The thighs are challenging parts of the body to tone, especially if you're slightly overweight. While it might be tempting to do repeated leg press sets, that exercise will tone your muscles, but won't necessarily give you smaller thighs. In fact, if you bulk up too much, you may end up with even bigger thighs. A fitness routine that takes your entire body into account is the only way to shrink your thighs.
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Perform 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise at least five times a week, according to the American College of Sports Medicine, or ACSM, to burn calories and lose fat from your entire body, including your thighs. Exercises that will work include running, riding a bike, jogging or swimming.
Cut calories by 500 a day if you need to lose weight. According to MyPyramid.gov, you need to cut 500 to 1,000 calories from your normal daily diet to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Though this will cause you to lose weight from all over your body, you will eventually see a reduction in the size of your thighs.
Do hamstring-strengthening exercises to shrink your thighs. The key is to do just enough toning exercise to get defined muscles without making them bulk up. To begin, lie on the ground with your knees bent and your heels resting on an exercise ball. Push up and lift your hips off the ground slowly. Hold for a couple of seconds, then lower back down. Repeat 10 times.
Do lunges and squats to tone and shape your thighs, suggests the American Council on Exercise, or ACE. To do lunges, begin with your feet together and your hands on your hips. Take a large step forward and bend your back knee down until it nearly touches the floor. Your front knee should also bend at a 90-degree angle. Come back to the starting position and repeat on each leg at least 10 times. To do squats, start with your legs wider than shoulder-width apart, then pretend you're sitting down in a chair. Bend at the waist and keep your back straight. Hold for several seconds, then stand. Repeat 10 times.
Do scissor-kick exercises, says "Fitness" magazine. Lie on the ground with your legs straight and your arms at your sides. Use your hands for support. Lift both of your legs off the ground. Squeeze your thighs together as you move your right leg toward your face and your left leg toward the floor. Switch legs. Repeat the exercise at least 20 times and control each movement. Don't just fling your legs back and forth. Use your abdominal muscles and thighs to perform these movements, which can tone up the especially troublesome inner thighs.