Exercises to Burn Off Upper Thigh Fat

by Joelle Dedalus, Demand Media
    A regular strength-training program can help you get those thighs in shape.

    A regular strength-training program can help you get those thighs in shape.

    Over-sized or flabby thighs can be a constant source of anxiety for many women. If you want to impress your date in that short skirt, you may need to begin a new fitness regimen that focuses of burning fat off your thighs. While spot reduction is never any option, you can focus your strength training on the muscles that make up your thighs for a more toned and conditioned look. These exercises, combined with a healthy diet and supplemented with some regular cardio, will help you lose that flab for your next big date.

    The Muscles

    Your thigh is actually composed of a few different muscles groups. Your hamstrings are at the back of your upper leg, your quadriceps are in the front and the adductor muscles are on the inside of your upper leg. While the adductors work to pull the leg in toward your middle, the hamstrings and quads are what flex and extend your leg. All of these muscles should be the focus of your new fitness program.

    Inner and Outer Thigh Lift

    Thigh lifts are a strengthening and toning exercise often used in Pilates routines. To give your adductor muscles a workout, lie down on your right side. Extend your right arm out above your head on the floor. Bend your left leg at the knee, placing your left foot on the floor in front of your right leg. Lift your right leg off the ground a few inches. Lower and repeat for eight to 12 reps on each side. To then work your outer thigh, begin again on your right side, propping up your head with your right hand. Raise your left leg as high as you can in a slow, controlled motion. Hold it in the contracted position for a moment before lowering. Repeat for eight to 12 reps for both legs.

    Lunges

    Lunges tend to work your quads the most, but you will feel the burn in your hamstrings and glutes as well. Stand up straight and take a step forward with your right leg, lowering your hips and bending at the knee to a 90-degree angle. Your left knee should also be bent at a 90-degree angle, without touching the floor. Push yourself back to a standing position, then go down on your other leg. Repeat eight to 12 reps on each side. For an additional challenge, try lunges with weights in your hands.

    Barbell Squats

    To specifically target your quads while also giving your hamstrings a workout, try the barbell squat. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and grip the bar with your hands lined up with your elbows. The barbell should be placed high on your back and your shoulder blades can be used to keep it in place. Once you are in position, slowly lower your body and bend your knees, sitting back with your calves parallel to the wall. Slowly stand back up, but don't lock your knees. Repeat for eight to 12 reps.

    Diet and Cardio

    In addition to toning the muscles in your thighs, you will need to watch your diet if you expect to cut the flab. Don't be pulled in by fad diets that promise quick results through fasting or purging. Instead, skip the sugary snacks and eat balanced meals full of the nutrients your body needs. Include cardio exercise on the days you aren't practicing your strength-training routine. Cardio works your heart and lungs and will help you burn calories and lose fat all over your body, including those thighs.

    About the Author

    Joelle Dedalus began writing professionally for websites such as PugetSoundMagazine.com in 2009. She received her B.A. in English education at Iowa State University and is currently a M.F.A. candidate in creative nonfiction writing at Emerson College in Boston, where she is developing a manuscript on literary travel. Her areas of expertise include travel and literature, the outdoors and the arts.

    Photo Credits

    • NA/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images