The inner thighs are an area that many people would like to improve to better their appearance, but the thighs also play an important role in your day-to-day activities. These muscles, known as the hip adductors, are responsible for moving the legs toward the midline of the body, inward and outward rotation and extension of the hip. Your adductors are at work whenever you stand, walk, run or cross your legs. If you’re interested in toning your inner thighs or just improving the strength and function of your adductors, there are a few exercises that you can do. Shoot for two to four sets of eight to 12 repetitions per exercise to tone your inner thighs. Always talk with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.
Lying Hip Adduction
The lying hip adduction is a simple exercise that requires no equipment. Lie on the floor on your side with both legs extended. Your hips and ankles should be stacked on top of each other. Bend your bottom elbow and rest your head on your hand to keep your neck in a neutral position. Move the leg closest to the ground slightly forward until it lies in front of your upper leg. Exhale as you slowly raise your lower leg from the floor until you feel slight tension in your lower back. Be sure to keep your hips from rocking. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat until you’ve completed one set. When finished, switch sides to work the other leg.
Seated Hip Adduction
Sit in the machine with your knees on the outsides of the center pads. Pull the lever on the side of the machine and open your legs until you feel a slight stretch in your thighs. Release the lever to lock the pads into place. Rest your back against the back pad and exhale as you squeeze your legs together, until the pads just touch. Slowly return to the starting position and repeat for the desired number of reps.
Cable Hip Adduction
Stand next to a cable machine with the pulley lowered to the ground. Use the ankle cuff attachment and place the foot closest to the pulley in the cuff. Stand up straight and hold onto the machine for balance. Exhale as you squeeze your thigh, pulling the foot in the cuff across the front of your body until it passes your standing leg. Pause briefly and return to the starting position with control. Complete your set and then switch legs to work the other inner thigh.
Additional Lower Body Exercises
In addition to targeted adductor exercises, there are a few compound lower body exercises that will also tone and strengthen your inner thighs. Sumo squats, back squats, lunges and leg press exercises will work all of the major muscles in your legs. Plyometric exercises, such as box jumps and long jumps, will blast calories while giving your adductors a workout. Running, especially sprinting, is another effective way to strengthen your inner thighs.
References & Resources
- Journal of Sport Rehabilitation: Adductor Longus Activation During Common Hip Exercises
- Fitness: Get Strong, Sexy Legs: The Anatomy of Your Leg Muscles
- KenHub: The Hip Adductors
- American Council on Exercise: Side Lying Hip Adduction
- ExRx.net: Lever Seated Hip Adduction
- American Council on Exercise: Standing Low Cable Hip Adduction