BlogPhysical ActivityHow to Get Bigger Thighs with At-home Workouts?

How to Get Bigger Thighs with At-home Workouts?

Can you imagine your thighs without regular activity? Even simple exercises may have a drastic effect on your body. Don’t waste a minute to start new workouts to strengthen your thighs.

Taisiia Dobrozorova
Written by Taisiia Dobrozorova on November 10, 2021

Table of contents

To get a beautiful body, you must sweat a lot in training! After a month or two of regular sessions, you can achieve a noticeable result (of course, depending on your initial parameters and desired goals). 

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Some people believe that the most effective exercises are in the gym. On the one hand, that makes sense: for example, to pump up the thighs, one may do weights - and it's more convenient and safer to do this in the gym. 

But on the other hand, it is quite possible to strengthen thighs at home - you just have to work out more often and prepare necessary equipment in advance.

What affects the size of the thighs?

It doesn't hurt first to figure out what problems you may face in achieving your goal to get started with training. Why do your thighs lose their shape and become more flabby and less pumped at all? Or maybe they initially don't look as juicy as in others? Let's discover together!

Your lifestyle may be the most apparent reason why your shapes no longer meet your expectations. Among other things, genetics(1) has a drastic effect on your body size and the form of the bones. 

Your pelvis, femur, and thighs size depends on genes inherited from the parents and do not correlate with the intensity and quantity of exercises.

Also, do not forget about the load of precisely those muscles that affect the shape of the thighs. To this category, we can include:

  • quadricep muscles (important for knee extension)
  • gluteal muscles (the largest ones; work for hip abduction)
  • hamstring muscles (help to bend and unbend the leg)
  • others (the sartorius, pectineus, gracilis, iliopsoas, adductor longus and magnus) 

The fat distribution and somatotype largely determine the structure of your body, so it does not matter how often you exercise if the size of the bones is completely different or your apple-shaped body dominantly stores more fat(2) than a pear-shaped one.

However, this shouldn’t stop you from making minor adjustments to your appearance. More toned muscles and a healthy weight suit everyone.

Woman measures her thighs
Woman measures her thighs

Effective weight-free workouts

If you correctly draw up a training program, then the effect will be no worse than if you were engaged in a gym. By using the key muscles, you can very quickly achieve the desired result. Therefore, the selection of exercises should be primarily determined by the maximum effect on muscle activity.

For those who want to pump up their things at home with no weights, the following exercises will be helpful ones:

Squats

There are many options for doing squats, so we will first describe the rules of regular squats. Sometimes even simple exercises can go wrong, so it's worth listing the basic steps.

  • Stand straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.
  • Lower your shoulders and pull them back. You don't need a rounded back here - otherwise, you will overload the lower back. It is essential to maintain a straight posture throughout the exercise.
  • Move your hips back slightly and begin to bend your knees.
  • Mentally draw a straight line perpendicular to the floor from your toes. Your knees should not go beyond this line.
  • Pull your pelvis back as if there is an invisible chair behind you. The deep squat is the best.
  • Place your body weight on your heels. This is the only way you can load your gluteus muscle and work your ankles and hamstrings.

Follow these guidelines and make a schedule to do the right number of sets per day. Each set should consist of at least 12 reps.

You can also try making this exercise more difficult by choosing the other technique.

Squat
Squat

Pistol squats

  • The exercise perfectly loads the thigh flexors, quadriceps, adductors, gluteus maximus, and middle muscles to develop joint mobility and a sense of balance.
  • Raise your straight leg low from the floor and sit on the other until fully bent at the knee joint.
  • Make sure that the heel of your free leg does not touch the floor and that the supporting leg does not come off it.
  • Get up from the squat, keeping the knee from twisting inward, and repeat the exercise. You can stretch your arms out in front of you - this will make it easier to maintain balance.

This is a fairly complex movement and it may take you weeks to master it. Fortunately, there are many pistol training exercises that will also do great work on your thighs and glutes.

Pistol squat
Pistol squat

Bulgarian split squats

The workout perfectly pumps the front of the thigh and provides a good load on the buttocks. 

  • Stand with your back to a chair and put the toe of one leg on it. You can put your hands on the belt or fold in front of the chest - whichever is more convenient.
  • Squat down to parallel with the thigh of your supporting leg with the floor. If the heel comes off at the same time, move slightly away from the support. 
  • When finishing the squat, make sure that the knee does not curl inward.
Bulgarian split squat
Bulgarian split squat

Lunges

If you want to have beautiful and pumped thighs, be sure to add lunges to your program. Note that you need to squat deep enough, but try not to push your knees forward too much.

  • Stand up straight, feet shoulder-width apart, arms at your sides.
  • Tighten your core muscles and bring your arms to your hips with your leg forward. Bend both legs at a 90-degree angle. The knee of the leg in front should not protrude beyond the toe.
  • Shift your weight to the leg in front. The other leg maintains balance. Keep your chest straight. Leaning on the leg in front, return to the starting position. This is one repeat.
  • Repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Lunge
Lunge

Jumping lunges

Another plyometric movement will make your hips burn after 10-20 reps and pump your glutes and thighs.

  • Lunge forward, then jump up and switch legs in the air. 
  • Land in a lunge on the other leg and continue to alternate between them. 
  • Try not to touch the floor with your knee behind your standing leg not to hit.

Side-lying leg lifts

Some people do squats and lunges incorrectly, so they will not see elastic buttocks and thick thighs. To make a mistake in doing side-lying leg lifts is much more difficult. 

  • Starting position: lie on your right side, lean on your elbow. Bring your left leg forward so that it is straight and not touching the floor. You can bend your right leg slightly for better stability.
  • As you exhale, lift your left leg up as much as possible, slightly turn your foot with your toe to the floor, keep your back straight. As you inhale, lower your straight leg to the starting position.
  • Do 3-4 sets of 20-30 reps.
Side-lying leg lift
Side-lying leg lift

All-fours leg lifts

  • Starting position: get on all fours - rest on your palms and knees. Keep your back straight and tense your abs. The gaze is directed downward.
  • As you exhale, bring your bent leg to the side - as far as flexibility allows - and straighten it back so that it is parallel to the floor. Hold for 1-2 counts, squeezing the buttocks. As you inhale, return your leg to its original position.
  • Do 3-4 sets of 18-25 reps.

Single-leg glute bridge 

This is one of the best back thigh workouts.

  • Lie on your back, bend your knees and place your feet on the floor. Take one leg off the floor and straighten it - this is the starting position. 
  • Then squeeze your buttocks and lift your pelvis as high as possible. 
  • Return to the starting position and repeat.

To make it harder to move, place your supporting foot on a slight elevation, such as on the edge of a sofa. You can also move the supporting leg further from the pelvis - this will also increase the load.

Single-leg glute bridge 
Single-leg glute bridge 

Step-Ups

This exercise is excellent for pumping both the thighs and buttocks.

  • Stand next to a stable support, climb on it and go back down, alternating your legs every other time. 
  • Make sure that the knee of the supporting leg does not turn inward.

If you are just starting to exercise, bodyweight workouts should be enough. But over time, you will have to do more and more reps and sets to tire the muscles and make them grow in size.

Step-Up jumps

Another plyometric exercise that will pump your thighs and calves perfectly.

  • Make sure the chosen support is stable and will not wobble or move under you. 
  • If you have not trained for a long time, pick up furniture no higher than 50 cm. 
  • Jump onto the dais and go back in steps. You don't need to jump down to avoid overloading your knees.

Workouts with weights

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics(3), we tend to lose 3-5 percent of muscle mass each year after the age of 30. Body parts prone to flabbiness react to this immediately. 

If, among other things, for some reason, you want to make your shapes not only elastic but also visually attractive, then working with muscle mass is the first step in this matter. In this case, bodyweight workouts won't tackle the problem. Sooner or later, you will realize the need for weight loads.

Weight is the tool to make any exercise extremely effective. The more it is, the better the muscles swing. But you shouldn't rush to extremes. For example, it's better to increase the load when you are confident in performing the exercises accurately.

For weight training, you don't need a new exercise list. You can improve the same workouts you did without weights by adding dumbbells or sandbags to this formula.

Woman with dumbbell sits in a squat
Woman with dumbbell sits in a squat
Dumbbell squats

Suppose you want to pump up your glutes, squat with dumbbells, imitating the so-called "deadlift" (performed with a barbell). If the emphasis is on the inner thigh, plie squats are a good choice while holding dumbbells or a kettlebell in your hands.

Sandbag leg swings

Various swings are also quite effective: left-right, back-forward. But again, weights should be used for best results. For example, there are special weights(4) for the legs (for instance, sandbags) that you can put on the calves.

Dumbbell lunges

The most popular and safest lunging tool is dumbbells (barbell lunges are more complex and suitable for split training). Start lunges with the lightest dumbbells and gradually increase the number of reps and dumbbell weights. For beginners, this is the best option.

FAQ

How to practice effectively at home?

Choose challenging exercises. For example, try squatting on one leg or exclude the relaxation phase.

Add weight. To do this, you will have to buy compact equipment for home training, for example, expander bands with different resistances. You can also make weights from available tools.

Add jumps. Due to the jumping component, the muscles will get tired much faster. Research(5) has shown that plyometric exercise (jump training or plyos) is as effective for hypertrophy in novice and amateur as strength training with weights.

Combine exercises into supersets. Almost all leg exercises involve opposite muscle groups. For example, when you lower yourself into a squat, the muscles on the back of the thigh tighten, and when you rise, the muscles on the front are involved. Performing two movements on different muscle groups without resting can tire your muscles more and build them up faster.

What exercises would you recommend?

For those who want to pump up their thighs at home, the following exercises will be the main ones: squats, lifts, and lunges.

This will be enough to pump up your thighs. But for greater efficiency, do not stop at the minimum set because strengthening different muscles is possible only with various workouts.

What is the principle of training?

Firstly, you must repeat each exercise at least 12-15 times, 3-4 sets. The rest between sets should be small - no more than a minute. Try to do the exercises slowly enough - you should feel how your body is working. Change activities periodically and increase the load: sometimes the body needs a "shake."

What to eat

The essential component of successful training is proper nutrition. You don't need to go on a strict diet and limit yourself to everything. It is enough to learn the main rules and count the calories consumed. 

For this purpose, there are tables with PFC (protein, fats, and carbs) of the products. If your sides and thighs are pretty bulky, protein and fiber should be dominant in your diet. When the buttocks are large, drying is the way out.

In the case you have normal weight or are slightly overweight, consume:

  • lean meat;
  • fish;
  • fermented milk products with a minimum percentage of fat;
  • eggs;
  • more vegetables.

An equally crucial question for women is how to eat if they are flat. Here the menu will be slightly different. Base your diet on complex carbohydrates(6):

  • porridge;
  • durum pasta;
  • whole-grain bread;
  • vegetables and fruits.

This is what ladies who want to build round gluteal muscles need to eat every day.

Dumbbells and cereal flakes
Dumbbells and cereal flakes

Be sure to eat fractionally. There should be at least 5-6 meals per day but in small portions. Never go hungry. The rule of not eating after six has long been outdated. The last meal should be 3 hours before bedtime.

Another vital factor is the drinking regime. You need to drink a lot!

The Institute of Medicine(7) analyzed survey data about Americans’ average daily water intake. This research defined the daily rate as about 2.7 liters of liquid for a middle woman and 3.7 liters per day for an average man. 

The bottom line

To see discernible progress in building up your thighs, concentrate on developing your diet and exercise regimen.

Drink plenty of water and create a personalized meal plan that matches your current metabolic rate and weight. In this case, be sure to take into account the genetic factor and your somatotype. 

Your body shape can be gynoid (pear-shaped) and android (apple-shaped). Each physique will have its own result from workouts. The main thing is to build muscle mass.

Alternate between different exercises and gradually increase the load. You should not fall off your feet after each set, but normal fatigue is a good indicator of progress.

Follow these simple rules, and you'll make your butt and thighs juicy without leaving your home!