HomeWeight lossLegsHow to Slim Thighs – The Thigh Gap!

How to Slim Thighs – The Thigh Gap!

How to slim thighsA woman’s thighs tend to start to get skinny at a body fat percentage of approximately 18%. However, for your thighs to become slim, tight and toned you first need to know what type of thighs you have, otherwise you may inadvertently make your thighs bigger.

Do you feel you have fat thighs, muscular thighs or just aren’t sure? To successfully slim down thighs take the test below. The result will help you determine whether you need to lose fat from thighs or need to slim down muscular thighs.


Before you set about trying to slim down your thighs, you need to establish whether you have big thigh muscles or a lot of thigh fat.

  1. Straighten your leg
  2. Tighten your thigh muscles
  3. Pinch the top layer of fat and skin of the thigh

If there is much to pinch, then fat is making your thighs big and you’ll also probably suffer with cellulite. (read more about fat thighs)

If there is little to pinch, you have large thigh muscles and little fat and will have little cellulite, if any. (read more about muscular thighs)


1. Avoid exercises such as squats

Avoid exercises such as squats, lunges, leg curls, stiff-legged deadlifts, leg extensions and calf raises, especially with heavy weights for now. They DO NOT slim thighs. A piece of cardio machinery you would do well to avoid is the Stairmaster/ step machine. Although these exercise are often promoted to make thighs smaller, they actually target thigh muscles and can make them bigger. Weight training make muscle fibers larger. You can do these exercises once you have striped fat from your thighs and have a clearer idea of how muscular your thighs are.

2. Cardiovascular exercise to slim thighs

This is the main tool in your arsenal. Your cardio goal should be to burn fat without gaining much muscle mass in the thighs. To achieve this you need to avoid working the thigh muscles more than necessary. If you are working out on cardio equipment, you need to keep the resistance low (e.g. elliptical trainer, stationary bike) or the incline low (treadmill). However, aim for a moderately high intensity (how hard you are exercising) for maximum effectiveness. Use the heart rate calculator. If you are exercising outside avoid hilly terrain.

3. Long-duration cardio to burn fat without bulking up

This will avoid targeting the type of muscle fiber that makes muscle get big and bulky. Instead, long-duration cardio (e.g. long-distance running) will target a smaller muscle fiber that has very limited capacity for growth. The result is that you build stronger muscle without building big thigh muscles, while burning fat. On the other hand, avoid short intense bouts of cardio (e.g. sprinting, HIIT). Although this can be a great fat burner, it may also increase the size of your thigh muscles. Endurance running is one of the most effective exercise to get defined, slim thighs and legs. Endurance runners tend to have very slim legs, especially in compared with sprinters who have highly developed and very large thigh muscles.

4. Running to slim thighs and reshape legs

Endurance running is especially effective in those who have big thigh muscles, as it may decrease the size of the muscles and reduce fat around the muscle to make the thighs smaller. It will completely transform the size and make-up of your thighs and your calves. Therefore, to slim down thighs do endurance running with little or no incline. If you find it too difficult to run or are unable to run, try the elliptical trainer with little or no resistance. Posture on the elliptical trainer is critical. Correct posture will target your butt, outer thigh and hamstring muscles (back of thighs) and lessen the strain on your quadriceps (front of thighs), avoiding you from inadvertently building big thighs.

5. Resistance training

When you have lost some fat from your thighs you can think about resistance training. If you need to increase muscle mass in order to increase the shape and definition of your thighs you can implement resistance exercises. In order to have fantastic legs you need muscle. Therefore, if you lack shape having lost weight, a program of resistance training targeting the legs will help to shape and firm them. Be sure to keep the weights moderately light (up to 70% of your one-lift maximum), so that your thigh muscles become harder, stronger and more defined, but not significantly larger. In other words, focus on completing more repetitions, with less resistance. Those who have the type of muscle (mesomorphs) that responds quickly and gets big need to be particularly vigilant and may not choose not to do any such exercises, since their thigh muscles are already well toned.

6. Patience

You need to be patient and focused on what you want to achieve. You cannot burn body fat in specific areas, especially inner thigh fat. You cannot spot reduce. Body fat is lost from the entire body during weight loss. The inner thighs will be one of the last areas of the body in a woman to be slim and firm. Just remember to be realistic and to take your body shape, genetics and current level of body fat into consideration when setting goals. You can get slim thighs, but you need time to get there.

7. Targeted workout program

Check out Visual Impact for Women (there’s also Visual Impact for Men). If you need to reduce inches – fat or muscle – or feel you are overly muscular this program is certainly is worth investigating. The author tackles the issue of wanting to get fit and lean without getting big or bulky head on. The program specifically addresses the problem of being overly muscular and takes it seriously; offering a comprehensive strategy that encompasses diet, cardiovascular exercise and resistance training aimed at reducing – not gaining – inches. In chapter 1 the author has this to say:

“Sick of hearing that it impossible for you to gain too much muscle because you don’t have enough testosterone? I will discuss that and other myths told to women on a consistent basis.”

Visual Impact for Women also has solutions on how to decrease muscle mass, if you feel you are too bulky. Here’s a description from one of the chapters of Visual Impact for Women:

“Legions of women have muscular thighs and calves that they would like to make slim and defined. This is common especially with women who have been given poor training advice. Despite this being a taboo subject, I’m going to give you a strategy that works.


  1. Hello. I’ve been reading a lot on this website and I’m finding it great. But I’m a little confused so maybe you could help me to make my ” workout” plan with me and your help. My body type is MESOMORPH. I want to get slim, and toned, but I don’t want big bulky muscles. I’m prepared to work really hard. I want to tone my belly area, cause now its horrible. Also I have fatty tights, but I really want to tone it up and have nice tights. Basically I want to tone up my hole body. What exercises should I do and how often? Is there a specific diet I should follow. Please help me. Thank you in advance. Karolina

    • Hi Karolina.

      It sounds like you are a mesomorph carrying more body fat than you’d like and that you have a problem area, which is your belly.
      1. Focus on doing cardiovascular exercise such as running (not cycling/ spinning/ stairmaster etc.). Long-duration cardio mixed up with some shorter, intense workouts such as HIIT, since your main problem at the moment seems to be fatty thighs. Aim for at least 3 days a week, but preferably 5 days.
      2. Don’t do resistance training targeting your thighs until you have stripped off some of the thigh fat and can see what you’re working with. If you’re happy with the size of your thigh muscles, just continue with cardio, if you’d like your thighs to be bigger/ more shapely you can start doing exercises that target your thighs.
      3. You need to create a calorie deficit to lose weight. The best way to do that is through diet. You can use the calorie calculator to determine your calorie needs and then reduce that by about 500 calories. See here on how to reduce calories to lose weight.
      4. Cardio and a calorie controlled diet will help you lose fat. But the type of diet can make a difference as to where the fat is lost. A Mediterranean style diet has been shown to boost fat loss from the belly area, see here. So in terms of diet, I would go with that.
      5. You can also strengthen your transverse abdominis muscle, which is an abdominal muscle that acts like a corset pulling you in. Basically a stronger corset muscle makes you appear slimmer. An exercise called abdominal hollowing/ abdominal vacuum targets this muscle.
      Good luck. Let me know how it goes!

  2. Hi, thanks so much for all this info, but im still a bit confused. My body type is Endomorph, and I have quite muscular thighs because I do sports. I also want to loose some fat around the belly, and basically get my whole body toned up. What exercises should I do to keep some of the muscle, but loose fat in the belly and thighs? Should I stick to a specific diet plan to do this? Thanks a ton! x

    • Hi Danielle!

      Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. HIIT is an awesome way to burn fat without losing muscle. Read about it here. In terms of belly fat, some diets are better than others to help you lose belly fat. Read about this here. You sound as though you’re an endomorph with a good amount of muscle mass, which means that once you reduce your body fat percentage through cardio and diet, you should have a firm, toned body. Good luck!

  3. Hi there! I have been an avid fan of your website for a week now and I’m one of the 90% of women that hate their thunder thighs. I’m a pear shape so it’s pretty hard for me to lose my thigh weight that I have been trying to do for a year now with all the taebo workouts and all. I got a nicer body alright but my thighs are still the same (only with more muscle) But now that I’ve read this article, I now want to try my hand in long-distance running. May I ask specifically how many hours or minutes to I have to at least run? And also I there’s a specific diet I should stick too? As it’s written, it says that I can’t change my body type so seeing that I’m a pear- is there any hope for me to actually see me have wonderful non-fatty thighs? Thank you in advance!


    • Hi Isabel! Sorry for not getting back to you quicker. You can change how your body looks, but you can’t change your body type. In other words, if you’re an endomorph, you can look more mesomorphic or ectomorphic. But you still have to eat and exercise for your endomorph body type, because your metabolism, propensity for weight gain etc. are still that of an endomorph. The same goes for body shape. You can’t change your body shape, but you can go from being a big pear, to a smaller pear (i.e. weight loss through diet and cardio) and then, if you want, employ resistance training targeting the upper body to increase size and bring more balance to your body shape.

      In terms of how long to run, if you’re a beginner start with a run/walk program to work up to 20 or 30 minutes and continue to increase how long you can run from there. There isn’t really a specific diet to help you lose weight from the thighs, but the healthier the better. If you’re an endomorph, you might respond well to reducing your carb intake and increasing lean protein. You can also try something like zig-zagging your calorie intake when you’re trying to shift the stubborn fat from your thigh area. Good luck!

  4. “if there is much to pinch” – “if there is little to pinch”

    how do i determine how much is ‘much’ or ‘little’ ? an inch?

    • Hi CJ.

      To a certain degree it is relative. If your thighs are large (which is also relative, i.e. they are larger than YOU want them to be) but there is little fat to pinch and your thighs are firm, your thigh muscles make up most of the mass in your thighs. It’s just a simple way of finding out whether your thighs are muscular or fat. Also, it not really possible to give an absolute number, as an inch on someone who is 5′ is a lot more than on someone who is, say, 6′.

  5. Hi, I am just wondering if walking at a moderate pace (5.4 kilometers an hour) for long sessions fits into the goal of not gaining muscle, along with following a 1400 calorie a day diet, would this shed the fat on my thighs AND butt without increasing muscle too much?

    • Hi Rosie.

      Walking on the flat, in conjunction with your calorie-controlled diet shouldn’t increase the size of your thighs and butt, but should help you get smaller. Just avoid hilly terrain. If you want to run, but find running difficult, try the cross-trainer/ elliptical machine on low-resistance. That can give a great workout without the high-impact of running.

  6. What kind of cardio exercises for thigh slimming instead of thigh-workout?

  7. Hello,

    I’d like to slim my thighs but also lose weight overall. After coming across this site though, I feel like I can’t win. I’d like to lose weight in my thighs but they are composed of more muscle than fat, and according to your article, there are certain exercises I need to avoid in order to prevent building more muscle in my thighs; however, I NEED to do those exercises in order to lose overall weight. I now feel like if I exercise on the treadmill, I have to either stick to exercises that will not increase my thigh muscles, or stick to exercises that will help me lose weight overall but yet increase my thigh muscles….I feel trapped and like I cannot achieve what I want. What do I do?

    • I’m not sure which exercises you’re referring to, which you cannot do in order to lose weight. The main exercise recommended for those wishing to avoid bulking up their thighs is long-distance running on a flat surface. This is an incredible way to lose weight and get fit – even without taking into consideration the fact that it can help slim down muscular thighs. In other words, you should be able to lose weight and avoid increasing the size of your thigh muscles.

  8. Hi,
    First of all, thanks for all the info it is really refreshing to read an article that doesn’t promote thinner thighs in 24hours!!
    I don’t normally leave comments but I was wondering if you could help me. I’m a pear shape type and I’ve been following a diet and exercise regime for almost a year now and it’s working out quite well for me. My main focus at the beginning was to lose weight, which i have done, three months ago i started the maintaining phase and even though i’m somewhat happy with my current weight (just a little above 10 stone (178cm height)- according to your body fat calculator i’m at 18.4%) i’d really like to focus on my thighs and get them thinner looking. My problem is that cardio makes me lose weight of areas where i cannot afford to lose more weight (i.e. my top half) so i don’t know whether i should now start with the resistance training or continue with the cardio (or maybe do both?)
    Hoping you could help me,

    • Hi Issey,

      I’m glad you like the article! Great job on losing weight and reaching your goals! The problem with being pear-shaped is that either your lower body will be bigger than you want (and your upper body just right) or your upper body will be skinnier than you want (and your lower body just right). The best way to address this is to make your lower body as slim as you can without being unhealthy and too skinny on top, and then using resistance training targeting only the upper body to make it a bit bigger in order to balance it with your lower body. For example, your arms might be skinny and your arm muscle undeveloped, while your thigh muscles are strong. Building your arm muscles means you upper and lower body will look more alike and your body will be more proportional. The trick is to do different exercises for the upper and lower body – slim the lower body as much as you can, increase the upper body.

      You’re in the maintenance phase, but you still need to continue exercising to maintain your weight loss, as well as for general health and fitness. You can make running your exercise of choice, which will help slim your thigh muscles. If you find you’re losing weight, simply increase your calorie intake to match the calories you’re burning.

  9. Hello! I have a very pronounced hourglass figure. However the problem that I face is that though my thighs are large in the muscular sense, I’ve no choice but to walk up a multitude of stairs and hills simply to get to my workplace (it’s a steep uphill incline) and another one to get home (even steeper than the hill to my workplace). Is there a way to balance those monstrosities with extended distance running?

    • Running should help counteract the stair climbing, but in all likelihood won’t be as effective in slimming your thighs as if you weren’t “exercising” against resistance.

  10. Hi! i would like to slim my thighs down and tone my stomach (my thighs seem to me a-lot bigger than they need to be). my body type is mesomorph. is there a diet plan or exercise i am suppose to do and/or diet plan i am suppose to follow ( if there is a diet plan i would like to know what types of food i am suppose to eat when i am suppose to eat them and/or if there is a exercise i am suppose to do how much times a week i am suppose to do it and what type of exercise is it.) help me please!!!!

    Thank you in andvance


  11. Hey there. i’m only 5.1 in my height and have fat thighs, which makes me look like a golf ball. i have a flat stomach for some reason, which makes me think everything i eat is going straight to my thighs. i have been doing cardio work outs for about 2 weaks and i know it takes time to take the weight off but i was wondering if you could suggest something better and faster to help me take the weight off. and roughly how long it will take me to do so. thank you in advance.

    • Aim to lose between 1 – 2 lbs of weight per week. If you lose weight much faster than this, unless you are very overweight, you also risk losing a great deal of muscle. If you’re losing much less than this increase the time you’re exercising and/ or the intensity of your workout. Try reducing your calorie intake and/ or zig-zagging your calories (how to reduce calories). Also, thigh fat can be very stubborn. Read this about how to lose stubborn fat.