The thigh exercises listed below primary work the quadriceps muscles. But that's not all. You will notice these leg exercises also work your glutes, hamstrings, and even your calves.
That's the nice thing about bodyweight exercises. The movements are natural, so even though there is a primary muscle group doing most of the work, the other muscle groups join in to support just like they were meant to. That means you are developing you main muscles and also developing the supporting and stabilizing muscles that help with balance and coordination.
For the quadriceps or thigh muscles, you can think as simple as you want to or get as creative as you want to. And you don't need a gym to do it. Here are some boot camp style squat and lunge leg exercises that will get you started.
As you get familiar with these exercises, it might be helpful to think of the quad muscles as the muscles that extend the leg. So whether you are running, jumping, squatting, lifting, or simply kicking ass, strong quads make you better at it.
The muscles of the quads can be worked in a lot of different ways. As you go through the exercises below and their variations, you'll notice you're making the muscles work a little differently and with different amounts of intensity in each of the cases.
It's important to keep that variability in mind and keep it in your workouts. Changing things up by adding new thigh exercises, i.e. making your legs work in ways they haven't gotten used to yet, is how you avoid plateaus (and getting bored). It's good to have new challenges.
Lunges are one of the great go-to leg exercises for the thighs as well as the glutes and hips.
Read through this page, particularly if you are new to lunges, to get started on the right foot (so to speak).
Technique is the key. This is a great thigh exercise when you do it right – but don’t put undue stress on your knees.
The wall squat / wall sit is a simple and very effective leg exercise that you will feel in your thighs as well as your glutes.
As you can see, you can do this move just about anywhere you have a wall.
The side lunge is a leg exercise that will feel like the cross between a lunge and a squat.
This move works the major muscles of the lower body, but works the thighs, glutes, and hips a little bit differently.
Some simple modifications will target the inner thigh as well.
The split single leg squat is an excellent exercise to build leg strength, balance, and coordination. Pay close attention to your technique to make sure you are getting the most out of the exercise and not inviting injury.
The air squat works all of the major muscle groups of the lower body, but it primarily works the thighs.
Step Right Up!
Step Ups are SO good and SO effective that almost every gym in the country offers step aerobic classes. Weight loss AND toning. They’re hard to beat.
The crossover lunge is a really nice thigh exercise that puts real focus on the thighs and glutes because of how it isolates the muscles.
The crossover lunge also teaches coordination and balance.
The variations to squats and lunges are only limited to your imagination. Stick with these for a while and you absolutely will see a big improvement in your lower body strength and shape. Not only that, your balance and coordination will also improve.