What is the best exercise for big thighs?

Heather Campbell
 min read

What is the best exercise for big thighs and stronger legs? This is a question often asked by persons with slim and very slim thighs.

what is the best exercise for big thighsOur bodies are specifically made for us, and we all come in different shapes and sizes.

Especially the size of your thighs can vary immensely from person to person.

From genetics to your way of life, there are many reasons why your thighs look different than someone else’s.

What is the best exercise for big thighs? Introduction

Even though your body is beautiful just the way they are, you might be interested in making your thighs bigger to improve performance or simply to change your physique.

If you want to build stronger, thicker thighs, this post will tell you exactly how and which exercises to try.

So if you’re wondering how to build thicker thighs with strength-building workouts?

Search no longer and continue reading!

Which types of thigh muscles does one have?

The thigh muscles are one of the largest muscles you have. They’re generally divided into 2 types: the front and back thighs.

Quadriceps muscles: Front thighs

The front thighs are also known as the quadriceps muscles.

They consist of 4 large, long muscles that help with the extension of your knee to straighten your leg.

The quadriceps muscles consist of the following:

  • vastus lateralis
  • the vastus medialis
  • vastus intermedius
  • rectus femoris

Hamstring muscles: Back thighs

The back thighs are also known as your hamstring muscles. They consist of 3 muscles that help with knee flexion to bend your leg.

The hamstring muscles consist of the following:

  • biceps femoris
  • semimembranosus
  • semitendinosus

Other thigh muscles

Other crucial muscles in your thighs are:

  • sartorius
  • pectineus
  • gracilis
  • adductor
    • longus
    • Magnus
    • iliopsoas

These muscles help with diverse movements like:

  • adduction (= bringing the leg toward the body)
  • knee flexion
  • hip flexion

Your gluteal muscles (gluteus minimus, Maximus, and medius) form the biggest muscle group in your thighs. They are crucial for various hip movements.

Your glutes have to work closely with your thigh muscles to help with movement, although they are part of the butt muscles.

Exercises for quadriceps and hamstrings: What is the best exercise for big thighs

By doing exercises that target these muscles, you can build muscle mass, which will help grow the total size of your thighs.

Your thighs are made of so many big and small muscles. The largest ones are the quadriceps and hamstrings.

Targeting these muscles during strength training will help build strength and increase their size.

Regular strength training increases thigh size

If you’re interested in getting more muscle mass, then muscle hypertrophy is your way to go.

Growing more muscles in your thighs will increase their general size.

This statement is only true if you don’t lose any thigh fat or create more muscles than fat is burned.

For the most satisfactory results, the majority of research recommends strength training specific muscle groups 3 or 4 times weekly for the best muscle hypertrophy.

While everyone can grow muscle, the amount of muscle gain is mainly based upon genes.

For example, some people gain muscle more quickly than others, even if they follow the exact same workout routine and diet plan.

People with longer limbs might gain the same amount of muscle mass, but it might seem smaller sized because the muscle is extended over a longer distance.

So instead of focusing on the look of your thighs, it’s best to value their function and strength: they’re available in all shapes and sizes!

The best way to increase muscle mass is to do strength training 3 to 4 times per week.

With that being said, the amount of muscle development, size, and general appearance largely depends on genetics (but you can still work on your self presentation in order to present yourself in the best light!).

For best outcomes, perform different strength-training workouts with progressive surplus to target all the muscles in your thighs.

As you slowly start to see/ feel improvements, don’t forget to gradually raise resistance to boost your muscle development.

Can some foods give you bigger thighs? Nutrition tips

Eating in a calorie surplus, which is eating more calories than your body burns, will lead to weight gain and may help expand the size of your thighs.

But still, you can’t choose where your body stores fat.

If you’re genetically destined to save fat in your upper body, you’ll most likely originally keep fat in these locations.

Unless you want to gain weight overall, it’s better to focus on creating muscle mass!

The best way to increase the size of your thighs is by building bigger muscles. And the most efficient way to do so is by:

  • strength training your quadriceps and hamstrings
  • eating enough calories and protein to nourish the new muscle tissue

To grow muscle, it’s vital to consume enough protein every day.

This means striving to take in enough protein per pound every day and do strength-training workouts.

Last but not least: not a single food type will help grow your thighs.

If you want to gain fat or muscle mass, it’s highly recommended to have a calorie surplus.

Usually, 10 to 20% of your everyday calorie intake should be enough.

Shift your diet that is especially rich in whole, protein-rich, unprocessed foods.

Consuming a calorie surplus can increase the amount of muscle and fat tissue in your thighs.

But since you can’t choose where your body stores fat, it’s best to focus on creating muscle mass from a protein-rich diet and strength-training routine.

Read our article What foods cause thigh fat? for more insights and interesting details!

What affects your thigh size?

What causes inner thigh fat? The size of your thighs is mainly controlled by your bone structure, genes, proportion, and distribution of both fat and muscle mass.

Your thighs aren’t just muscles. They consist of:

  • the femur (also known as the thigh bone)
  • muscles:
    • quadriceps
    • hamstrings
    • adductors
  • stored fat
  • arteries and veins
  • nerves
  • connective tissue:
    • fascia
    • ligaments
    • tendons

How much of that extra fat your body will store in your butt and thighs highly depends on your genes and hormone levels.

Two body types

The two main body types are:

  • gynoid, also known as pear-formed
  • android, also known as apple-shaped

Those with gynoid body types tend to keep more fat and muscle in their butts and thighs, while those with android body types store more fat in the abdomen or stomach.

Usually, cisgender women have higher gynoid fat storage because of their higher estrogen levels.

Still, it’s essential to keep in mind that you can’t decide where your body will store the fat.

Instead, the most efficient way to expand the size of your thighs is by creating muscle, which is a lot easier to control.

In conclusion, your thighs’ shape and size is mainly decided by genetics, fat circulation, and muscle mass.

Workouts to strengthen the thighs: What is the best exercise for big thighs?

Leg extension

What is the best exercise for big thighs and nice muscular legs?

The first and most straightforward exercise is the seated leg extension!

Although it doesn’t work a couple of key muscles, it’s still one of the best raises to do.

This exercise is low-impact, pretty straightforward, and quite difficult, guaranteed to help you define your quads.

It’s a great way to contribute to any bulky leg workout routine. It is excellent to help firm and define your legs.

How to do leg extensions

This one is easy:

  • Sit on the maker
  • position the tops of your feet behind the foam pad
  • press upwards
  • try to rapidly extend, then lower back gradually

Leg extensions in a workout

Either stick to your mass-style lifting program, consisting of low reps with high weights, or increase the volume to create more definition.

Standing calf raises

If you want well-rounded legs, your calves are an essential part of your outcome.

Weighted lifts will help grow your calves, but nothing is as effective as isolating them with some heavyweight exercises.

For that, you’ll want standing calf raises.

How to do calf raises

This exercise is one of the most straightforward motions you can do:

  • Balance the balls of your feet on the edge of something.
  • Raise your heels, then lower them back down.
  • It’s possible to do this in a calf raise machine or with weights on your shoulders.

Calf raises in an exercise: What is the best exercise for big thighs?

Like any other isolation, you’re best off doing these exercises with slightly larger reps to increase hypertrophy.

Dumbbell lunge

This is a very reliable but simplified exercise.

The lunge is a single-leg compound workout that works your quadriceps, calves, hamstrings, and glutes at once!

They can easily be done in the gym when all the other equipment is being used because all you need is a set of dumbbells.

How to perform dumbbell lunges

  • Grab a dumbbell in each hand.
  • Put one foot forward and squat into it, so your trail leg lowers until your knee is about to touch the floor.
  • Step through with your other leg, so it joins the front of your lead, and repeat the action.

Dumbbell lunges in an exercise

It’s recommended to do fewer reps with heavier weights to help create size, strength, and mass.

Zercher squat

Do you want to step up your squat game with an unusual but brutal leg workout that trains both your abs and lower body?

Then Zercher squats are what you need!

At the same time, there’s minimal spinal compression, meaning they’re perfect for putting less pressure on your back.

How to do Zercher squats

  • Hold onto a barbell in the crook of your elbows on your upper forearms.
  • Cover your hands in front of the bar to stop it from falling forward.
  • Perform a squat as usual.

Zercher squats in a workout

This exercise is rarely seen in the gym because they’re so unbelievably hard. However, they’re great for specifically focusing on your quads.

Romanian deadlift

What is the best exercise for big thighs? Deadlifts are basically the best lifts for overall thigh muscle growth.

However, the Romanian deadlift explicitly targets your glutes and hamstrings in a very targeted way.

It generally focuses on your hamstrings, making them an excellent exercise for people who lack in that area.

How to do Romanian deadlifts

  • Hold the bar at hip level while your palms face down.
  • Keep your shoulders back, your back a little arched, and your knees a little bent.
  • Press your butt back and lower the bar, keeping your direct and forward with your shoulders back.
  • As the bar lowers just below the knee, you’ll feel your hamstrings stopping you from going down even more.
  • Push the hips forward to stand up again.

Romanian deadlifts in a workout

Romanian deadlifts can be a rather strange workout to get used to. Hence, you have to start light and just do more reps.

With this exercise, it’s quite important to try and see what works best for you.

Front squat

To do a front squat, change the position of the barbell so that it’s held on your deltoids.

This kind of squat targets diverse muscles and focuses on your glutes since you have greater knee flexion than during a back squat.

They’re also excellent if you have issues with your back since the front bar placement lowers tension on the lumbar and knees.

How to do a front squat

Exactly like a back squat, however, you want to place the bar at the top of your deltoids.

There’s 2 ways to hold the bar: you can either hug it with crossed arms, or tilt your arms back and grip it with your fingers.

This last one needs stability and a wrist warmup, though.

Front squats in a workout: What is the best exercise for big thighs?

As with barbell squats, front squats must be included in your routine.

There are some people that do one or the other, but try front squatting after back squats for a truly leg-busting day.

Barbell back squat

The standard barbell squat is among the most popular exercises in the world.

From powerlifters to bodybuilders and everything in between, the standard squat is a lift that develops leg power and size, in addition to increasing total strength and helping you pack on mass.

This push exercise trains your whole lower body, back, and even your core. Leave Barbell squats out of your workout routine at your own risk!

How to do a barbell squat

  • Use a squat rack for security.
  • Set a barbell just under shoulder height.
  • Get under the bar, so it’s resting on the top of your shoulders.
  • Guard it in place with your hands an even distance apart.
  • Press up and go back to entirely balance the bar by your body.
  • From here, squat downwards, keeping your head up and eyes forward with your back as straight as possible.
  • As soon as your glutes go below your knees, take off back up, so you’re standing straight.
  • That’s one rep.

Barbell squatting as part of an exercise

Including a barbell squat into leg day isn’t only necessary. It should be the base of your legs training day.

Since you’re going for size, go for fewer reps with much heavier weights.

What is the best exercise for big thighs? Summarized

Your thighs are crucial for your day-to-day movement.

They get you from point A to point B, help you lift heavy items, and offer athletic performance.

Keep in mind that the size of your thighs is mainly based on genetics, muscle, and fat distribution.

Instead of focusing on their size, you’re better off focusing on their function and strength. These are more useful signs of health!

So focus on doing strength-training workouts and eating a protein-rich diet to build muscle, increase strength, and improve overall motion.

Your thighs are yours only, so it’s time to love them.

Fashion tip: Buy some nice jeans to highlight your firm thighs in an elegant way.

Be sure to check out our buying guide with some of the best jeans for thick thighs!

About Heather Campbell

As a nutritionist, my field of specialization is science-based nutritional advice but more importantly, it is my goal to share capturing and inspiring stories, examples and solutions which can help plus-size individuals overcome their specific difficulties. Read More