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JLeslie's avatar

Are squats going to bulk up thigh muscles?

Asked by JLeslie (54594points) October 17th, 2011

I’m sure squats build stregnth, but it seems to me they bulk up thigh muscles too. I’m just wondering why all my zumba instructers are obsessed with knees forward squats? I’m trying to reduce the circumference of my thighs, mostly need to lose fat, but I certainly don’t want an increase in muscle to be working against my goal. I know women don’t bulk up fast, but I am still interested in the main goals of doing squats.

When I did ballet regularly my legs were very strong, and my body was very lean. Cheerleaders and gymnasts tend to have large thighs, and they use the knee bend, knees forward position a lot, while ballet dancers are toes pointed out, probably working the inner thigh more.

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10 Answers

YoBob's avatar

Yes, squats will build up thigh muscle. Be careful of your knees.

Here’s the harsh reality regarding loosing fat. Humans can’t spot reduce. Trying to reduce the fat in a particular area of your body is kind of like trying to tell your car to burn only the gasoline in the upper right hand portion of the tank. It just doesn’t work that way.

Here’s the good news, building muscle will make your thighs look leaner, even though it won’t do anything for circumference. Your best bet there is to reduce your overall body fat (which will include your legs).

On a personal note, many men, myself included, happen to like athletic thighs. I married an ex-competitive ice skater. She could crack walnuts between those well muscled legs!

JLeslie's avatar

Yes, I know it is impossible to spot reduce fat, but as I lose weight, I know some of the fat will come off of my thighs. I am not pear shaped, my fat tends to gain all over, but now that I am heavier than ever I am stunned at how big my thighs have become. My stomach has always been a problem. If anything I am more of an apple than a pear.

I realize a lot of people work on exercising a part of their body think it will spot reduce, I am not one of those people, trust me.

Men like athletic thighs, but I want to be able to fit back in my jeans. LOL. I actually have nicely shaped legs when they are lean, as I do swim and do zumba regularly.

I just asked the question because I never did squats before. I don’t do all the squats in class, partly because I can’t because of my muscle trouble, and half of them I turn out and do a ballet plie (basically a squat with legs turned out) instead, to more evenly stregnthen the muscles. We use the top/front muscles of the thighs just by walking, and typical household chores.

tranquilsea's avatar

Squats are great because they get your heart rate up and work out the largest muscle groups. You get a great carry over effect with your metabolism for hours after.

When I was doing regular squats in conjunction with an all over weight lifting routine fat just ran off my body every where.

But you do have to be careful of your knees.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes. You’ll burn fat but you’ll also bulk what muscle is there. Yoga and Pilates will strengthen without bulking. They’re great for people with shorter legs or thicker legs.

thesparrow's avatar

Ya, but building muscle is a good thing. Your thighs will look nice and juicy. I bikeride and I built my muscles up in my thighs, but they look great, and the ass gets nice and tight. Who wants spindly little legs. It’s all about juice!

Teja's avatar

No no no no… there are simply far too many myths associated with squats and barbell exercises in general.

First off… with your question about reducing circumference specifically around the thighs… no exercise is going to do that for you exclusively. However, a clean diet in combination with exercise can certainly allow you to reach your goal. When I say “clean” I mean a diet consisting of moderate amount of healthy fats, moderate protein, no refined carbs (white rice, pasta, etc…). Cut out sugars (even diet sodas) and replace with water/proper tea. Eat clean and slowly but surely you’ll begin to reduce overall bodyfat.

Going back to why squats are so awesome… they are singlehandedly one of the best overall strength building exercise. You’re not just using your thighs, you’re using glutes, hamstrings, core, hips. Of course, to see results, you’re going to have to do a squat with proper form (below parallel!). And no you’re going to get monster thighs… unless you have a poor diet with an unreal amount of calories to begin with (or you’re a genetic exception).

rooeytoo's avatar

I know guys who do squats by the 100’s in pursuit of monster thighs but with no more than average increase. I don’t think a female who does a limited amount in a class will have any problem with over development.

thesparrow's avatar

JUICY THIGHS, BABY! Don’t be afraid of having juicy thighs and a tight ass.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m going with @Neizvestnaya because he agrees with what I thought to begin with. LOL. How’s that for picking an answer. Makes asking the question almost pointless I know. Just look at the bodies of people who do squats and weights, and people who do pilates, ballet and yoga. I prefer a longer leaner muscle.

Muscle is not fat. You can have great muscles, and if you have fat on top, you are still fat.

My butt is plenty firm, I dance all the time, and my legs are strong, not to worry. I just need to lose some weight, and I never had done squats in my life before these zumba classes, so I was curious. I was always 1st or 2nd in my class back when they used to evaluate us in school. The most sit ups in a minute, the most pull ups, fastest up the rope, etc. I never did a sit up (except for the test) or a squat or worked with weights back then. Just ballet and running around outside with my friends.

mrrich724's avatar

Squats bulk up thigh muscles, BUT your legs comprise 60% of the muscles in your body, so odds are you will lose fat faster than you will build up those leg muscles by working out your legs alot.

I do leg workouts, and I have problems (like many work-out guys) with big thighs. But doing legs has actually helped my jeans fit looser even though my quads and hams have gotten larger!

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