What are the Best Exercises to Tone Thighs?

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  • Written By: Sheri Cyprus
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 18 December 2019
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The best exercises to tone thighs are the ones that work the inner and outer upper leg muscles. If an exercise can be felt in these muscles, it's likely to have a toning effect on the thighs. When doing exercises to tone thighs, patience is needed, as it may take a month or more of daily effort to notice more toned upper legs. There are all types of exercise options for thigh toning, from walking and running to cycling and leg lifts.

A classic thigh toner exercise is for a person to lay on his or her side on a mat or firm surface. One arm should have the elbow touching the ground with the hand propping up the head. The body should remain straight while the top leg is swung over so that the knee is up and the foot is comfortably flat on the floor. To create the thigh toning movement, the exerciser moves the lower leg up and down slowly while the other one remains still. The same number of leg lift exercises to tone thighs should be repeated by reversing the movements on the other side of the body.

The lunge is another classic exercise known for toning thighs. The exerciser stands straight with the hands by the sides and the feet together. Keeping one leg and foot forward, the exerciser turns at the waist and bends the other leg at the knee at a side angle in a lunging, downward stepping motion.


Lunges should be repeated on the other side, with the alternating sets done about 10 times on each side every day. A gradual increase to 20 completed lunge sets three times daily can be one of the most effective exercises to tone thighs. Each lunge should be held slightly to feel the stretch on the inner thigh.

Riding a regular or stationary bike is one of the best exercises to tone thighs. The repeated leg movements on the pedals give both the inner and outer thigh muscles a workout that can help firm them for a smoother look. Walking or cycling uphill can be super-toning on thighs. To tone thighs and burn fat, stair climbing up and down a staircase or using repeated stepping motions on one step is considered a good method.

A good mat exercise that can help create toned thighs is simple to do. The exerciser lays face up on a mat with the knees bent and the feet together. The legs should be moved outward to the sides at the knees slowly before being brought back up. A pull can be felt through the inner thighs. If the movements are done each day slowly and effectively with gradual increases added, it's possible to see firmer thighs within a month or two.


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