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How to Tighten Up the Thighs and Calves

author image Nicole Hogan-Jenkins
Nicole Hogan-Jenkins began writing professionally in 2010. She is a certified personal trainer, sports nutrition specialist, fitness business owner and competitive fitness athlete. Hogan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Indiana University.
How to Tighten Up the Thighs and Calves
Man doing leg press at the gym. Photo Credit ajkkafe/iStock/Getty Images

Having a little extra jiggle in your lower body can cause self-consciousness about showing off your legs. It may be tempting to do a leg lifts and lunges in hopes of leaner legs, but it is not possible to spot reduce fat. Losing lower body fat requires decreasing your total body fat percentage. Including targeted leg workouts in your full body workout routine will help you tighten up and slim down your thighs and calves.

Step 1

Engage in total body strength training workouts two days per week to increase lean muscle all over your body. Include exercises to target each major muscle group. Perform exercises such as bent-over dumbbell rows for back, pushups for chest, stability ball crunches for abs, triceps overhead press, barbell curls for biceps, squats for legs and lateral raises for shoulders. Perform each exercise for one set of 20 repetitions. Rotate through the circuit of exercises three times. Use weights that are heavy enough to push your muscles to failure by the last few repetitions of each exercise.

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Step 2

Perform two lower body workouts twice per week to tone the thighs, butt and calves. Incorporate a combination of compound exercises that work multiple muscles at the same time and isolated exercises that target one specific muscle group. Execute compound exercises such as leg presses, lunges and dumbbell squats to recruit the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and calves. Perform isolated exercises such as leg extensions for quadriceps, hamstring curls and standing calf raises.

Step 3

Participate in high-intensity interval training or HIIT cardio three to four days per week to melt stored body fat. Run on the treadmill for 30 seconds and walk for 60 seconds to recover, or sprint on the stationary bike for 30 seconds at a low resistance level and pedal at a slower pace with a high resistance level for 60 seconds. At a minimum, allow 24 hours of rest between HIIT workouts.

Step 4

Eat healthy foods to help you lose body fat. Consume all-natural low-fat foods such as skinless poultry, lean cuts of beef, coldwater fish, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy. Stay away from processed foods, especially those advertised as “healthy,” which contain large amounts of chemical sweeteners, preservatives, sodium and fats that may contribute to fat storage.

Step 5

Have your body fat checked by a fitness professional on a monthly basis. Record your results to track your progress from month to month.

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