Exercises to Target Cellulite in the Thighs

Cellulite is nothing more than trapped fat globules under the top layer of skin. When it develops, it does not propose a major threat to your overall health, but it can cause mental frustration and a low self-esteem. The thighs are one of the most common areas for cellulite to appear, and to rid it from your body completely is not very likely. That being said, you can take strides in reducing cellulite’s appearance by doing thigh exercises. These can be done with body weight and free weights.

Lower Body Cardio

Since cellulite is made up of fat, calorie-burning cardio is a must. Any form of cardio that involves movement of your thighs is your best bet, such as walking, running, stair climbing, spinning, rowing and versa climbing. Perform 45 to 60 minutes of cardio, three to four days a week.

Dumbbell Squats

The muscles on the front of the thighs are the quadriceps, and the muscles on the back of the thighs are the hamstrings. Dumbbell squats work both of these muscles, in addition to your glutes (butt). Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart while holding dumbbells at your sides. Keeping your back straight and core tight, lower yourself down by bending your knees. Once your thighs become parallel to the floor, stand up and repeat. Do 10 to 12 reps.


Lunges work your hamstrings, quads and glutes. With your legs in a staggered stance and while holding dumbbells at your sides, step forward with your left foot, and lower your body down by bending your knees. Once your left thigh parallels the floor and your right knee is an inch above the floor, stand back up. After doing a set of 10 to 12 reps, switch sides.

Leg Curls

Leg curls work your hamstrings and calves and they are done on a lying leg curl machine. After lying face-down on the machine with your lower, back legs hooked under the padded lever arm, grasp the handles at the bottom of the machine. In a steady motion, bend your knees to lift the arm and stop when your heels are close to your butt. Slowly lower the arm back down and repeat 10 to 12 times.

Iso Hamstring Contractions

Isometric means without a lengthening or shortening of a muscle. Simply put, a forceful contraction is held for a certain amount of time. To do an isometric hamstring contraction, sit in a chair with your legs extended in front of you and heels on the floor. In a steady motion, push your heels into the floor and feel your hamstrings contracting. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds and release.

Leg Kickbacks

Leg kickbacks work your hamstrings and glutes with the aid of a cable machine. Fasten an ankle cuff to your lower right leg and to a low setting on a cable machine pulley. While facing the weight stack, lift your foot off the floor and push your leg behind your body. When doing this, squeeze your hamstring forcefully. Slowly lower your leg, repeat for a set of 10 to 12 reps and switch sides.

About this Author

Kevin Rail has worked in the fitness industry since 2001 and has been writing since 2004. He has professional experience as a certified personal trainer, wellness coach, motivational engineer and freelance fitness writer. He currently writes a monthly column for Ron Jones High-Performance Health. Rail has a bachelor\’s degree in sports management: fitness and wellness from California University of Pennsylvania.