As a certified personal trainer, I incorporate inner thigh exercises into every lower body strength training workout for my clients. And most of the exercises that work your inner thighs are compound moves involving the hamstrings, quadriceps and glutes (like the ones in our inner thigh workout below). It’s not just about isolating the inner thighs; it’s about using these muscles in conjunction with the rest of the lower body.
The inner thighs, also known as the adductors, are a body part women talk to me about often. Usually, they ask me how to make their inner thighs smaller. I respond with, “You mean how do you strengthen your inner thighs?” Stronger inner thigh muscles result in toning and tightening of the area and better performance in everyday activities. Your adductors are an important part of your ability to balance and stabilize your core, legs, hips and ankles.
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The Inner Thigh Muscles
Did you know that the inner thighs are actually made up of five muscles? Inner thigh muscles are connected to the pelvis and extend down the leg.
The inner thigh muscle names are adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus, and the gracillis also simply known as the adductors. While you don’t need to memorize the names of these muscles, I do recommend you focus on strengthening them – not just to look great in a swimsuit but to optimize the way your body functions.
How To Tone Inner Thigh Muscles
There are so many inner thigh exercises that claim to tone your inner thighs fast – but the truth is, to build muscle it takes time and dedication. If you’re looking for an inner leg workout that will tone and strengthen your inner thighs, the below 7 exercises need to be on your list. These large range of motion, compound moves are super effective, and all are low-impact exercises.
Benefits Of Strong Inner Thighs
There are so many reasons that strong inner thighs matter. Strong inner thighs can:
- Improve body awareness
- Provide a strong foundation for your spine when standing
- Decrease chronic aches and pains (specifically in your lower back, hips, and knees)
- Strengthen your core
- Improve lower body stability for sports with quick movements like tennis, basketball and pickleball,
- Improve your overall balance
- Make yoga poses easier to perform and hold
With so many benefits, who wouldn’t want to work these muscles? And the best part? You don’t have to spend hours on your inner thighs to get the results you want.
Related: 7 Best Exercises To Reduce Cellulite
Bodyweight Inner Thigh Workout
This inner thigh workout doesn’t require any special equipment.
For the best inner thigh workout complete 15 repetitions of each exercise (both sides when appropriate) then rest 30 seconds in between before moving on to the next exercise. Repeat the entire circuit of these seven exercises a total of two or three times. If you’re feeling up for a challenge add on another round making it a total of four rounds.
You can do this entire workout with just your body weight; no additional resistance is necessary. However, if you are looking for an extra added bonus or are working more on strength, feel free to grab a set of dumbbells to challenge yourself.
And make note, the lateral lunge exercise is awesome for adding in another plane of motion. The side-to-side movement is important to add for a well-rounded inner thigh workout.
Inner Thigh Exercises
To get started, try these awesome exercises:
1. Plié Squats
Here’s how to do a plié squat:
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart. Heels turned in and toes turned out.
- Bend knees and lower your torso, keeping your back straight and abs tight.
- Squeeze your glutes, engage your inner thighs as you return to standing position.
2. Heel Raise Plié
Here’s how to do a heel raise plié:
- Stand with feet slightly wider than shoulder distance apart, toes turned out, and lift your heels into relevé.
- Bend knees and lower your torso, keeping your back straight, and abs tight.
- Squeeze your glutes, engage your inner thighs as you return to standing position.
3. Plié Leg Lift
This is an excellent inner thigh exercise. Here’s how to do a plié leg lift:
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart and toes turned out. Bend knees lowering your torso into a plié and keeping your back straight.
- Squeeze your glutes and come to standing lifting one leg up and out to the side.
- Then return to your plié and repeat on the other side.
4. Stiletto Squat
Here’s how to do a stiletto squat:
- Stand with your feet hip width apart or narrower.
- Lift heels high like you’re wearing heels. Keeping your abs engaged slowly sit into a squat bringing your hips to knee height.
- Squeeze your glutes and return to your starting position.
5. Lateral Lunge
Here’s how to do a lateral lunge:
- Start standing with your legs slightly wider than shoulder-distance apart and toes pointed forward.
- Shift your body weight to one leg bending the knee until it reaches a 90-degree angle and the other leg is straight. Glutes are pressing back behind you.
- Return to center and switch sides. You are working in a lateral motion, meaning side to side which is important for a well-rounded inner thigh workout.
6. Single-Leg Hamstring Bridge
Here’s how to do a single-leg hamstring bridge:
- Lie on your back with bent knees hip distance apart, and feet flat on mat stacked under the knees. Extend one leg long towards the ceiling.
- Squeeze your glutes and lift your hips off the mat into a bridge.
- Lower and lift the hips for desired number of reps then repeat on other side. Remember to keep your abs engaged and your hips steady side to side.
7. Cross Behind Lunge
Here’s how to do a cross-behind lunge:
- Begin standing with your feet hip distance apart.
- Transfer your body weight onto your left leg and cross your right foot behind your left leg keeping your hips facing forward as you bend both knees and lower yourself toward the floor in a lunge. Keep your back straight and chest lifted to keep your weight in the front leg.
- Step back to start position with feet hip-width apart and repeat on the other side.
One quick note, you can’t spot reduce thigh fat. Getting rid of thigh fat and sculpting the muscles underneath requires a comprehensive approach to weight loss, namely: eating clean, getting in cardiovascular exercise, and strength training that prioritizes inner thigh muscles.
This inner thigh workout is a great way to strengthen and tone your thigh muscles but make sure to check out the comprehensive guide to losing thigh fat for even more effective fat loss strategies.
Inner Thigh FAQs
Through eating healthy, regular cardiovascular exercise and strength training. You cannot spot reduce body fat in a specific place. But as you lose overall body fat and strengthen the inner thigh muscles, you’ll notice a difference in shape.
The best exercises include plie squats, lateral lunges, hamstring bridges and cross-behind lunges. These are all compound exercises that work your leg muscles from different angles to sculpt and strengthen.
A thigh gap is a space between your legs when you are standing up. Anatomically, most women’s femurs hang down vertically from the pelvis and when standing, their thighs come together. If you are very underweight or if you are bow legged, then you may have a thigh gap but generally speaking most women’s thighs touch.
Health Mantion on April 17, 2022 at 9:50 AM
Very informative must tryout for better thighs
Ankur Tyagi on December 10, 2020 at 6:57 AM
Got very informative blog
Karen on October 29, 2020 at 8:18 PM
Losing weight doesn’t have to be difficult. By taking the time to exercise and make sensible food choices, you can improve your health, one small change at a time. regarding food Mixing these healthy foods with moderate amounts of your favorites will give you a healthy and enjoyable diet that yields results. You can even go a step further and use natural flavorings and spices to add zest to your food instead of pre packaged seasoning. What are your thoughts on smoothie drinks
Chris Freytag on November 5, 2020 at 4:28 PM
smoothies are great! just be careful of added sugars.
Mandy Garcia on June 18, 2020 at 5:24 AM
I love this workout! Gets me burning even though I have done this for more than 10 times! Please post more workouts where resistance bands can be used
Chris Freytag on August 18, 2020 at 10:12 AM
You got it - if you type out resistance band in the search of our website we have a few articles with workouts and exercise to do. Check out this one here: https://gethealthyu.com/10-minute-resistance-band-workout-to-burn-fat/