Move over squats! Try these exercises to strengthen your thigh muscles
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 21, 2023
Are squats the first exercise that comes to mind when you think about working out your legs? Squats are often recommended for toning and strengthening thigh muscles. But if you’re tired of doing squats or simply looking for alternative exercises that can yield similar results, it’s time to mix things up.
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We reached out to fitness expert Aminder Singh to get insights on effective exercises for toning thigh muscles, aside from squats.
Does exercise help you lose thigh fat?
According to Singh, the primary goal of exercise is to strengthen muscles, not to lose fat. Fat loss is primarily achieved through cardio exercises. Striking a balance between muscle strengthening and fat-burning cardio is key. Singh says, “The oxidation process that occurs during exercise lowers overall nutrition levels in the body, resulting in fat loss. There is no one exercise that specifically targets thigh fat.”
Understanding the lower body muscles
When it comes to exercises that target thigh fat, it’s crucial to understand the various lower body muscles. Singh explains that the front part of the thigh, known as the quadriceps, is made up of four muscles. Opposite the quads, there are three muscles that compose the hamstring muscle group. The glute muscles around the hips are also large and powerful.
Moreover, there are two muscles below the knee: the calf muscle at the back of the leg and the interior tibialis muscle at the front. Each of these muscles plays a role in different leg movements.
Different exercises target specific muscles. For example, squats primarily work the glute muscles. Thus, by incorporating different exercises, you can focus on toning different muscle groups. Progressing from beginner to intermediate to advanced exercises is also essential.
Best exercises to lose thigh fat
If you’re ready to explore exercises beyond squats, here are some recommendations from the fitness expert:
1. Leg extension
Using a lever machine, leg extensions specifically target the front quadriceps muscles. This exercise is excellent for building lower body strength and toning the muscles.
Deadlifts engage both the knee and hip joints. When performing this exercise, the body bends forward, shifting the load to the hip. As a result, deadlifts primarily target the hip muscles and hamstrings.
3. Romanian deadlift
The Romanian deadlift is a variation of the traditional deadlift. This exercise primarily focuses on strengthening the posterior muscles, including the gluteus maximus, hamstrings, and adductors. In addition to working the lower body, it also helps strengthen the core.
4. Hip thrust
Hip thrusts are considered one of the best exercises for targeting the gluteus maximus, which is the largest muscle in the body. This exercise also engages the adductors, quadriceps, and hamstrings. By prioritizing the strengthening of this muscle, you can enhance the size, strength, and power of your entire lower body.
5. Standing hip abduction
Standing hip abduction exercises are ideal for working the hip abductors, which involve the hip flexors and extensors. This exercise promotes hip mobility and improves core stability.
While these exercises can be beneficial for toning thigh muscles, it’s crucial to consult a fitness instructor before incorporating new exercises into your fitness routine. They can provide personalized guidance based on your individual needs and goals.