Keep your Eyes on the Thighs

woman doing lungeWe have a lot of mixed feelings about our thighs. Men might not pay much attention to them compared to chests and arms. Women often find thighs to be their trouble spot.

Are they big enough, thin enough, sculpted enough or smooth enough? If you’re not feeling pride in your thighs, the time has come to give them some positive attention.

Prized Thighs

The two largest, strongest, heaviest bones in your body are located in your thighs—your right and left femur. These bones serve to connect your core and upper half with your lower body and carry you around—that’s important, because if you don’t have a working femur then you don’t have use of a leg.

Thighs are meant to be strong. A prosthetic leg is now made of titanium, which comes with the highest weight-to-strength ratio of any metal. The muscles of your thighs work like a rail system that moves you through space.

You’ve got more than a dozen muscles in your upper leg helping you go in any direction you’d like. Some of them are long and rope-like, others are thicker braids of brawn. Whatever movement you take on, from bending and jumping to getting up and stepping aside, your thighs will be called upon. Change your foot positions and angles to help recruit from different muscles.

For the healthiest, fittest thighs, take care of both muscles and bones. A combination of light impact (like walking or step aerobics) and strength work that activates the lower body (like squats and lunges) is a straightforward way to maximize the shape and power of your thighs. Be sure you’re eating plenty of bone building nutrients, also—calcium and vitamin D, plus magnesium and potassium to help you metabolize the first two.

Exercise Recommendations for your Thighs

  • If you’re trying to build mass, go with a high-volume workout, plenty of reps and heavier weights. As mentioned, be sure you’re squatting, lunging, and bending at the knee. Using a barbell both front and back for squats starts a mighty thigh workout.
  • If you’re looking to build power for athletic activities, add plyometric (explosive) moves, like jumping on and off a box. A bit of extra emphasis on the hamstrings will help too—Romanian deadlifts, for example.
  • If you want to isolate thigh work, strength equipment will help you do that. Choose the leg press, leg curl and leg extension machines, at weights and reps that will work your muscles to failure.
  • If you are trying to slim your thighs and go for a willowy look, try dancing and/or martial arts. The group fitness schedule will offer you some options.
  • If you’re working on losing body weight, you can feel the burn (and burn the calories) on a stationary bicycle or in a group fitness cycling class.

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