The Best Exercises to Decrease Butt & Thigh Size

Unfortunately, you don't get to decide where you store fat in your body. And you also don't get to decide where you burn fat. If there's a little too much junk in your trunk, it's probably because that's naturally where your body stores fat. The best exercises to work on this also double as cardio exercises and burn the most calories, helping you lose leg and butt fat.

The Best Exercises to Decrease Butt & Thigh Size (Image: g-stockstudio/iStock/GettyImages)

When you burn fat, your body decides which area of the body to take it from. However, you should still do leg exercises if you want to burn fat. That's because your leg muscles are very large and take a lot of energy to keep moving. Some of the best calorie-burning exercises are lower body exercises.

Body-weight leg exercises also aren't as geared towards muscle-building as heavier weightlifting movements. If your goal is to make your legs smaller, you don't need to do those big muscle-building movements. Use high-rep movements with lower weight (or you body weight) to burn more calories during your workout.

1. Sprinting

Running on the treadmill or solid ground will burn calories and rev up your metabolism.

HOW TO DO IT: Run at a high speed on a treadmill or flat ground for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, and repeat. Continue this for at least 10 minutes. You should be running fast enough that you are tired, but not completely exhausted, by the end of each 30-second sprint.

High-rep squats boost your metabolism and burn calories. (Image: g-stockstudio/iStock/GettyImages)

2. Body-Weight Squat

Turn up the intensity on your legs with high-rep bodyweight squats. Do five sets of 20 reps.

HOW TO DO IT: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Squat down, like you're sitting down in a chair, bending your knees and sinking your butt down. Try to keep your torso as upright as possible. Go as low as you can and then stand back up straight.

3. Step-Up

This is a simple alternative to stair climbs, especially when done for time instead of reps. Do as many reps as you can in 30 seconds and then rest for 30 for 5 minutes.

HOW TO DO IT: Find a box or chair around knee-height with a flat surface. Stand in front of it, plant one foot on top near the edge, lean forward and push yourself up with that leg. Tap the other foot on the box and then lower it back down to the ground. Bring the other foot down and step up with the opposite foot. Alternate feet until time is up.

Exercise bike sprints help you burn thigh and butt fat. (Image: masta4650/iStock/GettyImages)

4. Bike Sprint

If running isn't your thing, you can still get cardio by using a bike, which almost exclusively works your legs.

HOW TO DO IT: Using a regular bike on the road or a stationary bike in the gym, perform sprints by pedaling as fast as you can in a high gear for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. Keep going for 4 minutes before taking a break. Repeat as many times as you feel comfortable with.

5. Burpee

This old-school bodyweight calisthenic exercise can be as taxing as running all-out sprints.

HOW TO DO IT: Start standing tall. Bend over with your upper body and touch your hands to the floor. Kick your legs back so that you're in a push-up position. Go down into a push-up. When you reach the top, hop your legs back under you and jump off the ground as high as you can. Land and repeat. Do three sets of 12 reps. If you can't do a full push-up do it with your knees on the ground.

6. Lunges

If step-ups and burpees aren't your thing, try lunges. They're a much more manageable movement.

HOW TO DO IT: Start standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Take a big step forward with one leg. Drop your back knee down until it's an inch above the ground. Step up with your back foot so that your feet are together again, and then lunge forward with the other leg. Keep alternating legs until you've done 10 lunges on each leg.

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