Legs Eleven: Best Cardio Machines to Slim Thighs

Long slim legs are an attribute that many of us desire, but are they a realistic goal? In this post, we’re going to discuss body shapes, the pitfalls of attempting to spot fix areas, and exercises that will build tone and definition in the legs.

We’ll be mainly addressing the ladies, because this is an issue that women tend to be more concerned about, but the exercise advice is applicable to both men and women.

Different types of thigh and body shapes – which one are you?

We all come in different shapes and sizes. When describing women’s body types, it’s common to use the

  • ‘apple’ – top heavy and tend to have slimmer legs
  • ‘pear’ – are narrow on top and slope outwards on the bottom, typically having thick thighs
  • ‘rectangle’ – rectangles are straight up and down
  • ‘hourglass’ – and hourglasses carry an even amount of weight on the top and bottom, with a small waist in between

While these labels are fairly simple and only give a rough description of a woman’s silhouette, they are important for planning body goals.


Can you just lose weight from your thighs?

Best exercise machines for toning thighs?

You can’t lose fat from just your thighs, or any other area

The reason for this is it’s not possible to spot reduce fat. So, if you want slimmer thighs, you must lose weight all over your body. You can’t just burn thigh fat. For shapes that tend to carry weight on their thighs, it’s important to recognise and accept the fact that – no matter how hard you train – your body proportions will not alter drastically.

While you can’t choose where you lose weight from, you can target specific muscle groups.

However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t ever become happy with your thighs, only that you shouldn’t set unrealistic body goals.


What are the thigh muscles called

So which muscles are we targeting with machines and other exercises?

The thighs are composed of a whole collection of muscles, more than you might think.

Does working out make your thighs smaller?

The way to slim your thighs is to lose weight all over your body. In addition to eating a calorie-controlled diet, you should engage in cardio exercise 2-3 times a week and do some form of weightlifting 2-3 times a week.

Cardio burns calories while you’re in the gym and weightlifting increases your metabolism outside of the gym (for more, see this post). If you stick to this basic routine, you will become slimmer everywhere – including your thighs.

Why aren’t my thighs slimming down?

There are limits to how successful weight loss will be to the goal of having thin thighs because, at some point, it will not be feasible to lose any more weight (in terms of health and wellbeing).

If you’re a healthy weight and still self-conscious about your thighs, instead of fixating on making them smaller start thinking about how you can enhance their appearance. Strong, toned legs are attractive – regardless of what size they are.

Own your body shape and start to set goals that don’t revolve around reducing size. Focusing on strength should produce a new set of more attainable lower body goals. Thanksfully there are plenty of good exercise machines we can use to build up thighs at home, and a whole boatload of workouts anyone can do.

Proven Ways to tone up thighs and bum fast with cardio

Squats for thigh muscles

Three of the best cardio classes for toning your thighs are HIIT, spinning, and rebounding.

Why is HIIT good for slimming legs?

Yes. HIIT sessions workout your entire body and, because you change activity so often, are a very engaging way to exercise.

Why is spinning good for slimming thighs?

Spinning, also known as indoor cycling, is a great for people who want full control over the intensity of their workout.

An instructor will call out a gear range, but it’s up to you to decide how heavy to go. It engages all of the leg muscles and the bum muscles, making it one of the best exercises for toning the lower body.

What is Rebounding and how does it help tone up thighs?

Rebounding is also particularly good for the lower body because it activates the leg, thigh and bum muscles. What’s great about rebounding is that it supports your bodyweight throughout, so there’s no undue pressure put on the joints.

Rebounders for thighs

Rebounders are a superb, safe way to build strength and tone with your thigh muscles.

This makes it particularly suited to beginners, people with health conditions, and older people. It’s also one of the most fun ways to workout, we highly recommend that everybody try it at least once!

Check out our guide – Benefit of Jumping on a Trampoline At Home


What are some good machines for toning thighs?

Recumbent exercise bikes

We’ve written a lot about these reclining bikes here and for good reason. They’re especially good at toning your thighs as they really drill down on your upper legs specifically. Crank up the resistance and you can get a seriously tough workout in on your upper leg muscles in 10 minutes – 15 if you’re feeling brave. Recumbent bikes are great for any age or fitness level and they’re a fantastic tool to get your thighs in shape.

Inner and outer thigh machine

While this one is rarely part of a multigym, and is normally found in commercial gyms only, it’s a good way to train your thighs:

Secrets on how to build thigh muscle at home

The best cheap fitness gear to tone up your upper legs

Proving that not all the best gym gear has to cost a fortune, there’s a blisteringly good fitness gadget you can get to get your thigh muscles looking way better. Thigh trainers are simple manual fitness tools that are ideal for getting upper legs toned up.

Use squats for thinner thighs & better definition

One legged squats for thighs

One leg squats are also incredibly effective at toning thigh muscles fast

Cardio is great for burning calories and building tone, but to really tighten and define your lower body you must strengthen your muscles. For a tight bum, combine everybody’s favourite bodyweight exercise – squats – with free weights.

Try lunges for thicker thighs

You can also do the same with lunges. Holding weights while you perform these moves increases their intensity and makes them more effective. They’re also great for toning your thighs.

Is the leg press machine good for toning thighs?

Leg press machines and deadlifts are good for toning your thighs and calves. If you’d prefer to do bodyweight exercises, try lunges, reverse lunges and lateral lunges (type ‘how to do …’ into YouTube for step-by-step guides).

Inflatable stability balls can also be used in a variety of ways, from hamstring squeezes to plain old sitting and bouncing while watching TV (every little helps!). Step exercises, done using a single step or bench, are extremely good for toning your thighs.

Some quick, sneaky ways to tone your thighs at home

Heck, even taking the stairs instead of using the escalator is a mini thigh workout.

Making the most of your shape: how to feel better about your thighs

Hopefully this post will have helped you to re-evaluate your thigh goals. Smaller doesn’t always mean better and if reducing your thigh size involves losing too much weight, you need to work on accepting your body shape, not working out.

Strengthening and toning your legs can be a much better and more achievable way of enhancing their appearance.


References & Further Reading

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