The Best Thigh Exercise: Side Lunges

Published January 31, 2019
<article> <section> <p>Chances are if you’ve been anywhere near social media or a television set, you’ve heard about the elusive <i>thigh gap</i>. When a person has very little fat and/or muscle in their quadricep region, they may have a space between their thighs-that’s the thigh gap. For many of us, a thigh gap might simply be unattainable due to our genetics, lifestyle, or other factors. And it’s important to note that while having a space between your thighs may be a sign of low body fat, it’s not inherently a marker of good health.</p> <p>But as we’ll show you in this article-and as we demonstrate in our helpful video<sup>1</sup>-if you feel uncomfortable with the size of your legs or you’re tired of the chafing and other frustrating side effects of having larger thighs, there are things you can do to help slim them. The exercise we’re going to share with you here is one of the absolute best thigh exercises for building strength and trimming fat in your thighs, so keep reading to learn more about how to slim thighs with this highly effective move. </p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Why do we have fat around our thighs?</header> <p>First, in order to better understand how fat distribution works and how we can use that knowledge to our advantage, let’s learn a little bit more about why some of us have fat around our thighs in the first place.</p> <p>As with all other types of fat on the body, fat on the thighs is a result of consuming more calories than you burn. It’s important to remember that fat in and of itself is not a bad thing. We have body fat in order to cushion our vital organs, keep ourselves warm, and as a stored energy source that we use when we’re facing starvation.</p> <p>But the main problem is that the human body evolved for life in the wild. As a species, we’ve existed for around 200,000 years, but it’s only been within the last century that most of us started to live more sedentary lifestyles, foregoing hard labor for the office chair. Our bodies still function as though we are living in nature, but now we have consistent access to food and shelter with very minimal effort. With these creature comforts at our fingertips, it’s incredibly easy to eat a high-calorie diet while failing to get adequate exercise-or even any at all. As a result, many of us are consuming far more food than we need.</p> <p>The point at which body fat begins to develop is, again, when we eat more calories than we burn off. Your personal body fat distributions is influenced by a number of things including genetic factors that cause some of us to store more fat in our bellies, and for others, in our arms or legs. </p> <p>The sex you were assigned at birth also plays an important role with males tending to store fat around the belly and females generally seeing more of it around their hips, thighs, and buttocks. The hips and thighs in particular have a bunch of estrogen receptors which encourage the storage of fat in these areas, particularly among premenopausal women. High levels of estrogen cause an increase in the <i>alpha adrenergic receptors</i> that signal your body to hold onto subcutaneous fat, making it even harder to shed<sup>2</sup>. That’s why people whose bodies have estrogen as their predominant hormone tend to have more fat as well as a harder time getting rid of that fat.</p> <p>Fortunately, thigh fat is generally of the subcutaneous variety rather than the more dangerous visceral fat. Visceral fat can cause a number of different health concerns including increased risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and more. Subcutaneous fat may be unsightly, but unless we have a lot of it, it’s mostly harmless. In fact, as we mentioned earlier, subcutaneous fat actually plays an important protective role in our bodies.</p> <p>Still, with the right steps, you <i>can</i> slim and tone your thighs. It’s important to note that you can’t target where you lose body fat-our bodies just don’t work that way! So when you are thinking “how do you make your inner thighs smaller?” or “how do I tone up my thighs?” the answer is that you can only do this through an overall diet and fitness regimen that targets general health instead of just your thighs — your thighs are a part of your body, after all! Even then, however, there is always a chance that your genetics simply don’t allow for slimmer thighs.</p> <p>On the other hand, instead of those questions, it is always worth asking yourself “how can I make my thighs strong?” That is because strength-building exercises combined with the right diet can lead you towards the thigh-slimming results you want to see.</p> <p>Now we’re going to share with you one of the absolute best exercises for thigh slimming and toning your thighs: the side lunge.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Side Lunge</header> <p>The side lunge is one of the best thigh slimming exercises, because it does more than just help you trim and build strength in your thighs. It also stretches and strengthens <i>all</i> of the muscles in your lower body at the same time.</p> <div class="embed-responsive embed-responsive-16by9 w-md-75 my-5 mx-auto"> <iframe width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe> </div> <p><b>Let’s get started by learning how to do the side lunge with perfect form!</b></p> <ol> <li>Stand up with your legs spread wide and your feet pointed slightly outward.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-best-thigh-slimming-1-0066"> </picture> <li>Shift most of your weight to your left leg while straightening your right leg and flexing the right thigh.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-best-thigh-slimming-2-0066"> </picture> <li>Press through your left heel to transfer the weight over to your right leg, performing the exact same movement as you did before.</li> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-best-thigh-slimming-3-0066"> </picture> <li>Continue alternating until you’ve done 10 repetitions on each side. Perform three sets of 10 repetitions with a 30- to 60-second rest period between each set.</li> </ol> <p>There are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind to make sure you’re doing this move correctly. First, your knees should be pushed slightly outward so they’re pointing in the same direction of your toes throughout the movement. This is especially crucial for preventing strain or injury in your knees.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-best-thigh-slimming-4-0066"> </picture> <p>Second, if you want to increase your flexibility, point the foot that your weight is not on towards the ceiling rather than keeping it planted flat on the floor. This will give you an incredible stretch all along the back side of your legs.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-best-thigh-slimming-5-0066"> </picture> <p>Third, push your hips backwards as you perform the movement rather than staying fully upright. This is going to put more pressure on your hips and less on your knees, ensuring that you don’t cause any damage to your knees.</p> <p>And, finally, stick to a good, steady breathing rhythm by inhaling as you drop towards the ground and exhaling as you press yourself up and shift over to the opposite leg. This will help you focus on maintaining good form while getting the blood pumping to your muscles.</p> <p>As you get more comfortable with the side lunge, you can push yourself to go a little lower each time you do it. Simply start out in a wider stance than you did at first and drop your body down as low as you can comfortably without hurting yourself. Over time, you’ll build up strength and flexibility so that you can go even further down to get more amazing benefits from this exercise.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset=""> <img src="" class="img-fluid" alt="tyler-best-thigh-slimming-6-0066"> </picture> <p>If you’re having a hard time staying balanced when you start pushing yourself closer to the floor, use your hands to keep yourself stable. Eventually you want to get to the point where your butt is so close to the ground that it’s nearly touching your heel without putting your hands on the floor at all. But again, getting to this point takes time, practice, and patience, so don’t push yourself harder than necessary.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <header>Conclusion</header> <p>The world of trimming fat, building strength, and getting healthy can seem overwhelming and incredibly complicated. Just remember that the main keys for cutting unwanted body fat are to consume less calories than you burn and to stay active.</p> <p>Performing strength-building moves like the side lunge is one of the best things you can possibly do when it comes to burning fat. The more muscle you build, the more you boost your metabolism since muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does<sup>2</sup>. That means that even if you’re not seeing the changes you want immediately, all you need to do is stay consistent and keep building strength-the results will come with time.</p> <p>As with all of our exercise plans, the best thing about this move is that you can do it from the comfort of your home with absolutely no equipment required. You can even get started today! Take five minutes out of your day to perform three sets of 10 repetitions of side lunges with a 30- to 60-second rest in between. Stick with it and we can guarantee you’re going to build strength in your legs, improve your overall health, and, of course, get slimmer and more toned thighs!</p> <div class="sub-head">Resources</div> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Estrogen Controls Lipolysis</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="" rel="noreferrer">Get More Burn From Your Workout</a></li> </ol>

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