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Do Lunges & Squats Make Your Thighs Smaller?

author image Kim Nunley
Kim Nunley has been screenwriting and working as an online health and fitness writer since 2005. She’s had multiple short screenplays produced and her feature scripts have placed at the Austin Film Festival. Prior to writing full-time, she worked as a strength coach, athletic coach and college instructor. She holds a master's degree in kinesiology from California State University, Fullerton.
Do Lunges & Squats Make Your Thighs Smaller?
To make your thighs smaller, you want to incorporate exercise that burns calories and helps you lower your fat. Photo Credit Andrey Devyatov/iStock/Getty Images

Lunges and squats offer numerous benefits, but they won’t help you target specific areas on your body to lose weight. Lunges and squats can actually increase the size of your thighs if they’re done at a high enough volume. To make your thighs smaller, instead you want to incorporate exercise that burns calories and helps you lower your fat.

Lunges and Squats

Lunges and squats are both compound exercises that work your glutes, quadriceps and calves. They’re similar, except that squats involve both legs working together, while lunges require each leg to work independently. Squats are performed by setting your feet shoulder- to hip-width apart and lowering toward the floor by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. The lunge, however, is completed by getting into a staggered stance with one foot in front of the other and then bending your lead knee to lower your back knee toward the floor.

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Impact on Thigh Size

To make your thighs smaller, you’ve got to either lower excess fat located in your legs or have your muscles atrophy, which means the muscles get smaller. Lunges and squats target the muscle tissue you have in your glutes, quads and calves, but they don’t impact any fat tissue in the area. According to the American Council on Exercise, it’s not possible to spot reduce, or lose fat specifically in your thighs. Strength-training exercises like lunges and squats prevent the muscles in your thighs from atrophying and can increase the size in your thighs. Therefore, they’re not an effective way to make your thighs smaller.

Benefits of Lunges and Squats

While lunges and squats won’t make your thighs smaller, they are effective for building strength and size in your lower-body muscles. An increase in glute, quad and calf strength will allow you to walk up hills, climb stars and squat down with more ease. By building lean tissue, you increase your metabolic rate and burn more calories throughout the day.

Decreasing Thigh Size

To effectively decrease the size of your thighs, make efforts to lower your overall body-fat percentage. To do so, you’ve got to burn more calories than you consume. Increase the calories you burn by consistently incorporating cardiovascular activities, like jogging and swimming, into your regimen. Decrease the number of calories you take in by limiting high-calorie foods. Instead, consume primarily fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. While this won’t target your thighs, as you lose overall fat, you’ll see differences everywhere, including your legs.

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