As you can probably guess, the key to getting thicker and bigger thighs and hips is exercising and getting in more calories than you burn each day, or a caloric surplus.
Genetics have a major effect on your ability to gain weight in certain areas and get the thighs that you want, and sometimes your body type isn’t conducive to thick thighs and hips.
We've spent a lot of time talking to experts and clients about this issue. Read on to learn how to get thicker thighs and hips through exercises and dietary adjustments that will help you work towards the body you want.
The Best Exercises for Thicker Thighs & Hips
We’ve collected what we believe are the best exercises to add to your workout plan for pumping up your thighs and hips.
For muscle mass growth, variety is key, so alternate these exercises workout to workout so that you work all the right thigh muscles.
Whereas thighs are often focused on as part of leg day, hips are often ignored. This is a problem because your body needs an equal focus on all muscle groups of the body, including the hips.
These exercises positively affect thick thigh muscle growth, but they also promote hip muscle growth and increased flexibility and strength.
Watch this video below to learn more about how you can get thicker thighs and hips.
Squats are known as the King of Exercise, and we have to agree: they’re pretty perfect. Squats target both the thighs and the hips - perfect if you're looking to build a bigger booty, so they’re an ideal exercise to incorporate into your workout days frequently.
For the most muscle growth, squatting with a barbell is ideal. If you’re new to weights, though, take it slow by doing them a few times a week.
Consider asking a personal trainer to make sure your form is correct as well. A personal trainer will be able to guide you properly and possibly prevent you from injuring yourself.
How to: Start by aligning your feet shoulder-width apart, with your toes slightly pointed outwards in a comfortable position. There should be a slight arch in your back, and you should avoid bending over or looking down.
Take a deep breath and contract your abs as you descend to a near-90 degree angle with the ground. As you rise, breathe out. Avoid allowing your knees to turn inward – this is the fastest way to injuring your legs or hip.
Tip: You could also try any number of squat variations and even doing drop sets.
- Try plie squats with your feet wider than your hips and pointed outwards to target your inner thighs.
- Go even wider for the more challenging sumo squat.
- Pulse squats involve doing a squat, rising halfway up, and then lowering into the squat before coming up again. This will get your thighs burning much more than bodyweight squats.
- If you want to get really advanced, try out the one-legged squat. It’s just what it sounds like: squat with one leg as the other leg is pointed forward. This one takes a lot of balance and practice.
Like squats, lunges are best with weights, with dumbbells in your hands or with a barbell to challenge your lower body.
How-To: For lunges, step forward about two feet, lowering your upper body but keeping the torso upright. Inhale as you go down and avoid letting your knee extend past your toes.
Repeat this movement for about 20 steps, rest for a minute, return to starting position, and then repeat 3-5 times.
For even thighs, try one-legged squats with one leg behind you on a chair or box while lowering the other leg 10 times. Switch legs, rest, repeat 3-5 times.
Deadlifts are the golden boy of leg day – they look simple, but they target so many muscle groups, especially the back of your thighs and your hips.
Like any other exercise, deadlifts require perfect form for the best results and to avoid injury.
How-to: With your feet hip-width apart and a barbell in your grip or a kettlebell in your hands, take a breath in, lower your hips and flex your knees, until your shins contact the bar in front of you.
Look forward, keep your chest and upper body up and back arched, and drive through your heels to lift the weight, breathing out. After the bar passes your knees, pull your shoulders back and together, driving your hips into the bar. Lower the bar, return to starting position, and repeat 10 times for 3-5 sets.
4. Hip Extensions, AKA Donkey Kicks
Hip extensions can be done on a mat without weights, with a band, or on a GHD machine.
The key to hip extensions is to keep your back rigid and flat, focusing on rotating your hips while keeping your lower body tight.
How to: Position yourself on all fours on a mat. With your knees bent, raise one hip as you exhale. Squeeze your butt and keep your core tight as you raise your thigh.
This exercise works your hip muscles, known as hip extensors, to give you the curves or strong sides you want. It also isolates your glutes, which can give that shapely bottom curve.
5. Leg Curls
Leg curls are ideal for hitting the backs of your thighs, or your hamstring muscles.
How-to: Using a seated leg curl machine, exhale while you pull the machine lever as far as possible to the back of your thighs by flexing at the knees.
After pausing for a second or so, return to the starting position while inhaling.
Make sure to avoid using such heavy weights that you start swinging or jerking, as this can cause back and hamstring injuries.
6. Leg Press
This exercise is ideal because it exercises your quads, calves, glutes, and hamstring muscles. In other words, every muscle you could work to get thicker thighs and wider hips.
How-to: Using a leg press machine, place your feet at shoulder width apart. Upon exhale, press the platform forward until your legs are fully extended, but avoid locking your knees.
When you inhale, lower the platform until your upper and lower legs are at a 90 degree angle.
7. Side Leg Raises
You can perform side leg raises standing up for lying down, but we recommend standing, as this also helps improve your balance.
How to: Standing straight (or lying on your side), lift your left leg as high into the air, to your side, as you can, and lower it in a fluid yet controlled motion to return to starting position.
You can perform side leg raises with a free weight or resistance band on your ankle to challenge your hip muscles better.
Remember, form is key. You must keep your core tight and your body stable to avoid muscle substitution.
Building Thicker Thighs Training Tips
1. Reduce the Cardio
When you’re looking to get and gain muscle anywhere, strength training is your friend. In other words, you’re going to be lifting a lot of weights.
Cardio exercises become less important when you’re trying to gain weight and muscle, as it burns calories so well and typically promotes a leaner body, low on fat and lower on muscle mass as well.
While you should always incorporate some cardio into your weekly exercise, for this particular goal, reduce cardio to 2 to 3 times a week, for about 20 to 30 minutes. Pick exercises low on bursts of high intensity, such as jogging or biking at a steady pace.
2. Increase Your Frequency
Whereas many people don’t weight lift at all or only hit their legs once a week, you’ll need to increase the focus on your legs to 2 to 3 days a week. Make sure that these days are nonconsecutive, as your muscles need time to heal and grow.
See our more in-depth guide on how to build bigger legs.
According to volume-unmatched research, training a muscle group 2-3 times per week is superior to once a week for strength development (given that higher frequency = more volume).
Science of Fitness
It is very possible to overdo strength training, and you don’t want to injure yourself.
Rest is completely necessary for muscle growth, and you’ll need to drink a lot of water and sleep well each night to promote it as much as possible.
4. Don't Forget the Other Parts
Don’t skip out on weightlifting for other parts of your body, either. You need balance.
If you aren’t used to weightlifting, start at a very low weight and add poundage slowly, so as to avoid injury or developing a poor form for your muscle.
Using weightlifting shoes can also give you better results.
Diet: Here's What You Should Eat
For a lot of people, an increased focus on weightlifting isn’t going to cut it. If you want real results and you want them fast, your best option is the holistic one.
What we mean by this is a strong combination of mindful exercise, diet, and supplementation.
All foods are not created the same, and for thick thighs and hips, we’ve got quite a few recommendations for you.
The key to gaining weight in any area is consuming more calories than you burn, but you want them to be the right calories.
Increase your calorie intake, focusing on healthy carbs and fats and proteins. Protein, in particular, promotes muscle growth fast and helps avoid fat gain (1).
If you want toned thighs and hips, not flab, here are superfoods for muscle-building for your thighs and hips. We'll discuss it here:
1. Healthy Carbs
- Spinach - helps prevent muscle breakdown.
- Oatmeal - helps with fat loss, is high in fiber, and fills up you.
- Whole Grains - give you the energy you need to power through all this weightlifting.
- Brown Rice - promotes production of growth hormone, which equals more muscle-building.
- Quinoa - high-protein healthy carb that fills you up
2. Healthy Fats
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil - 70% monosaturated fats, the good fat that protects against cancer and heart diseases.
- Omega-3 fatty acids - found in fish oil and wild-caught salmon
3. Healthy Proteins
By far, proteins are the most important type of food when it comes to building muscle. All proteins are not created equally, though. We recommend:
- Lean Beef - Packed with iron, zinc, and B-vitamins which also stimulate muscle growth
- Eggs - 9 essential amino acids, choline, healthy fat, vitamin D, and of course, high-quality protein
- Whey Protein - Easy, fast, great for post-workout protein blast
- Nuts - They’re high-calorie and packed with vitamins. Just don’t eat too many – they bring up your calorie intake fast.
- Greek Yogurt - Great bang for your buck in high protein, low carb food.
What Supplements Should I Take?
Your body has so many needs, and based on your unique genetic makeup and your varying dietary choices, you may have a wide range of nutritional needs you aren’t satisfying with food and drink alone.
The fastest and easiest way to deal with this problem is by taking a daily multivitamin. Harvard School of Public Health has compiled research that shows the multivitamin can be likened to your nutrition insurance policy (2).
1. Protein Powder
Many women think that drinking protein powder will make them big and bulky, but this is really not the case.
It's not possible with our physiological capability to grow into those big bodybuilders.
Anyway, getting sufficient protein is essential for building bigger thighs and hips.
I like supplement with protein powders as getting my daily protein from real foods can be tiresome sometimes.
With this, you can get 20g+ of protein in one go.
Before your workout, drink a cup of coffee or green tea.
Studies show that caffeine gives you that extra burst of energy you need to power through a tough weightlifting workout, possibly because caffeine blocks adenosine receptors which tell your body it’s becoming fatigued (3).
You can also purchase caffeine pills like green tea extract pills, but be careful – these are often so jam-packed with caffeine that they can give you negative side effects like a racing heart, anxiety, and irritability.
Related Post: The best pre-workouts for women
Creatine is a naturally occurring substance in the body.
Taking a supplement boosts the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) – which helps your body to contract muscles.
When you combine creatine with heavy resistance training, it leads to improved physical performance and fat-free mass and muscle morphology.
Studies have shown it's very safe with little to no negative side effects. It's a must if you want to build muscle mass.
How Long Until You See Results?
Your body won’t transform overnight, but it’s so rewarding when you look in the mirror and you begin to see a change.
Remind yourself that it will take time, but your efforts will prove worth it, as you’re becoming healthier every time you walk into the gym.
If you’re interested in tracking your progress, consider taking measurements or a before-and-after picture, but don’t look at the photo all the time – put in a month's work and then consider comparing photos.
Once again, it’s important to remember that you can’t quite bypass genetics. Your body is uniquely designed and may gain weight easier in certain areas than others.
One major study shows that even when men and women complete the same exercises, changes can range from loss of muscle mass (-2%) to massive gains (59%). (5)
Because of this, different body types may require more bulking and calories, more weightlifting or more cardio, or more nutrition.
There is no one-size-fits-all plan for building larger hip and thigh muscles, which means adjustments may be necessary as you try out our recommended exercises and diet plans. One way to counter genetic disadvantages is by taking supplements.
The Bottom Line on Getting Bigger Thighs
Like any physical transformation, pumping up thighs and hips doesn’t happen overnight. It requires a combination of weightlifting, nutrition, and diet decisions.
If you work out and eat mindfully, though, chances are that you’re going to see results. Be patient, work hard, and remember to celebrate your gains.
While building the muscle in your thighs and hips, you'll also be building a bigger booty - it's a win-win situation.