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Outer Thigh Muscle Anatomy: 6 Best Exercises to Target Your Outer Thighs


Outer Thigh Muscle Anatomy: 6 Best Exercises to Target Your Outer Thighs
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So you want to know how to get rid of those saddlebags, huh? Well, you're in luck. Outer thigh muscle anatomy is actually pretty simple. Three main muscles comprise the outer thigh: the gluteus medius, the gluteus maximus, and the tensor fasciae latae.

And there are a few essential exercises that target each of these muscles. So whether you're looking to tone up your thighs or reduce pain in your hips and knees, read on for the best exercises for outer thigh muscle anatomy.

Outer Thigh Muscle Anatomy

Some of the largest muscles in the body are found in the thighs. They are skeletal muscles that assist in moving different skeleton sections and are connected to bone through tendons.

Thighs have bundles of muscle fibers containing nerve and blood vessel fibers. Connective tissue holds each part of the system together. These muscles may stretch a great deal since they are incredibly elastic.

The lower body's ability to flex, twist, and bend are due to the thigh muscles. In addition to supporting and assisting with balance, they carry most of the body's weight and maintain hip and leg alignment.

Various thigh muscles can be categorized according to their location and function:

Adductors: The gracilis, obturator externus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, and adductor magnus are the five muscles that make up the adductors. They begin at the pelvis and extend to the femur inside the thigh (thigh bone).

Hamstrings: Three muscles, the semitendinosus, semimembranosus, and biceps femoris make up the hamstrings. They extend from the hip to just below the knee on the back of the leg.

Pectineus: The pectineus is a flat muscle originating from the pelvis front to the top femur.

Quadriceps (Quads): The vastus lateralis, vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, and rectus femoris are the four main muscles that make up the quadriceps and are situated in the front of the thigh. They begin at the hipbone (pelvis) and thighbone (femur), then descend to the patella (kneecap) and tibia (shin bone).

Sartorius: It is the longest and most slender muscle in the human body. Starting at the hip, it loops around the front of the thigh before descending to the knee.

How to Build Your Outer Thigh Muscles

So, how can you build and shape thigh muscles? Well, to gain muscle, you need strength training and healthy eating. And if you are thinking of simply decreasing fat in that area, it could not give you the toned appearance you're looking for, primarily if your outer thigh muscles aren't fully formed. Why? Because you need to have muscle mass as well.

Building thighs is nothing different than building other body parts. The key is (like we said before) strength training and keeping track of your food intake. Hopefully, by this point, you've concluded that there is no quick fix and that real progress comes from slow, steady improvement.

Besides resistance training, you'll need to do the right exercises, eat more calories than you burn, and monitor your macronutrient intake.

Protein is the main macronutrient that helps people grow muscle. A higher protein diet will result in noticeably better weight loss and muscle gain than one lower protein consumption. The best method for adding weight while maintaining lean muscle mass is a gradual increase of 1 pound each week.

Regarding protein intake, aim for 0.8-1 grams of protein per pound of body weight every day to gain muscle, and pay attention to how your body reacts.

Prioritize primary compound movements like squats, deadlifts, and lunges when it comes to exercises. Include a few accessory lifts to isolate your smaller muscles and enhance your range of motion.

Aim for 2-4 sets of 5–15 repetitions for each exercise. Do compound exercises initially while you are rested and have enough energy since they will help you gain greater strength and muscle. After crushing your squats, you can add a final burn with smaller motions. Progressive overload is the key. You should strive to get better every week in some way.

6 Best Exercises to Target Your Outer Thighs

Most of us have a problem area when it comes to our thighs. Whether it's the inner thigh, outer thigh, or both, we'd love to tighten and tone this region. Though they may be difficult to target, some exercises can help you achieve firmer, more toned outer thighs.

1. Goblet Squats

A squat variation known as the goblet squat requires you to hold a dumbbell at chest height. It works wonders on the glutes and outside of the thighs and gets your legs ready for movement in sports. It enables you to work all your leg muscles while lowering the chance of injury from carrying a barbell on your back.

Use a kettlebell in place of dumbbells to change things up.

  • Pick a dumbbell and hold it close to your chest. Place a hand on each side of the dumbbell's edge.
  • Slightly flex your knees, then push your hips back to squat.
  • Reverse once your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  • Push back through the heels of your feet while maintaining a tight core throughout the exercise.
  • Repeat as many times as necessary.

2. Curtsy Lunge

The curtsy lunge is a lunge variation that works as a single-leg workout that we adore. It will offer the most effective technique to target and feel your outer thighs working and increase hip stability to facilitate better movement in your body.

  • Start with your feet hip-width apart with a barbell, dumbbell, or your weight at your disposal. Start by diagonally extending your right leg and right foot as if you were approaching 7-8 PM on a clock.
  • You should practically be in a single-leg squat as you reach back and kickstand diagonally. Your right knee ought to be elevated off the floor.
  • As you descend to your deepest controllable depth, keep your body erect.
  • Keep your hips tucked in when you start to rise, and push the ground away with your front leg. With your left foot, repeat with the other leg.

3. Single-Leg Lateral Lunge

This single-leg exercise is famous for working the inner thighs and the outer thighs and glutes. A technique that strikes both the inner and outer thigh must be your favorite.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart and keep your hands on your hips.
  • Step out to the side while raising your right foot off the floor.
  • Maintain a lunge position while bending your right knee to 90 degrees and keeping your left leg straight.
  • Repeat on the other side, then go back to your starting position.

4. Clamshell

You'll experience intense thigh burn with this glute isolation exercise. The abductors stabilize the pelvis, which are great muscles to strengthen.

  • Lay on one side, keeping your legs stacked on top of one another to start. Over your knees, wrap the resistance band over your thighs.
  • Lift your right knee slowly while maintaining the joint in your feet. Hold for a short while before re-lowering your leg gradually.
  • Continue by using your left leg.
  • Perform 10 to 15 reps on each side.

5. Glute Bridge

As you would have imagined, the glutes benefit greatly from glute bridges, and the hip abduction added after the motion is fantastic for elevating your butt and shaping your outer thighs. You can add more challenges to this using a resistance band.

  • Keep your feet flat on the ground, about hip-width apart, and your knees bent.
  • Put your hands down on the floor next to you.
  • By tightening your hamstrings and glutes, raise your hips off the floor.
  • Hold for a short while, then gradually return to the beginning position by lowering your hips.
  • Complete three sets of 10 to 12 repetitions, then add more as necessary.

6. Romanian Deadlift

The Romanian deadlift is a crucial hamstring and glute exercise that helps lift the look of the saddlebags and strikes the area where the high hamstring inserts into the glutes. It is essential for strengthening the lower back as well.

  • Hold the bar above your shoelaces as you stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Deadlift the barbell till the hips and knees are locked out with a double overhand grip that's a little wider than hip-width.
  • Push the hips back and stretch forward to get the bar correctly below knee length.
  • Extend the entire leg during the exercise.
  • Repeat.


1. What exercise builds the outer thigh?

No single exercise will specifically target the outer thighs, but some possible options for working the outer thigh include lunges, side leg lifts, and squats. Additionally, plyometric exercises like jumping squats can help strengthen and tone the outer thigh muscles.

To increase the intensity and effectiveness of your workout, you may wish to incorporate some weighted ankle or wrist weights into your routine. Finally, engage in a good stretching routine before and after your workout sessions to avoid injury and maximize flexibility.

2. How do you target the outer quad?

You can target the outer quad through various techniques, including specific exercises that focus on strengthening the muscles in the hips and lower body, engaging in cardiovascular exercise that engages the entire body, and following a balanced diet that provides all the nutrients required for optimal muscular development.

3. Do squats work the outer thigh?

Yes, different squat variations work the outer thigh muscles and make them grow.

4. How do you build upper outer thigh muscles?

Strength training, high protein intake, and a bit of cardio are the perfect way to build upper outer thigh muscles.

The Bottom Line

There's no doubt about it; thighs are important. They provide us with a way to move our legs and get around. They also help support our upper bodies and allow us to sit, stand, and walk upright. And, of course, they look pretty darn good in a pair of jeans.

But how do you target the outer thigh muscles? You can try different exercises, including goblet squat, Romanian deadlift, curtsy lunges, lateral lunges, clamshell, and glute bridge. They’ll help you get those thunder thighs you’ve always dreamed of.

We hope this article was informative and helpful in your journey to the perfect legs. As always, consult a professional before starting any new exercise regimen, and good luck!

Reading List

Article Sources

  • Campbell, Bill I., et al. “Effects of High Versus Low Protein Intake on Body Composition and Maximal Strength in Aspiring Female Physique Athletes Engaging in an 8-Week Resistance Training Program.” International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, vol. 28, no. 6, Nov. 2018, pp. 580–85. PubMed,
  • Miles, D. S. “Weight Control and Exercise.” Clinics in Sports Medicine, vol. 10, no. 1, Jan. 1991, pp. 157–69.

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