Say you want bigger thighs and most people will look at you like you’re crazy. Let them look; you know that having bigger thighs doesn’t mean gaining a ton of weight or adding unhealthy fat to your body. Building muscle in your quadriceps and hamstrings, the two main muscle groups in the thighs, increases the size of your upper leg while also allowing you to be stronger and more powerful while running or playing sports. No thunder thighs for you -- just beauty, brawn and legs to die for.
Warm up by walking or jogging slowly on the treadmill for at least five minutes. Gradually increase the pace as your muscles warm and the muscle fibers become activated. Include a similar cool-down session, for five minutes, at the end of your treadmill session.
Walk or run uphill by setting the treadmill to an incline. A greater amount of muscle fibers are activated when moving up hill, which means your muscles will fatigue faster. Increase the incline level gradually, every minute for walking and every two minutes for running, until you're at your maximum desired grade. Runner’s World recommends running one to two minutes slower than your normal running pace. Use small, short steps. Start with a short duration of time if you are new to hills, such as three to five minutes; gradually increase the time as you become stronger.
Perform walking lunges to strengthen and increase the size of your quadriceps and hamstrings. Set the treadmill to a slow to moderate walking pace. Hold onto the railings for support and safety. Step the right foot forward by 2 to 3 feet. Bend your right knee to 90 degrees, keeping the knee over your right ankle. Lower the left knee until it is hovering just above the treadmill belt. Push through both feet to stand up. Step the left foot forward immediately to execute the next lunge. Continue the pattern for a specific period of time, such as two or five minutes.
Incorporate both endurance and sprinting sessions into your weekly treadmill running workouts. Sprinting activates your fast-twitch muscles, whereas slower, longer runs use the slow-twitch muscles; including both paces in a weekly workout schedule allows you to maximize the muscle growth and development in your thighs. Perform eight sprints lasting at least 30 seconds on the treadmill, running as fast as you are able while maintaining proper form; recover by slowing the treadmill down and walking or light jogging for one to two minutes between sprints. Aim for at least one 25- to 30-minute endurance run per week, running at a pace that allows you to meet your time goal while maintaining correct form. Allow at least one full day’s rest between the sprinting and endurance workouts.
Insert intervals into your treadmill workout. Your muscles have to constantly adapt during intervals, which helps them to fatigue. Intervals can be executed in a walk-and-run format or a jog-and-run style. They are also beneficial for building cardiovascular endurance and strength if you're new to running. After warming up for five to 10 minutes, increase the speed of the treadmill to a fast pace, or an exertion level of seven or eight on a scale from one to 10, for 30 seconds. Slow the speed to a moderate walking or jogging pace, or an exertion level of four, for one to two minutes. Increase the speed again for 30 to 60 seconds. Continue this pattern for 30 to 60 minutes.
Stretch your thighs, calves, ankles and glutes after your treadmill session. Use slow movements and avoid forcing your muscles to stretch beyond their ability.
- Consult with a physician before starting a new running or workout program. Tell your doctor of any recent injuries or chronic medical conditions that may be affected by a treadmill workout.
Beth Rifkin has been writing health- and fitness-related articles since 2005. Her bylines include "Tennis Life," "Ms. Fitness," "Triathlon Magazine," "Inside Tennis" and others. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Temple University.