Top 5 moves for slimmer thighs

Top 5 moves for slimmer thighs

Being a bit ‘chunky’ above the knees is a common concern. While we can’t lengthen legs or change their basic shape, there’s still a lot of scope to tone and trim thighs.

Leg workouts are essential for strength in everyday life, as well as improving performance for competitive sport.

Here are five moves to work those thighs. Remember the top tips:

  • Keep it even; you want to work all those muscles to support joints and avoid strain
  • Don’t do these barefoot; you need the support of trainers
  • Be patient; even with thrice-weekly gym visits it is going to take weeks to see a difference
  • Pay attention to what you eat – slimmer thighs and too much cake are not a match!

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These will get you warmed up!

  • Stand straight
  • Squat with arms in front and core engaged
  • Step your feet from side to side, quickly
  • Stand again – repeat 15 times.

For a tougher version, add a jump – here’s the lateral plyo squat as part of the thigh workout.


These are the number one thigh and leg toner. As well as the basic lunge, try the side-tap variation:

  • Stand straight, arms down.
  • Step and squat to the left with right leg out straight, push hips back as if squatting. Touch the ground with fingertips.
  • Stand again, pushing from your left leg, and cross your left foot to tap to one side of your right leg.

Need more? Here are extra variations on the lunge.


Ballet moves aren’t just for ballerinas! This elegant move really works those outer thighs.

  • Begin standing straight, heels together, toes out at 45 degrees.
  • Step your left foot out and go down into a plié, knees over toes, back straight.
  • Stand up again.
  • Repeat with right foot and continue.


It keeps coming up because it keeps delivering – the humble squat is always the go-to exercise! Pay attention to form and as always, keep that core tight.


Still have some energy left? Finish with a tough move.

  • Set yourself up in a standard plank
  • Bring one leg forward to a lunge, with the other leg still extended
  • Use the bent leg to raise yourself to a standing position.
  • Lunge back down, return to the plank and repeat with the other leg.

These five moves are the basis of a thigh-trimming circuit – ask at your local gym for more or search for some suitable classes.

The Author

Jessica Ward

Jessica lives in South West London. Boxercise, yoga, pilates, weight training and long distance running are her main interests.


Carmen A.
28 January 2016

Carmen A.

Unfortunately none of these exercises do anything for me and for many people who have knee problems: for many years I prefer to train everything using the right machines in the gym and doing the right exercises - even gym trainers now steal my exercises. I prefer to achieve the right results in minutes rather than do hundreds of lunges, plies, squats. No wonder I keep going to the gym after several decades since I first started training.

Sarah R.
25 January 2016

Sarah R.

Some new exercises to try tonight! I like the ballet moves and the plank/lunge idea!

Sarah L.
24 January 2016

Sarah L.

I think it is a myth that exercise bulks up legs, unless you train like Schwarzenegger. As the article says, you can't change the basic shape but you can tone and tighten the wobbly bits.

Melissa F.
22 January 2016

Melissa F.

Won;t these moves just bulk your legs up instead of making them slimmer? toned is good yes but to actually slim your legs down you need to lose weight as well as doing these exercises. Running is good for your legs too

Roger B.
21 January 2016

Roger B.

I wonder if I can use cake as a weight? Seriously - good to read an article that promises the achievable. Even men don't want wobbly legs.

Emma C.
21 January 2016

Emma C.

Clare, mu problem is that I think the more squats I do the more cake I can get away with!!

Clare R.
20 January 2016

Clare R.

wise advice - I will swop the cake for a few squats. No excuses!!

Sasha B.
20 January 2016

Sasha B.

I am liking the plank and lunge idea. I already do a plank most mornings so will add this lunge in. Anything to help my thighs!

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