of you and which is behind you.

You’ll want to use a kettlebell or pair of dumbbells to do single-leg Romanian deadlifts (RDLs)

For this move, you will hold a kettlebell or pair of dumbbells and stand on one leg while raising the other leg slightly off of the ground.

Hinge at your hips and extend your slightly raised leg back as you lower your body toward the ground. Maintain a slight bend in your working leg, keeping your opposite leg straight and your hips level. Raise your body up using your glute and the hamstring of your working leg. Complete reps with both legs as desired.

Lateral squats can help you build strength

For this move, take a large side step with each leg so you have both feet pointed straight ahead and your legs spread slightly apart. Slowly shift 70% of your body weight to one leg, bending the knee of that leg at the same time.

Push your hips back, sinking into a squat position, resting on one leg as you keep the opposite leg straight and pointed to the side. Drive off your working leg to return to your initial position and then switch sides, bending your other knee while keeping the opposite leg straight as you squat.

Having trouble sliding into those skinny jeans — despite your daily workout? The truth is, many exercise routines simply don’t include the key moves you need to truly target the often-troublesome area of the inner thighs. Fortunately, slimmer, sexier, whistle-worthy legs can be yours in only a week or two.

That’s right, to help you banish dreaded inner thigh bulge, we asked Jessica Smith, fitness guru and star of the “10 Minute Solution: Knockout Body” DVD series, to supply us with seven, simple fat-blasting moves and workouts for thinner thighs.

Little changes can bring big results. Sign up for our One Small Thing newsletter here

For best results, circuit through the following exercises (doing one move after the next without resting) four times a week, then finish up with 15 to 20 minutes of any cardio activity.

To turbocharge your fat-burning furnaces even more, reduce your daily diet by 500 calories. Try some of these healthy snack ideas for some tasty, waist-friendly food choices.

Simple exercises to strengthen your legs

Jan. 31, 201701:05

Slimming skaters

Start with your feet together, toes pointing forward, arms by your sides, with your head and neck straight ahead. To begin, take a wide “skate” step with your right foot to the right side, then drag your left foot toward it, reaching your left arm forward while bringing your right elbow back, as if you were skating.

Then, quickly change directions and repeat the movement on the opposite side. Repeat as many times as you can, alternating from left to right, for a total of one minute. This double-duty move not only tones and sculpts your inner thigh muscles, while you change directions quickly from side to side, it also burns off jiggly bulge.

Side-to-side plies

Look straight ahead and stand with your feet positioned about three feet apart. Your knees and toes should be pointing out at about 45 degrees and your hands should be resting on your hips. This four-count move starts with a simple ballet plie.

Bend your knees and lower your hips towards the ground as low as you can. Keep your shoulders stacked over your hips, your back straight and knees pointing out over your toes. Dip down into the plie and hold it for 30 seconds.

Slowly straighten your legs and slide your left heel into your right, squeezing your inner thighs together for a count of 30 seconds. Take a big step back out to the left and repeat plie, then slide right heel in.

That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 10 times.

Crescent kicks

Standing with feet hip-width apart, arms relaxed by your sides, look straight ahead. Step onto your left foot, brush your right leg forward off the floor and create a large circular sweep from left to right with your leg. Then step onto right foot, and repeat on the left. That’s one rep.

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Repeat this move 10 times. This kick tones and slims your inner thighs as you help control your leg through a circular range of motion, while also stretching your inner thigh muscles as you open your leg to the side.

Inner thigh attitude pulse

Stand on your left leg and lift your right leg a few inches off the ground, bending at the knee. Now turn your knee out to the side.

Bring right heel towards the ceiling and bring leg across the front of your body so that your right knee is past your left leg. Lower right leg towards the floor and lift it up as high as you can, keeping heel up.

That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 15 times on your right side, then 15 times on your left.

Towel squeeze bridge

Lie down on your back with your knees bent, feet flat on the floor, arms relaxed on the ground by your sides, looking straight ahead.

Place a folded hand towel between your knees. Squeeze your knees together into the towel to really activate your inner thighs, and lift hips off the floor, as high as you can, towards the ceiling. Hold for two counts, then lower down.

That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 15 times.

2 easy moves for strong legs

Feb. 28, 201701:03

Seated bent-knee

Sit with your hands pressed on the floor besides your hips. Your elbows should be slightly bent but not locked. Bend your knees in towards your body. Keep your knees touching and your toes pointed while looking straight ahead.

Then, lean slightly forward and contract your abdominals. Trace your toes on the floor and open your knees out to the sides, then draw your knees together until they touch.

That’s one rep. Repeat this exercise 20 times. This movement not only sculpts and shapes your inner thighs as you close your legs, but also tones your abdominals and hips as you maintain the move’s forward lean.


Lie on your back with your arms relaxed on the ground beside you. Slowly bend your knees in towards your chest, drawing your abs in.

Flex your feet and turn your knees out to the sides. Your heels should be touching. Now, press your legs out, widening them at a 45-degree angle.

With both legs extended and turned outward, squeeze the backs of your knees together (your inner thighs). Bend your knees back in, maintaining the same 45-degree line on the way back.

That’s one rep. Repeat this movement 15 times.

3 exercises for toned legs

Dec. 13, 201601:07

Butterfly stretch

To nix next-day soreness and increase flexibility, finish this routine with a relaxing stretch.

Start seated, with the bottoms of your feet sandwiched together and your knees relaxed, out to the sides while holding onto your ankles. Gently lean forward, lowering your chest towards your feet until you feel a deep stretch in your inner thighs. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then relax.

Note: Since this is a stretch, you only need to do this movement once.

A version of this story originally appeared in 2013.


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Ballet performers have some of the best legs in the world. We’re not even kidding. They’re the perfect blend of flexibility, strength, power, and beauty that normal human beings can only dream about. Well, your dream is about to come true.

Each and every leg movement in a ballet performance is designed to look like poetry in motion. These men and women perform these movements with such grace and skill that it looks effortless. In reality however, it takes a lot of hard work and sweat to get their legs to the point that it can look effortless.

What you may being wondering is “OK, what’s their secret then?” The answer is that there is no secret. Ballet dancers get those amazing legs by performing ballet. Ballet-inspired exercises help sculpt every major muscle in the legs and we’re here to show you how!

We’ve gone inside the world of a ballet dancer to show you how all those movements and positions contribute to getting perfect legs. Before we show you though, you first have to know a few different ballet starting positions.

Now, you’re ready to start sculpting! With these insights as your guide, perfect ballet legs can be yours.


Inner Thigh Lift

There are very few exercises that are designed to isolate the inner thigh, but a standard ballet thigh lift is one of them. This movement is great because while one thigh muscle is being worked, the other is getting stretched like you see above.

As you get down into your position, make sure that you are fully extending your leg and that you’re tightening your core. While raising your leg, focus on keeping your knee as straight as possible. Also, make sure you are keeping your toe pointed.

Outer Thigh Lift

Now that you’ve worked your inner thigh, it’s time for you to hit the other side and work your outer thigh. This exercise may look simple, but we promise you that your thighs will be burning by the time you’re done. Again, there are a few things that you have to remember if you want to get the most out of the movement.

First, you have to keep your leg straight. If you don’t, you won’t get as much out of the movement. Second, keep your toe pointed. It will keep you in a ballet mindset. It’s easy to get lazy with this movement, but if you focus on keeping everything straight and your core tight, you’ll be just fine.

Rond de Jambe Par Terre

You’ve hit both sides of your thigh, now it’s time to bring everything full circle. Well, not full circle, more like half. A “rond de jambe” means that you are bringing your leg around. “Par terre” means on the ground. So in this movement, you are bringing your leg around and on the ground.

Start with your feet in first position, extend the pointed toe out in front of you and bring it around behind you. Always make sure that your toe stays pointed and that it’s always touching the ground. If keeping your leg straight was important for the first two movements, it’s even more important for this one. Without a straight leg, your thigh muscles won’t get worked very hard.


Grand Plié (1st Position)

Let’s see. Is there a single movement that combines focused flexibility, precision strength and perfect posture all in one? Yes, and it’s called a grande plié. The key to this movement is to not do it too fast. Slow, concentrated pliés will have your quads screaming for mercy by the time you’re through with your workout.

Start in first position and make sure your toes don’t leave their mark. As you squat, keep your back straight and press your knees outward. Your heel will naturally rise to allow for the movement, which will also work your balancing skills.

Parallel Plié

This is another quad screamer. All of us have a tendency to put more weight on our dominant leg when we squat. As a result, one leg tends to get stronger than the other. Parallel pliés eliminate that tendency. All your weight is focused on one leg at a time, making everything balance out. Ballet dancers do these so that they can have just as much power on one leg as they do on the other.

As you perform the movement, focus on keeping your foot flat on the box and make sure your knee extends over your toe. Again, keep your core tight and your head up. In addition to your quads getting worked, parallel pliés will also help perfect your balance.

Plié Pulses

Plié pulses will definitely get your pulse pumping (wow, say that five times fast). This movement will test the strength and endurance of your quads like no other exercise can. If you aren’t comfortable with your flexibility yet, this will make you comfortable really quick.

Start the exercise in second position and make sure your feet stay flat to the ground. As you squat, push your knees outward. The key thing to remember is to not come all the way up when you squat. Stay in a flexed position going from 90 degrees, to 120 degrees and back down to 90 degrees. That constant state of flex is what makes plié pulses so hard yet effective.


Relevé (1st Position)

Like every well built house needs a solid foundation, every ballet dancer’s leg needs a strong calf muscle. Your calf muscle is really two muscles, one in the back of the leg (the gastrocnemius) and one in the front of the leg (the soleus). This first position relevé works the back part of the calf.

From first position, slowly bring your heels up to the point where you are standing on the balls of your feet. Hold that position for a few seconds and then slowly come back down. Make sure that your toes don’t leave their mark throughout the entire movement.

Relevé (2nd Position)

This second position relevé places more emphasis on the front part of your calf. Ever had a shin splint? Many athletes have. It sounds like your shin bone is breaking, but it’s actually the front part of your calf muscle getting over strained. Unfortunately, that part of your calf doesn’t get worked out too often. But with this movement, it will.

Many of the same factors from the first position relevé apply here. Make sure your toes stay on their mark and that your legs and back are straight. The wider start from the second position is what allows you to focus on your front calf muscle. Just a small angle change can make a huge difference.

Ballet Calf Raises

Just like you tend to put more weight on one leg when you squat, you tend to put more weight on one calf during calf raises. This isolated ballet calf raise can help balance that inequality out. Balance is another key component to this movement so make sure you’re comfortable before you try it.

Bring one leg to the end position of rond de jambe but lift your tow about six inches off the ground. On the other leg, slowly bring your heel up to the point where you are standing on the ball of your foot. Again, slow movements are what make this movement so effective so don’t go too fast.


Attitude derrière

Your hamstrings are hard to isolate. Think of your hamstrings as the ultimate reserve muscle. Just like reserve troops in an army are used wherever they are needed, your hamstrings distribute their power to other leg muscles whenever they are needed. However, an attitude derrière is one way you can specifically target your hamstring.

With both hands on the barre for balance, bring one leg up, behind, and slightly away from you. Remember, the slightly away part. Bringing your leg straight back won’t isolate your hamstring. While keeping the leg flexed and toe pointed, bring your toe up and down with your hip. The weight of your leg will then be focused on your hamstring.


A reverence is essentially a bow at the end of a ballet performance. How many other athletes can say that even their crowd acknowledgement is a legitimate workout? Not many. This may look like it’s more of an exercise for your quad, but your hamstring plays a vital role in the movement.

From fourth position, extent your back leg and point your back toe. Slowly start the squat with your front leg until your back knee lightly touches the ground. Then slowly come back up using your back leg and toe for support throughout the whole movement.

Battement derrière

Your hamstring is the bicep muscle of the leg. The only way to work out a bicep is to curl it or keep it flexed. A battement derrière is the perfect combination of both.

Starting from first position and holding onto the barre for stability, extend one leg back behind you. Make sure you keep the extended leg straight and that your toe remains pointed. Remember, at all times, keep your back straight and your head up so that your posture remains intact. Nothing should move but your leg.


Standing Arabesques

The booty. Let’s face it, our culture is obsessed with it. It just so happens that ballet dancers are obsessed with it too. Only for them, the glutes are an important tool to help maintain balance. A standing arabesque is a great way for you to give your butt a workout and put it on display at the same time.

From third position, slowly bring your front leg up, running your heel up your leg as far as it will go until you’re forced to extend it behind you. Focus on trying to keep your head up and in the same place as you extend your leg behind you, keeping your toe pointed at all times.

Arabesque Extensions

Your hip and glutes are closely aligned in almost everything they do. A kneeling arabesque extension is a great way for you to use your hip flexor to help work the middle part of your glute. It may look a little Jane Fonda-ish, but it really does work.

From a kneeling position being supported by your hands, bring your leg up to a straight position making sure that your toe remains pointed at all times. Be careful not to bring your knee to your chest when you come back down. Controlled movements are the key to getting the most out of this exercise.

Attitude Scoops

You’ve flexed your glute and hip muscles together. Now it’s time to completely isolate your glute. An attitude scoop is a great way to build up your glute muscles so that your butt develops that nice round shape we all like.

From the same kneeling position as before, bring one leg up making a 90 degree angle with your calf and hamstring. Point your toe and push it upwards to turn that 90 degrees into 120 degrees. Then, bring it back down to 90 degrees. Keep your back straight and head up, and you’ll definitely feel the burn.

There you have it! Now you know a few tricks to get more out of your barre workout. Want the ultimate ballet dancer leg challenge? Do all 15 of these movements and exercises 10 times each for three sets. Giving all 15 their individual 10 repetitions one time will equal one set.

Good luck and keep on dancing!

Leg and thigh exercise

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