Exercises for Hips and Thighs

You are working-out earnestly at the gym, and want good results for your lower body. Here goes...

The lower body makes up half of your body and a lot of large muscles — the hip and thigh muscles. Exercising these muscles will shape them and boost your metabolic rate. Result: you burn more fat!

As Indians, many of us are blessed with a pear-shaped body [we are heavier on the thighs and butt], while in terms of health this is better than having an apple-shaped body [heavier in the waist, chest, back and arms]. Apple-shapes are more prone to heart disease; however, in terms of looks we all know how great well-shaped legs look in a mini!

Working-out your legs regularly strengthens your thigh muscles. This can prevent and delay the onset of arthritis of the knee joint.

Working-out at the gym can help you trim those extra inches from your butt and thigh [for the overweight]. It can also help you add inches and give you a better shape, if you are skinny! Doing a good lower body work-out can actually give your butt a lift and make it look compact without surgery!

For a well-shaped bottom

While a leg work-out is necessary, do not work your legs everyday. Your muscles need to be rested for 48 hours after the work-out. Have a good balance between the upper and lower body work-outs. However, stretching in-between sets is a must. This will not only improve your shape, but will also help in improving the pliability and flexibility of your muscles and prevent you from getting sore, the next day.

Change your work-out every six weeks to see the results. Note: our muscles adapt quite quickly to a routine and need to be shocked to get results!

But, do not attempt to spot-reduce. Spot-reduction does not work. When you are doing a leg work-out you are targeting the muscles — and, not the fat directly. Any exercise you do causes the fat to be burnt – and, not just at a particular point. However, when you are training a particular muscle, it becomes tighter, more compact, and better shaped.


Here are select exercises that you can do while you are lying down and watching TV!

Before you start it is necessary that you warm up.

You can warm up by just walking on a treadmill for 10 minutes or marching on the spot for 5-7 minutes.

You will need a yoga/gym mat, and even if you are exercising at home you need to wear your gym clothes and shoes.

Knee to chest

Knee to chestTarget muscles: outer thigh and butt.

  • Lie on your side keeping your body in a straight line.
  • Bring your knee to your chest; straighten your leg at an even pace.

Lying side leg raise

Lying side leg raiseTarget muscles: inner-outer thigh and butt.

  • Lie on your side keeping your body in a straight line.
  • Lift and lower your leg at an even pace without touching the other leg.

Doggy kick

Doggy KickTarget muscles: hamstring [back of the thigh] and butt.

  • Go on all fours and bend forward resting on your elbows.
  • Lift your leg above the hip level and lower it at an even pace – keeping your toes pointed to the floor.

If you are a beginner, you can do one set of 15-20 reps of the first two exercises for two weeks and gradually increase to two sets each. You’d do two sets of 15-20 reps of the third exercise for two weeks, and gradually increase it to three sets.

Look Trendy

While shaping your lower body will take some time to show results, here are designer tips to camouflage your hips, and make your thighs look thinner!

Designer Divya Parwani suggests that people with heavy lower bodies should wear dark colours and avoid wearing short-length tops or kurtis. Her advice: avoid clothes that divide your body and bring more attention to the hips. It is better to go with a dark-coloured top and light-coloured bottoms, if the top is longer. But, if the top is short, it is better to wear dark-coloured bottoms.

Avoid belts that bring attention to the hips and choose skirts over denims. If you like stripes, diagonal stripes are great, but never ever go for horizontal stripes! Parwani also says that heels are great as they give you the height, but she feels it is better to choose wear-wedge heels over thinner heels.

Designer Binita Parwani avers that current styles are a boon for people with bigger hips and thighs. She feels that you can get away with leggings that make your legs look thin and even capris by coupling them with long tunics and tops. Her advice: avoid anything with prints that are very busy on the hips, especially floral prints. Stick to dark, solid colours like black. Skirts are great for a feminine look and for masking badly-shaped thighs.

Choose your jeans with care, low-waist jeans help you divide the butt and make it appear smaller. Tapering jeans or bootlegs are also a good choice, but avoid jeans that have a big flare at the bottom, as they will make your hips look even bigger!

Samreedhi Goel
Samreedhi Goel is a Nutritionist and Personal trainer & fitness columnist who has been a part of the fitness industry since 1999. She has helped hundreds of people shape up, lose weight, achieve the body of their dreams, become fitter and healthier individuals and overcome chronic health problems through her fitness studio Size Wise.Her fitness columns and interviews appear on a regular basis in prestigious publications like Complete Wellbeing, Sunday Midday, Rediff.com, Seventeen India, Mumbai Mirror, Spice Route, The Hindu, Emirates Evening Post (Dubai) and Savvy to name a few.


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