Running uphill engages both your thigh and buttocks muscles.
The muscles located above your knees include the hamstrings that run along the back of the thighs, quadriceps on the front of the thighs and the butt muscles. Muscle conditioning exercises like lunges and leg lifts will target the upper leg muscles, bringing strength and muscular definition. To really target the upper leg muscles though, combine conditioning exercises with regular cardiovascular exercises that engage your upper leg muscles, such as running, swimming, cycling or the elliptical machine. Aim for 150 minutes of cardio exercise per week and two to three days of conditioning exercises that specifically target the upper legs.1.
Act like a fierce warrior with yoga warrior pose to engage your quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. To perform warrior pose, step back with your right foot 3 to 4 feet behind you and turn your right toes out to 45 degrees. Bend your front knee to a 90-degree angle, without letting your front knee slide beyond your ankle. Square your hips and your torso over your front thigh and extend your arms straight over head, palms facing one another. Lower your hips closer to the floor to deeply engage the hamstrings and thigh muscles. Hold warrior pose for 30 seconds to one minute before switching sides.2.
Perform front lunges to work out all of the leg muscles above the knees. To perform lunges stand up tall with a straight spine and neutral pelvis. Step forward with your right leg and bend your right knee until your right thigh is parallel with the floor. Simultaneously, bend your left knee until it almost touches the ground. Keep your pelvis lifted throughout the entire exercise. Press your right foot into the floor and step back to the starting position. Switch sides and step forward with your left leg. Perform up to three sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each leg.3.
Uncover your inner ballet dancer with a combination leg lift and arabesque exercise. Hold on to the back of a chair for extra stability in this exercise if you need to. Stand with your left side facing the back of the chair and hold on to the chair with your left hand. Brace your abdominal muscles by pulling your belly button in toward your spine. Lift your right leg as high as you can, keeping the leg straight and hold for five seconds. Sweep your right leg down and back behind you, lifting your straight right leg as high as you can. Hold your leg behind you for five seconds. Perform 10 to 15 repetitions on your right leg before switching sides.4.
Run uphill either on a treadmill or outdoors to engage the entire upper legs and buttocks. Running uphill has the added advantages of both decreasing the likelihood of injury and increasing your stamina and running economy. Start off slowly at first, incorporating a few 20- to 30-minute runs into your weekly exercise schedule. Be sure to wear supportive and protective footwear and high visibility gear if you are running outside.
- If you're concerned about losing excess fat above your knees, consider adopting a low-calorie, balanced diet to help you cut calories and lose weight over your entire body.
- If you are new to exercise or have knee or hip injuries, speak to your doctor before performing upper leg exercises.