Some body fat is essential for sustaining life and protecting your organs. Excess fat can form on the body if you take in more calories than your body can use or burn off. Where your body stores this fat is determined in large part by genetics. Women tend to store extra fat in their hips, lower belly, and inner thighs. Men can also have inner thigh fat, although they tend to store fat in their abdomen area.

Read on to learn how to reduce the appearance of fat on your inner thighs, and find tips for reducing body fat.

You can do the following routine two or three times a week to help tone your inner thigh muscles. Toned muscles can help reduce the appearance of fat.

When you do the routine, work through the entire thing, and then repeat it two or three more times.

1. Curtsy lunge

Reps: 10–15 on each leg

Equipment needed: none

  1. Begin standing with your feet in a wide stance.
  2. Keeping your chest upright and shoulders down, cross your left leg behind the right and squat down into a curtsy position.
  3. From the lowered position, push your body back upright, bringing your left leg back to the starting position.
  4. Next, repeat with the right leg.
  5. Alternate legs for 15–30 seconds, or perform 10–15 repetitions on each leg.

For an extra challenge, you can hold dumbbells in each hand as you do this exercise. Dumbbells can increase the resistance.

2. Lunges with dumbbell

Reps: 30 seconds per leg

Equipment needed: 5- or 8-pound dumbbell (optional)

  1. Stand with feet hip-width apart and hold a dumbbell in each hand. The weights should be steady at your sides. If you’re a beginner, you can also do this with no dumbbells.
  2. Step forward with your left leg and lunge forward. Don’t let your knee go beyond your toes. You want to keep your leg perpendicular. Your right knee should be about an inch off the ground.
  3. Keep holding dumbbells steady and straight in each hand, or perform a bicep curl while you lunge for an additional challenge. Your torso should remain upright the entire time.
  4. Keeping your weight mainly in your heels, push your left leg back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat this movement with the left leg for 30 seconds. Then, switch legs and lunge with the right.

3. Pile squats

Reps: perform for 30 seconds total

Equipment needed: none

  1. Stand with feet in a wide stance, with your toes and knees pointed outward.
  2. Slowly lower into a squat position. You can keep your hands on your hips to help with balance. Keep your spine and torso upright.
  3. Slowly rise back up, squeezing your glutes at the top.
  4. Continue for 30 seconds total.

4. Skaters

Reps: 20 repetitions

Equipment needed: none

  1. Start in a curtsy lunge position (see above) with your left leg behind the right and both knees bent.
  2. Press sideways off of your left leg and land on the right, with the left foot behind you in a curtsy lunge position on the other side. Switch off between legs.
  3. You can either hop or step, depending on your fitness level. You can also keep your back leg off the ground for more of a challenge.
  4. Repeat 20 times (10 per side). Rest and perform another set, if desired.

5. Medicine ball side lunge

Reps: 10–15 reps or 30 seconds per leg

Equipment needed: medicine ball (optional)

  1. Start standing with your feet wider than hips-width distance. Hold a medicine ball at your chest level with both hands. If you’re a beginner, try this move without the medicine ball.
  2. Take a step to the left. Squat down on the left leg by bending your knee and lowering your body until the left thigh is parallel to the floor. Keep your toes pointed forward and your left knee in line with your left ankle.
  3. Keep the medicine ball at your chest. It should align with your left hip, elbow, and shoulder when you are in the squat.
  4. Push off with your left leg to power back to the starting position.
  5. Repeat 10–15 times, or for 30 seconds. Switch legs.

6. Supine inner thigh lift

Reps: 15 on each leg

Equipment needed: none

  1. Begin lying flat on your back, abs engaged. Extend your hands out to the sides on the ground. Lift both legs to the ceiling with your feet flexed.
  2. Keep the left leg elevated in position, and lower the right leg out to the side as far as you can go without lifting your left hip off the ground. Keep your foot flexed the entire time.
  3. Bring the right leg back to the starting position and squeeze both legs together at the top.
  4. Repeat 15 times on the right leg and then switch to 15 reps with the left.

Additional exercises

In addition to the above exercises, you can also increase the intensity of your walk or run by adding an incline. You can do an incline workout indoors on the treadmill or outside on some hills. Running and walking uphill helps engage the thigh muscles.

On the treadmill, gradually increase the incline to 5, 10, or 15 percent. Outside, look for a small hill or steep driveway to start.

Aim to do hill training two to three times a week, to start. You could even start with hill training and do the above exercises afterward, or do the exercise routine first, followed by hill training.

Spot training involves training one muscle or “problem area” for fat loss. For example, performing 100 crunches a day in order to reduce belly fat. However, it likely won’t work. Most fitness professionals now agree that spot training is a myth.

Spot training doesn’t work because you are targeting small muscles. Instead, you can achieve greater results by performing exercises that work multiple muscle groups at a time, such as lunges, squats, pushups, and pullups. You’ll also burn fat more effectively by adding in 20-minute high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts to your routine two or three times a week.

Excess body fat can form on the inner thighs as either:

  • subcutaneous fat (located just below the skin)
  • intramuscular fat (located within the muscle)

You can reduce these types of body fat by reducing calories from your diet and exercising. For more ideas, here are 30 easy, science-backed ways to lose weight naturally.

Calories in vs. calories out

In order to lose body fat, including from the inner thighs, you may need to reduce the number of calories per day that you’re taking in. Depending on your current diet, you may need to:

  • eat less per day
  • eliminate processed foods
  • cut out sugary drinks

Try to switch out processed foods for whole foods including lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Your doctor can help you with a personalized and healthy diet plan.

Aerobic vs. anaerobic exercise

Aerobic exercises like running, biking, and walking get your heart rate up. They can be performed for an extended period of time. Anaerobic exercises like strength training, interval training, and sprinting are designed to be a “short burst” of activity.

Both types of exercise are important for your overall fitness level. But studies have shown anaerobic exercise, especially HIIT, to be highly effective for fat loss. Interval training can help you build muscle and improve your aerobic capacity. You’ll also save time because these workouts are designed to be performed quickly, but effectively. Learn more about the differences between aerobic and anaerobic exercise.

Some inner thigh fat is common, especially for women who tend to store fat around their midsections. You can reduce inner thigh fat by eating a diet of mainly whole, unprocessed foods. You can also perform the strengthening exercises above to help “tone” up. Studies have shown high intensity interval training to be effective for blasting fat. Always see your doctor before starting a new exercise regimen.