Strong and mobile thighs are necessary for many sports and daily activities. Like members of a rock band, they work with other hip and leg muscles to perform many movement patterns, like sprinting, jumping, squatting and kicking. Although you can isolate your thigh by doing leg extensions to get it bigger and stronger, it doesn't get your whole body stronger or help you move better. If you want get stronger and burn more calories in less time, do full-body exercises that work multiple body parts together, suggests "IDEA Fitness Journal." Emphasizing your legs in your workout will also target your thighs.
Stand with your feet about shoulder-distance apart, and hold a 15-pound dumbbell over your shoulders in each hand. Keep your elbows close to your body.
Inhale while you squat as low as you can while keeping your chest up. Do not hunch your back.
Exhale while you stand straight up. Perform two to three sets of eight to 12 reps.
Front and Back Lunges
Stand with your feet together, with your hands near your stomach as if you were holding a soccer ball to keep your upper body centered. Step forward about two feet in front of you with your right foot.
Lunge down until your left knee gently touches the ground. Keep your chest and head up. Exhale as you push yourself back to the standing position.
Step back about two feet behind you with your right foot, and lunge straight down until your right knee gently touches the ground.
Exhale as you stand up and step forward to the standing position. Do two to three sets of eight to 10 reps per leg.
Stack a set of steps to about as high as your knees. Put your left foot on top of the step with your left heel hanging over the step a little bit.
Swing your arms over your head as you jump straight up. Switch your leg position in midair so you land with your right foot on top of the step and your left foot on the ground.
Land gently on the balls of your feet and quickly jump straight up again. Do two to three sets of 10 to 20 reps total.
Stack a set of aerobic steps between two to three feet high. Stand in front of the steps with your feet about hip-distance apart.
Jump on top of the steps and land in the same feet position on the balls of your feet. Do not hunch your back.
Jump forward immediately and land gently with your feet about hip-distance apart. Turn around and repeat the exercise as fast as you can for two to three sets of eight to 10 reps.
- Athletic Body in Balance; Gray Cook
- National Strength and Conditioning Association: Introduction to Plyometrics
- IDEA Fitness Journal: Creative Total-Body Exercises
- Be sure to stretch your thighs, hip flexors and other leg and hip muscles after your workout to relieve tension. Use a foam roller to roll on your thighs gently if needed.
- Plyometric training can be taxing and very challenging if you've never done it. Consider working with a qualified fitness trainer before trying these exercises yourself.
Nick Ng has been writing fitness articles since 2003, focusing on injury prevention and exercise strategies. He has covered health for "MiaBella" magazine. Ng received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from San Diego State University in 2001 and has been a certified fitness coach with the National Academy of Sports Medicine since 2002.