How to Tone the Front of the Legs Above the Knee

Get ready for bikini season with thigh-toning plyometric exercises.
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The quadriceps are the muscles that run along the front of the thigh, connecting the knee to the hip, according to "Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training." The quadriceps are one of the largest muscle groups in the body and are responsible for knee extension and hip flexion. Bodyweight conditioning exercises that rely on resistance and proper form will help to tone and strengthen your quadriceps muscles. If you find that bodyweight exercises are too simple, increase the intensity of each exercise by holding freeweights.

Forward Lunge

    Stand with both feet together with a straight spine. Draw the belly button in toward your spine to engage the core muscles.

    Take a large step forward with your right foot and bend your right knee. Position the right knee directly over the right ankle, with your thigh parallel to the floor.

    Bend your left knee so it is hovering a few inches above the floor, but not touching the floor.

    Push off with your right heel and straighten your legs back to a standing position.

    Perform 15 to 20 repetitions on each leg.

Bodyweight Squat

    Place your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart. Turn your toes out slightly.

    Engage your core muscles, and keep your chest and head lifted throughout the entire exercise.

    Bend your knees, and lower your buttocks back and down, as if you were about to sit on a chair.

    Position your knees directly over your ankles, but do not let them shift past your ankles. Aim for sitting back with your buttocks deeply so that your thighs are parallel to the floor.

    Press your heels into the floor and straighten yourself back to a standing position. Practice 15 to 20 repetitions.

Warrior I

    Stand up tall with your feet together and your core muscles engaged.

    Step back 3 feet with your right foot and turn your right toes out to a 45-degree angle.

    Bend your left knee to a 90-degree angle and your thigh parallel to the floor. Keep the left knee directly over the ankle. Shift the left knee slightly to the left to combat the tendency of the knee to roll in toward the midline.

    Point the hips and torso straight forward as you raise both arms toward the sky, palms facing each other.

    Stay in this position for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.

Plyometric Jump Squat

    Stand with your legs slightly wider than hip-width apart and engage your core muscles. Keep your head and chest lifted throughout.

    Bend your knees and shift your hips back and down, as if you were about to sit on a chair.

    Press through your heels and jump as high as you can, straightening your legs as you lift away from the floor.

    Land lightly on both feet and immediately bend the knees and return to the deep squatting position.

    Perform as many repetitions of this exercise as possible until your muscles are fatigued and you can no longer keep good form.


    • Perform two to three sets of each exercise.

      Combine conditioning exercises with at least 150 minutes of regular cardiovascular exercise per week and a healthy diet to see the best results.


    • Speak to your doctor before performing any of bodyweight conditioning exercises, especially if you suffer from arthritis, chronic knee or hip pain or are obese.

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