HomeWeight lossLegsHow to Slim Big Thighs – Muscular vs Fat Thighs

How to Slim Big Thighs – Muscular vs Fat Thighs

how to slim down big thighsBefore you set about losing weight from thighs first understand the factors that influence the size of your thighs. This will allow you to choose the right thigh exercises, tailored to your needs, goals and body type.



Women and men have so-called sex-specific fat deposits. Sex hormones affect fat distribution. Estrogen directs fat to deposit around the pelvis, buttocks, and outer and inner thighs of women, while testosterone means men store fat in the belly area. This makes it far more difficult for women to shift fat from the hips, butt and thighs than from other areas of the body – areas of so-called stubborn fat. While it is obviously the bane of many a woman’s life, there is a biological advantage – this type of fat is thought to play a role in fertility and lactation. Interestingly, it appears that during lactation, this stubborn fat is not quite so stubborn and easier to budge than normally.


Your body shape will have significant bearing on the size of your thighs. Pear-shaped women will suffer the worst of it, with large thighs and butt, while cone-shaped women will have slim thighs and legs compared to the rest of their body. You cannot change your body shape and if you are pear-shaped you will have to work harder slim down thighs and inner thighs. However, don’t despair, Jennifer Lopez is a perfect example of a pear shape – yet no one gives a second thought about the size of her thighs, but instead extol her shapely derriere.

3. FAT

Your thighs may simply be large because you have a lot of fat in this area – fatty thighs. As explained above, most women will have a natural tendency to deposit fat in their outer and inner thighs. Unfortunately, this means that this is one of the last places fat then the shift, which means you need to be patient and determined to see results. For women legs tend to slim around a body fat percentage of 18%. Therefore, you can strip away thigh fat, to get slim thighs, but it will take time. Use the body fat calculator to determine your body fat percentage.

The best thigh exercises for you are the ones that don’t simply firm and tone, but strip fat from thighs, to make big thighs smaller (see how to lose fat from thighs). If you don’t burn fat, you wont get slimmer thighs. Thus, any thigh exercises that only firm thighs, but do not burn fat will do little to actually slim thighs, since your thigh muscles remain firmly hidden under a layer of thigh fat.


Another reason for large thighs is that you may naturally have large thigh muscles. Muscle is made up of muscle fibers. There are different types of muscle fibers, which also vary in size. You are probably have a larger proportion of Type II muscle fibers (large) commonly found in sprinters and power athletes than Type I fibers (small) generally found in endurance athletes. Muscular thighs, even if thighs are toned, means larger thighs. Unfortunately, you can’t shift muscle like you can shift fat. Not that you would want to. Muscle is healthy, excessive fat is not. However, don’t be disheartened, there are a couple of causes of big thigh muscles you may be able to do something about, to slim thighs:

  • It may be the case that you don’t have a genetic tendency to have big thigh muscles, but that you have a natural tendency to gain a lot of muscle in your thighs with exercise. High-resistance/ high-incline exercise (e.g. treadmill or elliptical trainer) or spot reduction exercises for your thighs/ inner thigh exercises may have made you thigh muscles bigger (see how to lose weight from thighs). Sports such as ice skating and dancing also tend to produce powerful thighs. Therefore, if you have been doing these type of exercises that target thighs in a bid to get slimmer thighs, you may need to rethink your workout strategy.
  • You are genetically programmed to have large muscles (mesomorph body type), but you may also have a lot of fat around the muscle. In other words, you have a lot of fat and a lot of muscle. Stripping the fat from your outer and inner thighs will slim thighs significantly and you might just find that some beautifully defined legs are lurking underneath that thigh fat.



how to lose weight from thighs

To understand how to slim thighs you need to understand a little about how your thigh is constructed, i.e. thigh anatomy. There are several layers that go into making your thigh. The first layer is obviously skin. Under the skin is a layer of fat. The yellow colored stuff you can see in the picture is fat. This thigh fat surrounds the thigh muscles. When you gain weight, that yellow layer gets much thicker making your thigh bigger. The red colored stuff under the fat is muscle. When you exercise these muscles in a certain way, they get larger, which in turn makes the thighs bigger. That’s why, when wanting to slim thighs, you need to think about both thigh fat and thigh muscle. Both go up and down in size, influencing the proportions of your thighs.

Take the slim thigh test to determine whether you have fatty thighs or big thigh muscles.


  1. Hey!
    I love this article. Very helpful.
    I have a question.

    I need to tone down my thighs, they are mostly muscle and I am considering endurance running on a treadmill since it is on my disposal. The problem is that I’m afraid that doing endurance running will also cause my butt to shrink which I really would not like to happen. Any suggestions?

    • Hey Anya! I’m glad you’re liking the article. That’s a REALLY good question.

      All the research I’ve found on this has focused on the leg muscles. But, it does make sense that it could also impact the gluteal (butt) muscles – to which degree I’m not sure. The best thing would be to do some resistance training that targets the gluteal muscles to counteract the effect of running. However, you have to be careful with that, because most exercises that target the butt also target the thighs, which would undo the work you’re putting in to slim them down. The exercises you should go for would be isolation exercises (exercises that work only one muscle/ muscle group) that target the glutes. Stay away from compound exercises like squats and lunges. Isolation exercises that work the glutes are glute kickbacks, low pulley glute extensions and glute push-ups. These exercises mainly work the glutes and to a lesser degree the hamstrings (back of thigh). When I can I’ll try to expand on this and write an article on it. Hope this helps!

  2. thank you so much for a quick response.
    I’ll continue with the stamina running and I’ll address the glutes as well.

  3. Although it might be a little strange, since not many guys really care about their thigh sizes, I would like to make my thighs skinnier somehow. I’m not really sure what exersizes I should do though, or if there are different exersizes depending on how tall you are.

    Would you please help me?

    Thank you!!

    • It’s not that uncommon. Guys can spend years focusing on building mass in their legs and getting as big as they can. However, circumstances change, they feel heavier and slower, they don’t like how their clothes fit, they’re into a new sport that requires them to be lighter, etc. In any case, the same basic principles apply to men and women. You need to cut back on any resistance training that targets the thighs and focus on endurance running. You’ll find more on how to slim thighs here.

  4. How do i reduce muscular quadriceps?

  5. I think I have muscle and fat but there is alot of fat there,
    What should I do to make my legs slimmer, especially the inner thigh!

    • Hi Natalie.

      Read this about how to slim thighs. If you have a lot of fat to lose and are not too worried about your thigh muscles at this stage, you can also include some HIIT in combination with distance running and as you reach your goal weight cut back on the HIIT and focus on endurance running.

  6. This really helped me, as I’m one of those people who’s inner thighs touch no matter what, and I’m a dancer, so that isn’t/wasn’t a good thing. I’m also a skinny-fat person, so it’s annoying when people freak and think I’m anorexic just because I eat (and LOVE) vegetables, avoid exesive junk food and exercise, even though I “look” skinny, especially since I’m only just now 16.

    Anyway, thanks again! :)


  7. I want to slim down my thighs but I am a dancer and I use my muscles to dance…. Is there any way to slim down without stopping my dance?

    • Hi Ashley!

      Dancing involves explosive movements and strength. In a way it’s a similar type of activity to weight lifting. So, if you’re still doing the type of exercise that makes/ keeps the leg muscles big, you’ll find it difficult to make them smaller. If you look at most dancer’s physiques, they tend to be quite muscular, especially in the thigh area. I expect to be a good dancer you need strong thighs, in which case slimming your thighs would be detrimental to your dance and probably increase the risk of injury.