One Thigh Bigger Than The Other (Causes & Fixes)

By Ire | Lifting Tips

May 22

One thigh bigger than the other (causes & fixes)

Is the difference in between your thighs size worrying you? Rightfully so. Having one thigh bigger than the other is not normal and is a consequence of nerves not functioning the way they should.

This article will explain what causes one thigh bigger than the other and how to work in order to fix it.

One thigh bigger than the other is a postural imbalance most often due to muscular imbalances. Like the name suggest, it is an inequality between opposite muscle groups. In our case, it is an inequality between right and left thigh. But what is it that is not equal? Size, strength? Well, probably both… but the reasons for that is due to inequality in between the amount of electric signals right and left thigh receive.

Normally, your right and left thigh should both be receiving half (50% right and 50% left). However, due to some reason, that ratio has changed. That means that every time you use your legs, one of them always gets little bit more activation and therefore better growth. But what could cause that?


Structural causes

If you are not as lucky, that reason for it is structural. That means that you were born with an imbalance that could cause depressed nerve, which would change the ratio. You can assume being structural if you have been having problems since childhood. Usually the only reason to solve that is surgically.

Lifestyle causes

Lifestyle causes are either due to event in your life or a recurring habit.

Event is when something happened to you. Maybe you broke your ankle when you were a kid and have been compensating with your other knee in order to make it seem like you are straight?

Recurring habit is due to the way you live your life. Maybe your nerves got compressed because you are always leaning on one side watching TV? Maybe you are way taller than your peers, causing you to have a forward head posture, which causes your hip to shot back?

You see, the reasons why one thigh is bigger than the other could be due to domino effect. One small thing from the childhood is causing something else which causes nerve depression, which is why your thigh aren’t equally big.

Luckily there are some things you can do in order to get more activation in smaller-sized thigh.



Working on activating the thigh that is weaker and smaller will force your body to build more connection and therefore more neuron pathways. My clients always perform their individual activation exercises in the warm- ups. That way that muscle will be more responsive during the entire workout, which means it will actually do the work instead of getting overcompensated (like it usually does).

For one thigh bigger than the other I would work on activating four muscle groups in the warm ups. Those are hamstring, quadriceps, adductors and abductors. The way to activate is to perform two sets for each muscle group. Pick lighter weight and do not worry about how many repetitions to do. Go until you feel the burn and keep going once you do. Burning/cramping feeling within the muscle is a good sign we are starting to build some connection to it.

  • QUADRICEPS: Single Leg- Leg Extension
quadriceps activation in done on a leg extension machine. It should be preformed with only one limb
  • HAMSTRING: Single Leg Bridges
Sinlg leg bridges will help with activating glutes and hamstring in order for one thigh to get more neuron pathways
  • ADDUCTORS: Single Leg Cable Adduction
picture demonstrating how to activate adductors with cable machine
  • ABDUCTORS: Single Leg Cable Abduction
how to activate abductors with cable machine

Unilateral exercises

As a part of your workout, your regular squats and deadlifts should’t be a priority. While bilateral exercises (being on both legs) will help you build strength on both legs, it will not change the different ratios in between right and left thigh size.

In order to only work one side, we need to take the other one out of equation. That is where unilateral exercises come in handy. For maximal hypertrophy (size), I would work in the range around 8-12. Therefore the weight should be so heavy that there is no way you do the 13th repetition.

One thigh bigger than the other causes and fixes. Single leg deadlift demonstration
Bulgarian squat is a unilateral exercise that will help fix imbalances causing one thigh being bigger
Step ups demonstration


While activation and unilateral exercises will help you to fix your imbalance, the real struggle is to figure out what is the actual root of a problem. What happened in the first place that caused nerve compression and therefore inequality in thigh size. But how do we do that?

Unfortunately, this is not an easy question to answer. We all have different body types and live different lifestyles. Due to that, there are millions of things that could be blamed as a root cause. My recommendation is to see a professional. A physical therapist or a posture expert. If you do not, chances are that your imbalances will develop even more which can cause more problems like back pain, knee pain, hip pain…

Need help identifying your own muscular imbalances?

If you need help identifying your muscular imbalances and receiving a workout perfect for your body type, check out of online coaching opportunities here!

Coach Ire will be able to help you to structure your workouts and diet for your own body type. Get an online coach to finally achieve your goals in the gym (PAINFREE!).

One Thigh Bigger Than The Other (Causes & Fixes): WRAP UP

Having one thigh bigger than the other causes problems down the road if left untreated. Postural imbalances which are either due to structural or lifestyle reasons left you with depressed nerve. That caused one side to receive less stimulation than the opposite. That is showed every time you go to the gym. You can feel in contact with one side better than the other. That is because that side actually works more, which caused that thigh muscles to hypertrophied more.

Without knowing the root cause, we can work on it through activation of smaller sized thigh and introducing more unilateral exercises into our program.

At the end of the day, the goal is to figure out what is the root cause responsible to your thigh imbalance. For that, seek for somebody who analyze posture for a living.

Also, remember to tell them to LIFT, EAT, SLEEP, REPEAT!

About the Author

Hey, my name is Ire.I am a Personal Trainer/ Strength Coach based in Stockholm, Sweden.When you don't find me in the gym, I will most likely be on a Track and Field stadium throwing around a discus.

  • Maia says:

    My right thigh is bigger than left mainly due to cycling – are the unilateral exercises only done with my left being the smaller one? Say, the single leg bridge would be my left leg lifted and not switch sides? Please advise. Thank you!

    • Ire says:

      Hey Maia,

      Good question!

      Always perform single leg exercise with both legs. However, begin with your weaker leg first.

      After, perform same amount of repetition/weight on stronger side.

      Let me know if you have further questions

  • Beth says:

    hi there,
    I have just realized that my right thigh is much larger than my left one. I just started at a gym and have been doing treadmill, recumbent bike, squats, lifting weights (5 lbs) abs work and etc. I need to know if this is causing a problem in my thigh. I walk OK but have had back sugery on my right side (Herniated disc in 2008). I wonder what is actually happening. Thank you.

    • Ire says:

      Hey Beth,

      Thank you for your question. Unfortunately your situation is too complex for me to give you a right answer through a comment section.

      I suggest you to see your local physiotherapist.

  • Nina says:

    If my left thigh is smaller should I do more reps on that thigh and less on my smaller? or should I do the same amount on both legs?

    • Ire says:

      I would suggest you do the same amount of reps on each side. However, always start with the smaller and weaker side and use the same load for the other side

  • Asma iqbal says:

    Hi I’m asma my right thigh is fatter since my childhood. Now I turned to 40 but still there is glaring difference in my right and left leg. What should I do? Should I get it operated or just do some exercise to bring it normal.

    • Ire says:

      Definitely start doing exercises mentioned above and talk to your physiotherapist about it as well.

      Might also be some nerve damage which can originate from somewhere else.

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