The legs are made up of three muscle groups: The quadriceps or frontal thigh muscles, the thigh “biceps” on the rear of the upper leg and the calves on the lower leg. Learning all the exercises for your legs will show how to get bigger thighs.
In most people, legs make up two-thirds of body weight. They are solid muscle, unlike the torso which is an organ-filled hollow containing lots of air spaces. As large muscles, the legs, and particularly the thighs, will require a lot of exercise in order to get bigger.
Researching in the great encyclopedia of bodybuilding, Keys to the Inner Universe by Bill Pearl, four-time Mr. Universe, we find 50 pages of exercise devoted to developing and defining our thighs. More than 150 different exercises are explained and pictured.
Arguably the best exercise for getting bigger thighs is the squat. This is also the most avoided exercise by less-than-serious bodybuilders because it requires a lot of exertion. Squats may be performed with barbells (preferred) or with devices like the weight-loaded Smith machine.
Squats may be done with the weight on our shoulders, or held at chest level in front. They may be performed with the heels elevated about two inches or flat-footed. Regardless of how they are performed, the legs should never be “locked out” when in the straight position, or the tension will be off the muscles.
A bench may be used for one type of squat so that you may gauge the correct distance to go down, or you can just go until your butt hits your heels. How you point your knees and your foot spread will determine whether you work inner, outer or upper thighs.
To build bigger thighs, several types of squats should be performed for three sets of ten repetitions.
• Barbell Squat – using an Olympic bar and weights and a squat rack, elevate your heels and squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Use enough weight that you struggle to reach ten reps.
• Barbell Squat Wide Stance – with heels elevated and legs spread widely, squat with your knees pointed out for an inner thigh workout.
• Hack Squat – with heels elevated and the barbell held behind your buttocks, squat until the weights nearly touch the floor.
• Leg Press Machine – seated in the machine, the placement of your feet on the foot pads will determine whether you work inner, outer or upper thighs.
• Decline Leg Press Machine – seated in the machine, the foot placement will change the portion of the thigh that is worked. The gluteus maximus (buttocks) also get worked if you go deeply enough.
Leg Extension Machine
• Leg extensions will work the outer, inner and lower thigh down to the knee.
• Using a thigh curl machine or cable-and-pulley machine with ankle straps, perform curls to build the hamstrings or thigh biceps muscles.
Abductor and Adductor Machines
• These machines will work the inner thigh and the hip flexors. The development of these muscles is important to the overall look of your thighs. If these machines aren’t available, a cable-and-pulley machine may suffice.
Dumbbell Lunges for Bigger Thighs
• This exercise will build the rear thigh muscles, including the gluteus. They are also good for the hips and lower body flexibility.