What wouldn’t you give for an exercise machine that provides strong, sleek thighs? If that’s what you seek, then this is one of those good news/bad news scenarios. The bad news is that no machine can spot-reduce fat from your thighs alone. The good news is that a healthy diet combined with thigh exercise can help you create the toned look you desire. You’ll find plenty of machines at your local gym or health club that’ll do the job.
Leg Extension/Curl Machine
The combination leg extension/curl machine is a handy device that lets you hit both the quads in the front of each thigh and the hamstrings in the backs of your thighs. Shift the resistance pad to a lower position, slip your ankles behind the pad and push it up to perform leg extensions, which tone your quads. To work your hamstrings, move the resistance pad to a higher position, set your feet on top and push down to do curls.
The leg press machine typically works your quads, although you can adjust your feet to work different parts of your thighs. You typically set your feet flat and about shoulder-width apart on the lower or middle part of the resistance plate, then push the plate forward, to focus on your quads. Spread your feet a bit wider to emphasis the inner quads, or place your feet closer to hit the quads toward the outsides of your thighs. Pointing your toes to the sides, rather than straight up, gives your quads, hamstrings and hip adductors a good all-around workout.
Hip Adductor/Abductor Machines
You can work the hip adductors on the insides of each thigh, and the abductors on the upper, outer parts of your thighs, by using a pair of similar machines. Sit in the adduction machine with your legs spread, then squeeze your legs together by pushing against the resistance pads. Move in the opposite direction to work your abductors. Begin with your legs together, then push against the resistance pads sitting on the outside of each leg.
Cable machines with low pulleys can help you work your thighs from front to back and top to bottom. Turn one shoulder to the machine, attach the cable to a cuff around your outside ankle, then swing your leg laterally to work your abductors. Secure the cable to your inside ankle to tone your adductors. Turn your back to the machine to perform leg extensions. Lie on a bench facing away from the machine and curl your ankles upward to work your hamstrings. You can also replicate thigh exercises such as deadlifts, squats and lunges using cable machines.
Warming up before using weight machines is just as important as warming up before any type of exercise. First perform five to 10 minutes of light cardio activity. Then perform dynamic stretches, such as leg kicks and swings, or running with high knees. Consult your physician before you begin any exercise program, particularly if you’ve been inactive or have any health problems. Stop performing a thigh exercise if it causes you pain.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.