For many women, especially millennial women, the subject of inner thigh fat is one that can trigger both anxiety and insecurity very fast. From the late 1990s to the late 2000s the subject of the ‘thigh gap’ was very prominent not only in magazines but also on social media. Having slim thighs was considered the epitome of praise for women. While this trend fell away in the 2010s, it now seems to be slowly making a comeback. According to an article published in British Vogue in late 2022, thin is in which sadly means that having bigger thighs may soon fall out of fashion. Contrary to what this new body type trend may say, fat is important in everyone’s body. It not only protects your organs but also helps sustain life. However, if you are overweight or seem to be storing extra fat in this area, then toning up may be a good idea. In this article, we are going to guide you on how to get rid of inner thigh fat safely with both diet and exercises.
Can I Get Rid Of Inner Thigh Fat And Achieve A Thigh Gap?
Yes and no.
While everyone with excess fat in any part of their body can lose the fat, getting a thigh gap is not as simple. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone can get super slim thighs with a thigh gap no matter how much they exercise or change up their diet.
The truth is that a person’s ability to have a thigh gap largely comes down to two things (8)
- Genetic predisposition – Where your body naturally stores fat. A closer look at your female relatives will help you understand this better
- Bone structure – I.e., the width of your hips and the position of your hips within your pelvis.
The amount of fat in your body also determines how well your thigh gap can be seen. But once again, you need to naturally have a thigh gap to be able to lose enough inner thigh fat to make it more visible.
Causes Of Inner Thigh Fat
Before figuring out the best workouts to get rid of inner thigh fat, we must figure out and understand the root cause of this issue. Not only will this help with exercise and understanding our bodies better, but it also prevents us from repeating actions that could worsen this issue.
So what causes inner thigh fat?
Your recommended calorie intake is usually determined by a variety of factors such as age, metabolism and levels of physical activity, among other things (9). When you eat above your recommended intake, your body doesn’t burn all these calories for energy and the excess is stored in your body as fat. Having too much body fat will lead to excess inner thigh fat.
Diet and calorie intake aside, inner thigh fat is also determined by your genetics. Over the years, multiple studies have shown that our genes play a huge role in where and how our body fat is distributed. Genetics affect body fat distribution in both sexes – with women storing most of their fat in their hips, lower belly, and inner thigh and men storing it mostly in their abdomen (7, 6).
How To Get Rid Of Inner Thigh Fat Exercises
Working out is a great way to get rid of any kind of body fat, inner thigh fat included. Before getting into how to get rid of inner thigh fat with exercise, we must insist that spot reduction is not a thing.
There is no possible way to lose weight/fat in just one part of the body. To lose inner thigh fat, you will also lose it in other parts of the body too.
The Best Exercises To Get Rid Of Inner Thigh Fat
When it comes to losing thigh fat, people tend to approach this matter in two main ways:
- Reducing thigh fat simply for a slimmer look
- Reducing thigh fat but also growing and toning the muscle underneath thus giving a leaner look without necessarily having slim things.
If you simply want to slim down your thighs and have no desire to grow the muscles in your thighs, then doing cardio is the best way to go. While cardio does not hinder muscle growth, it doesn’t grow muscle as much as weight lifting/strength training does (8).
Some of the best cardio exercises to simply get rid of inner thigh fat include walking, swimming, running, cycling, as well as HIIT.
How To Get Rid Of Inner Thigh Fat Exercise For Fat Loss And Toning
If you’d like to lose inner thigh fat and tone your inner thighs at the same time, then doing both cardio and strength training exercises is your best bet. Many people, especially women, avoid strength training because they think it’ll make them look bulky or ‘manly’.
This is a myth. While women can certainly build really big muscles – eg female bodybuilders, it will take a lot more than simply lifting weights a couple days a week. Some of the best exercise to get rid of inner thigh fat and create lean muscle include
Unlike traditional squats that require you to keep your stance closer and feet pointing straight ahead or slightly angled out, a sumo squat requires a wider stance with your feet turned out. This wider stance targets the inner thigh more. To add resistance to this exercise and work your muscles even more, hold a single dumbbell in front of your chest, or a barbell on the shoulders or behind the head.
Unlike normal lunges, where you move your leg to the front, lateral lunges require you to step to the side. Doing this works the muscles on your inner thigh more which helps with toning.
How to do lateral lunges:
- Start by standing sideways on your mat with feet under hips and arms by sides.
- Take a large step out with the right leg and sit hips back and bend right knee until right thigh is parallel to floor while left leg remains straight, toes of both feet facing forward.
- Push through the right heel to return to start. This counts as one rep.
- Complete do 8 to 12 reps on the right side, then switch to the left side and repeat.
To make lateral lunges more challenging, hold a dumbbell or kettlebell in each hand.
Like lateral lunges, they also target the inner thigh through the curtsying motion.
How to do them:
- Stand with a wide stance and keep your chest upright and shoulders down.
- Cross your left leg behind your right leg and squat into a curtsy position. Ensure that your right leg is planted and your torso is upright.
- From the lowered curtsy position, push yourself back up and place your left leg back to the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side and continue switching legs until you hit your reps.
- Anything between 8 to 12 reps is enough for 1 set
Weights like dumbbells, kettlebells or a barbell are encouraged.
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Inner Thigh Raises
Also known as inner thigh lifts, this is an exercise often seen in Pilates classes. As the name suggests, it is a great workout that targets your inner thigh muscles:
How to do it:
- Start by laying on your side with your body in one long line. From here, move your legs a few inches ahead of you
- Prop your head on your hand slightly lifting your torso off the mat
- Lift the top leg, cross it over the bottom one and settle it on the floor at the hip foot down.
- Thread your top hand behind the calf and grasp the outside of your ankle.
- On an inhale, lift the straight bottom leg off the floor. Do not bend it at the knee
- Exhale and lower the leg. You can touch the bottom leg to the floor but if you’d like to challenge the muscles even more, do not let it get all the way to the floor before lifting it back up
- Do about 8 reps per leg for 1 set
If this seems too complicated a simpler way to do inner leg lifts involves you lying on your back:
- Lay down flat on your back with your abs engaged. Have your arms out to your sides, with your palms lying flat on the ground.
- Keeping your hips on the ground, lift your legs up toward the ceiling with your feet flexed.
- Lower your right leg out to the side as far as you can tolerate without lifting your hips. Keep your foot flexed the whole time.
- Bring your leg back up to the starting position, squeezing both your legs together at the top.
- Do anywhere between 12 to 15 reps per leg for 1 set.
Bulgarian Split Squats
This squat variation – done with one leg elevated on a surface as the other leg performs a squat, receiving most of the load – has been receiving a lot of attention lately as one of the best squats variations for maximum glute growth. While it does indeed target the quadricep muscles, glutes, and hamstrings, the single leg unilateral movement also targets the inner thigh and will be effective in getting rid of inner thigh fat.
Can I Get Rid Of Inner Thigh Fat In A Week?
Unless you plan on booking a liposuction appointment with your local plastic surgeon, you cannot lose inner thigh fat in just a week – with diet or exercise. In fact, you cannot lose fat in any part of your body in just a week and any diet or exercise plan that promises you is a fad.
Any weight lost in a week is usually water weight – it may only take 2 days to lose water weight – but fat takes much longer to disappear. Remember that it often takes anywhere between four to eight weeks to see any body changes caused by fat loss.
How To Get Rid Of Saggy Inner Thigh Fat?
If you’ve noticed that your inner thighs are sagging, extra fat is the least likely cause. Saggy thighs are usually caused by either
- Rapid or significant weight loss – As we lose weight, our skin, which had been stretched before shrinks down with our body size.
However, sometimes this doesn’t happen. If you slim down too fast, your skin doesn’t get a chance to shrink down with you which leaves behind saggy skin. For people who are quite obese, the skin is usually too stretched and has lost a lot of its original elasticity making it difficult to shrink back.
- Aging – According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology, our skin usually loses its natural elasticity starting when we are between the ages of 35 to 45 years.
This laxity is usually more noticeable in the inner arms and legs as well as in the abdominal area. The decline in elasticity is caused by several factors including reduced collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid in the body (1). Another study published in 2021 also confirmed that the lack of these factors contribute to major issues such as sagging, wrinkling, fragility, irregularities in skin tone and texture, etc. we see as we age (5).
- Pregnancy – Loose skin around the tummy is pretty common after pregnancy as the skin has stretched to accommodate a growing bump. However, loose skin can still happen in other areas as many women add weight during this time.
- Muscle loss.
Other factors that could also lead to saggy thighs include smoking, alcohol consumption, menopause (3), steroids, etc.
To get rid of saggy thighs you can consider trying the following:
- Strength training – Building muscle mass will help reduce the appearance of saggy skin in your thighs.
- Regular massages – Not only are they a great way to relax, but massage also stimulates blood flow which may promote cell metabolism as well as the production of connective tissues, such as collagen and elastin.
- Consuming more collagen – Collagen is especially important for skin elasticity. While you can get collagen from supplements, we suggest getting it from natural high protein foods like fish, poultry, meat, eggs, dairy, legumes, and soy.
- Surgery – in some cases, especially for people who lose massive amounts of weight, no amount of strength training, massages or collagen can help the skin regain its original elasticity. If you fall into this group and the saggy skin is something you feel you cannot live with, plastic surgery can help make you more confident.
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How To Get Rid Of Inner And Outer Thigh Fat?
Any of the above mentioned exercises to get rid of inner thigh fat will help you get rid of outer thigh fat too. Remember , spot reduction is a myth and to lose fat in a specific body part means losing fat all over your body.
Aside from exercise, however, the other important thing you have to do to reduce fat in this part of the body is improve your diet. Some tips to do this include:
- Eat at a calorie deficit – Use a reputable calorie counting app to calculate how many calories you eat a day to maintain your current weight, then reduce this number by 500. Reducing your caloric intake by just 500 calories can help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week.
- Cut out processed sugar – Get rid of table sugar, syrups and sodas and instead eat more fruit, use no calorie sweeteners, and always look at labels to choose no sugar or low sugar options
- Switch out processed refined carbs for healthier complex carbs like whole grains, vegetables, and legumes
- Drink more water
- Eat more lean protein
- Add more vegetables to your plate – The more colorful the array of veggies on your plate, the better.
- Reduce your sodium intake
How To Get Rid Of Upper Inner Thigh Fat?
As previously mentioned, spot reduction is a myth. If you want to get rid of upper inner thigh fat, you will have to lose fat in the whole thigh – and all over the body too. A combination of cardio and weighted lower body exercises like the ones mentioned above work great for this.
How To Get Rid Of Inner Thigh Cellulite?
Cellulite is a condition – often seen in women – that causes lumpy, dimpled flesh on the thighs, hips, buttocks and abdomen. While this condition is relatively harmless, it usually causes a lot of insecurity in people, especially women.
A simple way to get rid of cellulite is through weight loss – as this condition is more prevalent in overweight people – as well as muscle toning. Any of the above mentioned exercises as well as the many variations of squats and lunges will help with toning the thighs.
If you are not overweight and you have pretty good muscle definition but still get cellulite, some home remedies to get rid of this include massages, consuming more collagen and drinking more water. These methods are fairly easy but probably have limited efficacy.
If you have some extra money to spend, the American Academy of Dermatology states that some of the best treatments to get rid of this include laser, subcision, and vacuum-assisted precise tissue release (4).
The Bottom Line
When it comes to how to get rid of inner thigh fat, full body weight loss is the only answer. Once again, spot reduction is a myth and no exercise will only help you lose weight in the inner thighs. For the best results, improve your diet, eat on a calorie deficit and do a combination of cardio and strength training exercises. Above all, no matter the beauty trend, remember that bodies are created differently and aiming for a thigh gap is not possible or desirable for everyone.
This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
- Body Contouring and Skin Tightening Using a Unique Novel Multisource Radiofrequency Energy Delivery Method (2017, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Cardio and Muscle Gain: Everything You Need to Know (2017, medium.com)
- CARING FOR YOUR SKIN IN MENOPAUSE (n.d., aad.org)
- CELLULITE TREATMENTS: WHAT REALLY WORKS? (n.d., aad.org)
- Clinical Relevance of Elastin in the Structure and Function of Skin (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Genetics of Body Fat Distribution: Comparative Analyses in Populations with European, Asian and African Ancestries (2021, ncbi.nlm.nih.gov)
- Genome-wide association study of body fat distribution identifies adiposity loci and sex-specific genetic effects (2019, nature.com)
- Thigh gaps: What you need to know + 4 goals you should *actually* aim for (2023, womenshealthmag.com)
- What should my daily intake of calories be? (2019, nhs.uk)