Stretching exercises can provide part of a well-rounded workout routine to get thinner upper thighs. But to lose the fat you have to engage in regular cardiovascular exercise, build muscles in your thighs and overall body with strength training, and create a calorie deficit by eating less, if you are overweight. Adding stretches to the mix increases flexibility and promotes relaxation so you stick with your workouts.
Things You'll Need
- Exercise mat
- Barbell or broomstick
Perform at least 150 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per week to shed fat all over, including on your upper thighs. Fit this into your schedule by breaking it up in a manner that suits you, such as three 10-minute cardio sessions per day. Multiply the potential benefits to your thighs by doing cardio exercises that engage your large thigh muscles, the quadriceps and hamstrings. Heart-pumping exercises such as brisk walking, jogging, stair climbing and bicycling can help you tone your thigh muscles while getting rid of excess fat.
Include strength training exercises to build muscle mass and get leaner-looking thighs. Do two to three sets of eight to 12 repetitions each of dumbbell squats, side lunges and front lunges to target your upper thighs.
Incorporate upper-thigh stretching exercises into your post-workout cool-down with the kneeling TA stretch. Kneel on a mat on the floor, and then lower your body until you're sitting on your lower legs. Bring your hips forward as you shift your weight backwards, bringing your arms behind you and resting your fingertips on the floor. Maintain a straight upper body; do not arch your back. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, completing it for a total of two to four times to stretch your quadriceps -- the muscles on the fronts of your upper thighs.
Stretch the backs of your thighs -- the hamstrings -- by doing the hip hinge exercise. Hold an empty barbell or a broomstick vertically behind your back and head, with your left hand holding the bar near your bottom and your right hand holding the bar behind your head. Stand straight without locking your knees. Bend at the waist while pushing your hips toward the wall behind you. Stop when your upper body is parallel with the floor, and hold the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Make sure the bar touches the back of your head, between your shoulder blades and your tailbone area throughout.
Follow your cardio and strength training workouts with upper thigh stretches, such as the quadriceps stretch. Stand in front of the wall with your right hand on the wall for balance. Lift your left leg so your knee is bent and your ankle is close to your bottom. Reach around with your left hand and grasp the left ankle. Hold for 10 to 30 seconds, and then switch legs.
Sit on the floor in a straddle position with your feet flexed. Gently bend at the waist to grab onto the toes of your left foot, holding the stretch for 10 to 30 seconds. Repeat on the right side.
Tips & Warnings
- Check with your health-care provider before beginning an exercise program for the first time or if you have been away from fitness programs for a while, or if you have any chronic health issues.
- Avoid bouncing when you stretch. Instead, ease into it until you can feel the muscle stretch. Breathe in and out, and relax as you hold the stretch.
- Stretching shouldn't hurt. If you feel a sharp or acute pain while you stretch, stop exercising and see your physician.
- MayoClinic.com: Fitness Training -- Elements of a Well-Rounded Routine
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity
- Georgia State University Department of Kinesiology and Health: Physical Activity
- MayoClinic.com: Strength Training -- Get Stronger, Leaner, Healthier
- American Council on Exercise: Upper Leg Exercises
- American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Warm Up, Cool Down and Be Flexible
- Photo Credit Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images