The most difficult muscles to build up are your thigh muscles. Why? You’re already building them up all day long, as you walk. So in order to get them noticed, you have to take your leg workouts to the next level.

For specific exercises, ask a personal trainer about the best thigh workouts that are right just for you. In the meantime, here are some general tips to keep in mind:

Reduce cardio. This may seem counterintuitive, since running is a vital cardio exercise, but cardio tends to make legs thinner, longer and leaner (if this is the look you want, then by all means). If you love cardio but need to reduce it to thicken your thighs, then try stepping back a bit: walk or jog lightly, and take that extra running time right into the weight room.

Give your thigh muscles a mini-vacation. Don’t think you have to lift every day in order to build up your thighs. In fact, thigh muscles grow better when they are given little vacations. They actually grow and get stronger on the days you aren’t lifting, which is a nice reward to see. Remember to never exercise your muscle groups on two consecutive days; instead, rotate. As the same time, always remember to exercise all of your muscle groups (back, shoulders, arms) so that you’re not all thighs and nothing else.

Stay on a schedule. Be consistent. Don’t lag or go days or weeks at a time without a regular workout. It won’t help you make gains.

Go all the way. If you’re gonna do it, get to it. Your leg workouts should take you about a half hour in all (every other day), but don’t pull back. You should be uncomfortable, breathless and sweaty when you’re working your thighs. Some trainers recommend the “lift to failure” method, where you repeat an exercise, with heavy weights, until you can’t do another second of it. This is supposed to build muscle more quickly. Be careful, though. This could also lead to injury.

Explode. When doing your specific reps, don’t take it long and steady and leisurely. Instead, give it all you got when you’re doing your sets. Be explosive. Get them done as fast as possible, with all of your might. Don’t be leisurely. If you feel bored when doing your reps, you’re not working hard enough. Feel the burn and produce the sweat.

Don’t forget to chill. Get plenty of rest between workouts, giving your muscles a chance to get strong and react to what you just did to them. This includes getting plenty of sleep. This should be a very easy-to-follow tip. If you’re working your thighs at maximum intensity, your body will thank you for those rest days.

Eat high/healthy calories. Because you’re in training, you should be super-fueling your body with lots of calories. However, don’t interpret this to mean junk. Eat clean: fruits, veggies, whole grains, lean meats, fish, eggs and dairy. Remember, protein builds muscles, so get as much of it as you can: beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, even tofu.

Drink lots of water. When you’re in training, your body will need more water than usual. Drink it by the gallon – get a jug; too much is never enough.

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