Exercises to Target Cellulite in the Thighs


Cellulite is nothing more than trapped fat globules under the top layer of skin. It does not pose 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. A workout regimen including cardio exercises for weight loss and weight-training for muscle toning can reduce the appearance of cellulite.

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, indoor cycling, rowing and versa climbing. Include cardio exercises in your workout regimen for 20 minutes at least three days each week.

Dumbbell Squats

The muscles on the front of your thighs are called quadriceps, and the muscles on the back of your thighs are called hamstrings. Dumbbell squats work both of these muscle groups, in addition to your gluteal maximus muscles in your butt. Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart while holding dumbbells at your sides. Keep your back straight and your core tight. Lower yourself by bending your knees. Once your thighs are parallel to the floor, return to the starting position and repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions.


Lunges work your hamstrings, quads and glutes. Holding dumbbells at your sides, step forward with your left foot. Bend your knees and lower your body until your left thigh is parallel to the floor and your right knee is an inch above the floor. Return to the starting position. Do 10 to 12 repetitions on each side.

Leg Curls

Leg curls work your hamstrings and calves. Lie face-down on a leg-curl machine with the back of your lower 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.

Isometric Hamstring Contractions

Isometric exercises involve muscular contraction against unmovable resistance. This type of exercise builds muscle. To do an isometric hamstring contraction, sit in a chair with your legs extended in front of you and your heels on the floor. In a steady motion, push your heels into the floor, contracting your hamstrings. Hold the contraction for 20 to 30 seconds. 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. Fasten the other end of the cable 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. During the exercise, squeeze your hamstring forcefully. Slowly lower your leg. Repeat for a set of 10 to 12 repetitions and switch sides.

Explore In Depth

Can alternating lower body negative and positive pressure during exercise alter regional body fat distribution or skin appearance May 01, 2012
  • Elisabeth Löberbauer-Purer
  • Nanna L. Meyer
  • Susanne Ring-Dimitriou
  • Judith Haudum
  • Helmut Kässmann
Acute Muscle Stretching Inhibits Muscle Strength Endurance Performance May 01, 2005
  • Arnold G. Nelson
  • Joke Kokkonen
  • David A. Arnall
The effect of back squat depth on the EMG activity of 4 superficial hip and thigh muscles. August 01, 2002
  • Anthony Caterisano
  • Raymond F. Moss
  • Thomas K. Pellinger
  • Katherine Woodruff
  • Victor C. Lewis
Relationships of peak leg power, 1 maximal repetition half back squat, and leg muscle volume to 5-m sprint performance of junior soccer players. January 01, 2010
  • Mohamed Souhaiel Chelly
  • Najet Cherif
  • Mohamed Ben Amar
  • Souhail Hermassi
  • Mourad Fathloun