Your thighs -- the meaty portion sitting atop your femur on the front of your legs -- consist of three muscle groups. When in use, these groups -- the hamstrings, adductors and quadriceps -- are responsible for extending and flexing your legs. They help your walk, stomp and run. Exercises to strengthen the quadriceps, the front part of your thigh, will help improve your ability to walk, run and balance your body while upright.
Lunges will tighten your quads, cinch the hamstrings and boost your glutes, giving you a pleasantly rounded bottom. Start this move in a standing position with your legs shoulder-width apart. Step forward with your left foot and lunge forward until the left knee forms a 90-degree angle. Don't let your knee extend over your second toe; if it has, you've lunged too far. Lower your right knee until your right thigh is parallel to the floor. Return to your beginning position and repeat the lunge. Once your leg becomes fatigued, switch legs and repeat the lunge on the opposite side.
Forward Linear Jumps
Work your quads with forward linear jumps. These quick jumps target your delts, glutes and quads, while even strengthening your lats, pecs and triceps. Begin with your arms at your sides, your feet hip-width apart and your shoulders down. Tighten your abs to protect your back. Straighten your arms and reach them behind you. Bend your hips down into a squatted position, keeping your back straight and face looking forward. With force, spring up and forward, propelling your body through the air. Land with your feet together, quickly returning to the pre-jump position. Landing with a straight leg can result in injury. Continue jumping, pausing briefly between jumps, until fatigued.
Exercise Ball Squats
Tighten your quads and get thinner legs with exercise ball squats. To do this exercise, stand next to wall and place the exercise ball between your back and the wall. Place your feet at shoulder-width apart and bend your knees. Squat down and lower your bottom 5 to 10 inches from the floor. Hold the squat for three seconds before standing. Begin this exercise with a set of 12 repetitions with a 30-second rest between sets. Continue doing repetitions until your thigh muscles become fatigued.
A Pilate’s move, single-leg circles will burn the front of your thighs while aiding in stabilizing your pelvic muscles. To do these, lie down on a mat with your palms up and you arms at your sides. Stretch your legs out and bring your right foot up, pointing your toes as you extend the leg. Slightly rotate your right leg out as you inhale, and begin making circles with your leg. Keep your hips still, being careful not to lift it from the floor. Make five full clockwise circles, and then repeat in a counter-clockwise direction. Switch to your left leg and repeat.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.