March 12, 2014
In addition to wanting a flatter stomach, many women wish they could change the shape of their inner thighs, so they turn to inner thigh exercises to try and tone up this area. But while spot reduction is a myth, exercising the inner thigh area is actually pretty important—and just as important for men as it is for women. After all, the inner thighs or adductor muscles, play an important role in helping pull the legs toward the center of the body as well as provide stability to the hip and knee joint.
Strong, sleek and functional legs are achieved by exercising the lower body in a variety of ways. Along with traditional exercises like squats, lunges and hip bridges, add a couple of these inner thigh exercises to bring about balance to your lower body workout. Each inner thigh exercise not only strengthens your adductors, but also incorporates other challenges such as core strength and stability, balance and leg power.
Weighted Inner Thigh Lift
A twist on a classic exercise, this version uses your non-lifting leg as added load, which adds an extra challenge to your core.
Set Up: Lie on your right side, on your right forearm, with your left hand behind your head. Extend the right leg out and place the left foot on top of the right inner thigh. Hover your right leg slightly off the floor and keep a flexed foot.
Execution: Lower and lift the right leg. Complete 15 reps and then switch sides.
Tips: Keep tension in the legs by slightly pressing the top foot into the lifting leg. Engage the abdominals and try not to move the upper body as you lift and lower.
Supine Inner Thigh Lift
It looks simple, but the unilateral movement of this exercise provides a challenge to your core.
Set Up: Begin on your back, hands by your sides and legs lifted to the ceiling with flexed feet.
Execution: Keep the left leg lifted toward the ceiling as you lower the right leg out to the side as far as you can go without letting your left hip come off the ground. Bring the right leg back up and squeeze both legs together at the top. Complete 15 reps and then switch sides.
Tips: Keep the abdominals engaged and press energy out of the heels to activate both legs to stay extended.
Standing Inner Thigh Lift
This ballet-inspired exercise works not only your inner thighs, but also incorporates the glutes and balance work.
Set Up: Stand on your left leg, with your right leg out to the side, right toes slightly touching the ground.
Execution: Leading with the inner thigh, bend the knee and lift the leg up and across the midline, reaching your left hand toward the right ankle. Return the right leg out to to the side. Complete 15 reps and then switch sides.
Tips: Stand up tall and focus on bringing the leg up toward your hand without collapsing through the spine.
Now it’s time to ramp up the intensity and incorporate a bit more glute and thigh work by adding movement to a classic lower-body exercise.
Set Up: Stand with feet wide, knees and toes pointed out. Lower down into a squat position, keeping the spine upright and the chest lifted.
Execution: Beginning with the right foot, stay in low-squat position as you walk the feet forward two steps, and then walk back two steps. Continue this pattern for 30 seconds. Take a short rest and repeat the exercise for 30 seconds, leading with the left foot first.
Tips: Keep the chest lifted and stay low in the squat while walking the feet forward and back.
Criss-cross Plié Jump
This exercise is a blast to your entire lower body, while still focusing on those inner thighs to get the job done.
Set Up: Stand with feet wide, knees and toes pointed out.
Execution: Lower down into a squat. Jump your legs together, crossing the right leg over the left. Jump again and switch the legs, crossing the left over the right. Jump one last time out into the plié squat. Perform this exercise for 30 to 60 seconds.
Tips: Work on jumping into a low-squat position and keeping the inner thighs glued together when you criss-cross the legs in the center.
Stephanie Thielen, BS, has a fitness career that spans over 24 years with experience in group fitness training and management in the community, corporate and collegiate setting. As an ACE Group Fitness Instructor and Personal Trainer, two-time IDEA Presenter, NETA trainer, AEA Trainer, and BOSU National Master Trainer, Stephanie provides land and aquatic workshops that teach logical methods for class construction, providing the “tools of the trade” to assist fitness professionals develop their teaching skills. Find Stephanie on Facebook at Stephanie Thielen Fitness, LLC.