Thigh exercises will help to improve muscle tone and strength in your legs and if the correct exercise routine is followed can also form part of a good bodybuilding workout. They can also help to improve performance in many sports, Including football, cycling, skiing and martial arts, and most of the best workout programs will include a range of leg and thigh exercises.
As with all exercise it is important that thigh exercises are carried out safely and correctly for maximum effect. There are three sets of muscles in the thigh area, these are the quadriceps (quads), which are at the front, the hamstrings at the back, and the hip adductors on the inside. The purpose of the quadriceps and hamstrings is to bend or extend the leg whilst the adductor muscles pull the legs together.
One of the reasons it is important that thigh exercises are carried out using the correct technique is that the quads and hamstrings are particularly susceptible to injury because they cross both the knee and hip joints.
Thigh exercises mainly include squats, lunges and step ups in a variety of forms and varying techniques.
- Quad exercises include squats, front and rear lunges and step ups.
- Hamstring exercises include leg curls, straight leg deadlift and hamstring raise.
- Hip adductor exercises include hip adduction and seated hip adduction.
Most of these thigh exercises can be performed either with or without weights, depending on the ultimate goal of your exercise program. If it’s for general strength and fitness, you’ll probably use mainly smaller weights or none at all, if it is for massive strength and bodybuilding, then the weights will be considerably larger, and the exercise routine will mainly be fewer reps and involve training to failure (when you cannot complete the final rep).
Some of the thigh exercises require the use of exercise benches or more specialised equipment for maximum effect, although there are ways that most of them can be completed at home, and will still give good results. For example, step ups can easily be performed on the stairs or on a suitable doorstep.
Hip adductor exercises involve pulling your legs or knees together while using some form of weights or tension. Thigh exercise equipment achieves this by using cable or lever mechanisms, together with weights to provide resistance. Depending on the exercise you can be standing or seated.
The resistance can also be provided in other ways such as the use of an exercise ball, pushing your legs together against the ball helps workout your inner thigh muscles in a similar way to other thigh exercises.
Squats, deadlifts and curls are some of the most effective thigh exercises particularly when performed using the appropriate equipment or weights, but as mentioned earlier most have some form that can be performed at home.
There are too many variations of thigh exercises to list here, although a few examples are front squat, hack squat, side lunge, side split squat, vertical leg press and many more.
You may decide that you want massive, ripped, bodybuilder style legs, or perhaps just better defined thighs and improved strength and fitness, but whatever your goal is it’s important to ensure you follow the right exercise routine for the best results.
To ensure that your leg and thigh exercises are carried out safely and effectively, and to give you the best chance of achieving your exercise goals don’t forget to check out our guide to finding the best workouts for your needs and take a look at our workout reviews.