Are you avoiding leg strength training because you think your thunder thighs will get even bigger?

If anything will make those thunder thighs bigger, it’s donuts and pizza.

The “bulk” in your large legs is excess fat. It’s that simple. Stop calling it muscle and recognize it for what it is.

Every single female personal-training client I’ve ever had, who complained of big or “thunder” thighs, had a body fat percentage in the overweight range, based on skin fold readings taken with calipers.

If you’re still convinced your big thighs are muscle, then stand before a mirror and see if you can flex those thighs. What happens?

I needn’t say more. Lifting heavy weights will slim the legs because heavy strength training will burn up the fat that’s making your thighs thick in the first place.

Shutterstock/Oleksandr Zamuruiev

Between your skin and muscle is a thick layer of fat, causing the thighs to appear huge or big.

Intense strength training is one way to strip down that layer of fat.

Though you’ll experience an increase in lean muscle mass, remember, this new muscle is going to feed off the fat in your body.

The result will be a smaller thigh circumference and harder, firmer legs rather than soft doughy ones.

The body composition, over time, will change: more muscle, less fat.

However, the less fat will result in a net effect of a smaller leg. Lifting weights will not make that thick layer of fat thicker.

Strength workouts will thin out that layer, because the exercise will raise your body’s energy needs.

The body will then pull from those fat reserves for that energy; fat loss will result, and hence, smaller legs! I can’t say this enough.

Intense strength training will trigger higher production of the fat-burning hormones of lactic acid, human growth and testosterone.

These hormones will blast away fat. Light weightlifting will not raise the production of these hormones.

Thus, endless repetitions with light weights on the seated leg press machine will do nothing to unthicken your thunder thighs. You’ll just get better at sitting there doing 50 repetitions.

Use weight settings that make 8-12 repetitions extremely difficult. Each set should be a struggle, making it impossible to talk while performing the set.

Workouts like this will dramatically raise the body’s energy needs, forcing the body to burn stored fat for fuel and recovery., master1305

If excess fat sits in your thighs, then it will be used for energy, as well as the reserves located elsewhere in your body.

Intense weightlifting will leave your metabolism elevated for several hours after the workout; this means more fat-burning going on. Trust me on this.

Watch your eating; do your cardio; and attack the leg workouts with very difficult 8-12 repetition sets.

In particular, do squat exercises: with a barbell across your back and/or holding kettlebells or dumbbells.


In summary, strength training will NOT add “thunder” (i.e., FAT) to your thighs. But watch the pizza, donuts, soda and candy!

Lorra Garrick is a former personal trainer certified through the American Council on Exercise. At Bally Total Fitness she trained women and men of all ages for fat loss, muscle building, fitness and improved health. 


Top image: Shutterstock/Phat1978