Are 26 inch thighs considered a normal thigh circumference? Or are they much bigger than average?
According to the data, the average American man and woman have thighs that are around 22 inches in circumference.
So 26 inch legs are definitely a lot bigger than average. This may be because you lift weights, it might be because of a genetic trait, or it could be because of how you store fat.
This guide examines the common reasons for people having 26″ thighs and then explains how you can both build and slim your legs.
Are 26 inch thighs big for a woman?
Yes, in general, 26 inch thighs are on the big side for a woman. But just because your 26 inch legs are bigger than average doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re too big.
For example, it’s possible that you could have a relatively slim waist and upper body but just so happen to store the majority of your fat on your legs.
Additionally, Danish scientists found that a low thigh circumference (below 60 cm/23.5 inches) was associated with an increased risk of heart disease and premature death. 
This could be because muscular thighs are indicative of an active lifestyle and a strong body. And a strong body can help you to live longer and with a better quality of life. 
Are 26 inch quads big for a man who lifts weights?
Unless you’re a professional bodybuilder, 26 inch quads are definitely big for a man who lifts weights regularly. This is especially true if your legs are lean and your quads have noticeable muscle definition.
Of course, elite-level natural lifters may say that 26 inch quads are average. But the reality is that most natural bodybuilders don’t have 26 inch quads, especially not when they’re lean.
A 26 inch quad circumference, while not absolutely colossal, is big to the point where you might struggle to find jeans that fit if you also have a relatively small waist.
Now, if your body fat level is the same as your quad size, then 26 inch legs suddenly become a lot less impressive because a smaller proportion of those 26 inches will consist of muscle mass.
Additionally, 26″ quads can look positively huge and freaky on a short lifter but extremely average on a taller lifter that’s over 6 feet tall.
Now you know why they say that bodybuilding is a sport of illusions.
How can you surpass 26 inch legs?
When your legs are already big (which they are at 26 inches), adding new muscle tissue necessitates eating in a calorie surplus.
So make sure that you’re getting enough protein to facilitate hypertrophy, enough fat to support optimal hormone production, and enough carbs to fuel your training and tip the scales in the right direction.
On the training side of things, make sure that you’re working your legs around twice per week so that you can take advantage of more regular protein synthesis spikes.
Leg training is tough, so I recommend having a heavier day at the start of the week when you’re freshest.
This session should be based around heavy compound free weight exercises like squats, lunges, and Romanian deadlifts (do not neglect the hamstrings if you want to increase your 26 inch quads).
Then, later on in the week, perform machine-based compound movements and isolation exercises for higher reps (legs curls, leg extensions, leg presses).
How can you slim your 26 inch thighs?
Not everyone wants to build or even maintain their 26 inch thighs. Some people, in fact, wish that their legs were much slimmer.
And while some individuals may never have really slim thighs due to their genetics, you can at least try to change their appearance by eating a healthy diet and following a good exercise routine. 
If you have 26 inch legs due to being overweight or obese, then eating in a calorie deficit will help you to shed inches from all of your body parts—thighs included.
If you’re doing weighted leg exercises regularly and are unhappy that your thighs have grown to their current size, then you can stick to bodyweight movements from now on so that your thighs don’t get any bigger.
If you want to build your glutes but not your thighs, then hip thrusts are the ideal exercise.
Conclusion: Should you be worried about your 26 inch thigh circumference?
If you’re a woman, then having a 26 inch thigh circumference—while larger than normal—is nothing to worry about unless it’s indicative of other health problems.
If you’re a man, 26 inch thighs are also on the big side. However, you shouldn’t feel like you need to build your legs any bigger just because people online seem to all have massive quads.
You’ll find that most serious lifters don’t even have 26 inch legs.
While having 26 in thighs can make it hard to buy clothes that fit if your waist is small, having muscular thighs is a sign that you have a strong body and lead a healthy, active lifestyle.
- Heitmann, B. L., & Frederiksen, P. (2009). Thigh circumference and risk of heart disease and premature death: prospective cohort study. BMJ, 339(sep03 2), b3292. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b3292
- European Society of Cardiology. (2019, April 12). Ability to lift weights quickly can mean a longer life: Not all weight lifting produces the same benefit. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190412085247.htm
- Healthy Eating for a Healthy Weight. (2021, April 19). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/healthy_eating/index.html