Gorgeous Gams: The Best Thigh Workout for Women

best thigh workout for womenThighs on Point: How to Go From Flabby to Fab with the Best Thigh Workout

Hey ladies, let’s stop messing around and get those gorgeous gams already! This article will tell you everything you need to know to stop stalling your progress and build and tone leg muscle to get the strong, eye-catching thighs you’re after. With time and hard work on this program, with a combination of strength training and cardio workouts, you will be finally getting the tight toned thighs you want. You will be wasting absolutely zero of your precious time on the lame inner-outer thigh machine! Instead, you will be doing full body exercises that recruit your large muscle groups to torch a ton of calories plus tone your quads, hamstrings, and glutes without adding extra bulk. I know that bulk is the last thing you want, so this program is going to tell you how to maximize fat burning and toning while minimizing bulk. Take note that along the way, you will be building a fabulous booty as well because many of these moves overlap with my favorite butt exercises for women.

thigh workout disclaimerCheck out this disclaimer first: I want you ladies to have realistic expectations. NO THIGH WORKOUT IS EVER GOING TO SPOT REDUCE/BURN FAT directly from your thighs exclusively. As much as I wish spot-reduction was a thing, it most assuredly is not. That’s not how fat loss works. A fat loss exercise program will reduce body fat from the entire body with time. In many women, thigh fat likes to linger until the bitter end. I know, I don’t like it either. Also, the THIGH GAP is not a genetic reality for most women! There are many sources online that will explain why in more detail than I will do here, so give it a Google if you want to know the specifics on the THIGH GAP myth.

Are we on the same page? Awesome! So keep reading to learn my amazing thigh workout routine to tighten and tone your thighs. Along the way, we will also go over tips for maximizing your thigh workouts, thigh-friendly cardio routines, and nutritional considerations for getting your most gorgeous legs going.

The Gorgeous Gams Thigh Workout for Women

best thigh workout guidelinesSo here’s the moment you’ve been waiting for (thanks for sticking with me through the disclaimer). Here are the thigh exercises you need to be doing, the best order in which to do them, as well as tips for maximizing each and every rep. Go through the main events, the finishers, and wrap it up with a thigh-friendly cardio session. Let’s get those tight thighs going!


  • Complete the Main events first as a circuit with minimal rest between the exercises. Do the whole circuit at least twice and up to four times if you are a true she-beast
  • Knock out the Finisher circuit twice only after you finish your desired number of circuits of the Main Events
  • Take about 30 seconds to one minute off between each exercise; that’s enough time for your muscles to recover for the next set but not enough time to allow your metabolism to drop off
  • Choose a weight that will truly tire out your muscles by the end of the set while still allowing you to maintain control of your form (I won’t make specific poundage recommendations in this article since all you ladies are coming from a different starting point)
  • Choosing the right weight takes some trial and error; as you’re digging into this thigh workout, keep in mind that if you finish the set too easily you should choose a heavier weight and if you can’t complete the set with good form it’s best to choose a lighter weight
  • For the best results, do the Best Thigh Workout For Women 2-3 times per week with 48 hours in between For example, Monday-Wednesday would be fine, while Monday-Tuesday is not a good idea because your muscles won’t have enough recovery time.

First Things First: 5 Main Events in the Best Thigh Workout

Main Event#1. Deadlifts x 15 reps

Never neglect the deadlift. It doesn’t get its propers in women’s thigh workouts when it should really be front and center. The deadlift is one of the absolute best moves for toning up your hamstrings and booty. It also recruits more muscles than any other lift, so if you are looking to burn calories and lose body fat, the deadlift is going to be your new best friend. As long as you understand proper form, err on the heavy side when choosing a weight. You will be surprised how much weight you can actually deadlift because you get to use almost your whole lower body musculature.

To do a proper deadlift:

Get your desired weight ready in front of you on the floor. I recommend a kettlebell, a barbell, or even just two dumbbells. Take a strong hip-width stance as close in to the weight as you can. If it’s a barbell, the bar needs to pass over top of your shoelaces. Keeping your gaze on the horizon the WHOLE time, stick out your chest and keep a FLAT back as you sit back into your hips, keeping your knees directly above your ankles. Grab the weight just slightly wider than foot/hip width, keeping your shoulder blades pulled back toward your spine. Stand up, straightening your hips and knees at the same time. Drive the movement by pushing your hips forward while maintaining a contracted, super-tight core. Avoid shrugging your shoulders or pulling upward with your elbows. SQUEEZE your glutes together as tight as you can as you complete the lift. Congratulations, you just executed a deadlift! Just do it 14 more times and your set will be complete. Tee Hee. It might seem like a lot to think about at first, but practice, practice, practice makes perfect and you won’t have to think about all the details with time.

Main Event #2: SQUAT x 15 reps

Squats are your number one ally for toning up the fronts and sides of your thighs. They are also a major-league calorie burner. And contrary to some folks’ beliefs, they are NOT bad for your knees when done with excellent form, which you will understand after reading the next section on how to squat!

How to SQUAT:

In contrast to the deadlift, a pulling movement, the squat is a push. You are going to envision screwing your feet into the floor and PUSHING the ground away. Practice with body weight until you perfect your squat form. After you get the form in order, add weight by holding a kettlebell to your chest or a barbell on the backs of your shoulders. Start from standing with feet hip-width apart. Tighten your abs inward and keep your chest up and proud as you hinge from your hips and sit your butt back behind you. It is essential that you never ever let your knees go beyond your toes, though they may come slightly forward from being stacked over your ankles (unlike the deadlift, in which your knees must stay totally stacked). Get your knees to 90 degrees, keeping your weight in your heels, and then push strongly back to standing, tightening your core and breathing out as you do so. Make sure that you SQUEEZE your glutes together like your life depends on it as you stand all the way tall. If you forget the squeeze, you’ll never maximize your squat.

Main Event #3: Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Sometimes erroneously called straight-leg deadlift, the stiff-leg deadlift or SDL is an excellent choice for toning and tightening those hamstrings that give the back of the thighs such a lovely dancer’s body shape.

To do a stiff-leg deadlift:

It’s almost just like a regular deadlift but there are some key differences. Firstly, you will be using less weight than for a regular deadlift. This is because the SDL relies more on the hamstrings, a smaller set of muscles relative the glutes which dominate the regular deadlift. So using a lighter barbell or kettlebell than you used for your set of regular deadlifts, perform a regular deadlift to get the weight up into position. In the SDL, you want to start from standing rather than pulling all the way from the floor. So from standing, keep your legs fairly straight and stiff with just a tiny bend in the knees as you hinge forward from the hip and bring the weight toward the floor. Bring the weight to about mid-shin and then PULL with your hamstrings to return to standing. Keep a tight core! You will feel this one working the hamstrings a lot more strongly than the regular deadlift did.

Main Event #4: Push-Back Lunges x 15 reps for each leg

Push-back lunges are a powerful thigh and booty exercise that builds and tones lean muscle while burning lots of body fat due to high muscle recruitment. Never skip these because they target the thighs in a way and from an angle that other exercises may miss. They also build core stability and strength while challenging your balance and improving your athletic power. What’s not to love?!

To perform a push-back lunge:

From a firm, hip-width stance, lunge one leg forward, leading with the heel and not the forefoot. Sink down until the back knee ALMOST touches the floor. Push powerfully into the front heel to return the front leg to its starting stance. Do 15 reps on one leg before switching sides and doing 15 on the other leg. It’s essential to NEVER let the front knee go beyond the toes as you lunge. Make sure you use your core muscles to keep your torso straight up and down the whole time. Experiment with the distance you are lunging the front leg forward and watch yourself from the side in a mirror until you get the feel for the movement. Once bodyweight becomes too easy, work with a kettlebell held to your chest, two dumbbells held to your sides, or a barbell held on your shoulders just like you would do for a back squat.

#5. Sumo Squats x 15 reps

Just when you thought one type of squat was sufficient, here comes another killer! Here’s an essential squat variation you absolutely must include, because it helps firm and tone that often “troubled” inner thigh area. Sumo squats also target the side thigh/side booty from a unique angle to ensure even muscle development to your whole hip complex has balance.

To do a sumo squat:

Try this move out with bodyweight until you are comfortable with the form. Then, push yourself to the next level by adding a kettlebell held to your chest or a barbell held on the backs of your shoulders. Start with a wide stance with your feet angled outward. Keeping your chest upright, sink your butt down toward the floor. An ideal stance will put your knees directly over your ankles and your knees almost but not quite bent to 90 degree angles at the bottom of the movement. As you rise back up, squeeze your inner thighs inward and your glutes together, tight, tight, tight. Don’t forget to use your abs and core to keep your torso strong and upright.

Next: Two Thigh-Torching Finishers

ONLY complete these thigh finishers after you get through your goal number of Main Event circuits (at least two but up to four). Do at least two rounds of the Finisher to make sure your thigh muscles are thoroughly burnt out.

Stability Ball Pull-Ins + Stability Ball Straight Leg Bridge

Grab one of those big goofy stability balls (AKA pilates balls or Swiss balls) and lay on your back. Dig your heels into the very center top of the ball and squeeze your butt muscles to lift your hips off the floor. At this point, you should form a straight ( but diagonal) line from your heels down your calves, down your thighs, through your hips and core, and all the way to your shoulders. Your shoulders and head stay resting comfortably one the floor. I assure you those will be the only comfortable body parts during this exercise: next, keeping your butt lifted, pull your heels toward your butt. Drive this movement by contracting your hamstrings. Then, under control, straighten your legs back to the starting position. Pull in at least 10 but up to 15 times. It will burn so bad but it works great for toning your thighs while strengthening the core and booty too! After you knock out those 10-15 pull-ins, get your legs straight and hold that starting position static until you just can’t anymore and need to take a rest. Gently lay your hips down and take a short 30 second rest before completing your additional round(s). BURN BABY BURN!

Toning and Tightening through Accelerated Fat Loss: Thigh-Friendly CARDIO

cardio butt workout for womenReserve 20-25 minutes for intense thigh/booty cardio after the main event circuits and the finisher circuits. This strategy will serve to accelerate your results in terms of fat loss and lean muscle building without bulking. Best practice is to complete the cardio portion at the very end so most of your strength and energy will be allotted to the more-demanding Main Events and Finishers. I recommend elliptical or ARC trainer intervals (just depending on what equipment your gym carries). Choose one of the programmed workouts that takes you through 20-25 minutes of high interval bursts alternating with low recovery intervals. Intervals are one of the best ways to encourage your body to shed fat, which will help reveal that lean, toned thigh muscle you will be building.

You can also mix it up by doing some straight-up hill climbing. Set the treadmill, ARC trainer, or stair stepper to a high incline and climb at a steady pace for 20-25 minutes.

When you’re done, you will be soooo beyond DONE, having burned hundreds of calories and worked your thigh and hip musculature from every single angle. Congratulate yourself and have a protein smoothie!

Nutrition Notes for Thigh/Butt Building

nutrition tips for thigh building workouts for womenWhile we’re on the subject of protein smoothies, let’s go over some nutritional considerations that will help support your the best thigh workout for women. Remember that for fat loss, your lean muscle is your number one ally. So you need to eat in a way that supports lean muscle maintenance and gain. Some women will do everything right workout-wise, then drop the ball in terms of their nutrition. The result is muscle loss, lower metabolism, more difficult fat loss, and slow, stifled progress. This will not be your fate!

To ensure that you’re losing thigh fat while toning up the underlying the muscles, you must be (1) eating enough to sustain your energy levels, (2) taking in enough protein, and (3) also working with a enough of a calorie deficit to cause fat loss to occur. 

To address (1), don’t starve yourself or cut carbs completely. Strive for a veggie-based diet with plently of lean protein sources and a reasonable amount of healthy fats. DO include healthy sources of complex carbs (oatmeal, sweet potatoes, rice, etc) because your body needs carbohydrates to support energy levels as well as shuttle protein into your muscles.

(2), protein intake: a good, simple guideline is to strive for one gram of protein per pound of lean body mass (everything in your body excluding fat tissue). A personal trainer can make this measurement for you, or you can sorta ball-park it and shoot for between about 95 to 120 grams of protein depending on your frame size and height.

As for (3), to put it simply, a calorie deficit means you are burning more calories than you are eating. Your body burns calories at rest as well as during exercise. And the more lean muscle you have, the more calories you will burn, even at rest. The perfect fat-loss calorie deficit will vary from woman to woman, but eating between 1400 to 1800 calories will do the trick for most women and most body types. If you’re in doubt, get help from a nutritionist or personal trainer who specializes in fitness nutrition.

Just know that there are absolutely no magic pills or potions that can take the place of hard work and proper nutrition. Remember, it’s not about dieting or depriving yourself. It’s about making consistent food choices that are in alignment with your goals. Be sure to allow yourself some wiggle room for indulgences here and there or you are likely to get demotivated over time and fall off the wagon completely!

The Best Thigh Workout for Women: The Bottom Line

Thanks so much for checking out my article on strengthening, toning, and building your most gorgeous thighs possible! Remember that you are BEAUTIFUL and WORTHY no matter where you are at in your unique fitness journey, and never ever let the media or that doubting voice you might have in the back of your head convince you of anything different. It’s YOU time, lady!

So what do you think? How did the workout go for you? Or do you have any essential thigh-toning tips that we missed? We love to hear from our readers, so if you have something to say, feel free to let us know in the comments below!

About Mae Barraclough

Mae Barraclough, B.S., NASM-CPT, NASM-CES is a certified personal trainer, corrective exercise specialist, and licensed Zumba Instructor. With her passion for health, fitness, and dance, Mae loves learning all she can and sharing her knowledge with others.

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