When it comes to building stronger well-defined legs, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what the best inner thigh exercises are. Your inner thighs require intent in training and focus on stimulating the adductors. We’re going to talk about the best inner thigh workouts, to help build more definition in your legs for a well-built aesthetic.
Inner Thigh Muscles
The inner thigh muscles of the quadriceps are called the adductors.
Adductors include five muscles: gracilis, obturator externus, adductor brevis, adductor longus and adductor magnus. They are on the inside of the thigh, starting at the pelvis and extending to the femur.
Inner thigh exercises will also stimulate secondary and tertiary muscles, such as your quadriceps or femoris as well as glutes.
Inner Thigh Exercise Benefits
1. Better Hip Mobility
When you lean into your heels and your side, you will contract your adductors, increasing and enhancing your hip mobility. Better hip mobility will translate into better and more powerful compound lifts that specifically rely on your hips, such as the deadlift, Romanian deadlift, snatch, squat, and power clean. Your hips are what drives the power to lift a barbell, and with better mobility, you’ll be able to get under the barbell and lift heavier. Hip mobility will also benefit movements, incorporated in yoga, as well as Pilates, providing better hip hinge movement, core stability, and functional strength.
2. More Functional Strength
Functional strength is mimicked in everyday movement patters, such as running, jumping, sprinting, or remedial activates, such as carrying groceries, picking up your kids, or walking up a flight of stairs. Inner thigh exercises will benefit your muscles in a different way, than traditional leg exercises, stimulating muscles to benefit functional activities, with less chances of injury.
3. Better Body Composition
By now, it’s no secret that the key to body optimization and fat loss is resistance training. Cardio takes the glory, however more lean muscle mass on your frame, will burn more calories at rest, increasing your bodies thermic effect resulting in less body fat and more lean mass. Stimulating your inner thighs in general require more intensity and max effort which will burn more calories than steady state cardio any day. Since your focus is on your inner thighs as well, isolating this specific muscle group and adductors on leg day will help in building a better physique and lower body aesthetic.
Best Inner Thigh Exercises
1. Sumo Squat
The sumo squat is one of the best inner thigh exercises, which will stimulate your adductors as well as your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Sumo squat is a functional strength training movement and a variation of the traditional squat. Sumo squat differs from the front squat or back squat in positioning, muscles worked, and load. The key difference in the sumo squat, is that you take a wider stance, with your feet turned out. While the sumo squat still works the quads, hamstrings, glutes, and calves, the positioning stimulates the inner thighs as well.
How To Sumo Squat
- The conventional way to perform a sumo squat is with a single dumbbell, or kettlebell.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width with your feet pointed at a 45 degree angle.
- Holding a dumbbell from the top on one end, push your hips back and squat down slowly, keeping your upper back straight and chest open and up.
- Pushing through your heels, engage your core and come down until the dumbbell slightly touches the ground, or until your legs are parallel to the floor.
- Pause, then push back through your heels, chest up and core braced.
- Repeat for as many reps as needed.
2. Lateral Lunge
The lateral lunge is a functional strength training movement and lunge variation, that shifts the targeted muscle stimulation to your upper glutes, and the adductors and abductors, also known as the inner and outer thighs. Lateral lunges can create more power, build more muscle mass and improve overall functional strength in your lower body, while building better core stability and strength.
How To Lateral Lunge
- Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
- Take a big step to the side with your left leg, then bend your left knee.
- Push your hips back and lower, pushing your weight into the side of your foot and heel. until your left knee is bent 90 degrees.
- This should take around two seconds. Push back to start.
- In this movement, your torso may lean forwards as step to the side – that’s fine, as long as you maintain a flat lower back.
- Exhale, then reverse the movement and stand tall.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
2. Curtsy Lunge
Curtsy lunge is a compound functional strength movement, that targets your inner thighs, glutes, quads, and hamstrings. As opposed to the traditional lunge, the curtsy lunge targets the inner thighs along with your glute medius, and minimus, helping to build bigger and stronger upper glutes.
How To Curtsy Lunge
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and arms in a neutral position at your sides.
- Shift your weight to your right foot and take a step back with your left foot as if you are curtsying, bracing you core, chest high, and bringing your arms up parallel.
- Cross your right foot behind your left, bend your knees, and lower your hips until your left thigh is nearly parallel to the ground.
- Keep your torso upright and square as possible, keeping your shins in place and directly in front of you.
- Return to start and repeat on the other side.
4. Standing Hip Abduction
The standing hip abduction is one of the best inner thigh exercises, that will target your upper glutes, abductors, and adductors. Hip abductors are a group of muscles located on the lateral sides of the hips which allow for sideways movement. This movement can be done using the cable pulley, or with a resistance band. Hip abductions are one of the best to build a bigger stronger glute shelf. Although this movement targets your outer thigh, the inner thighs are also responsible for lifting the load, when performed.
RELATED ARTICLE Abduction Vs Adduction
How To Do Standing Hip Abduction
- Lower the cable pulley down to the bottom and attach an ankle strap to one ankle.
- Stand perpendicular to the pulley with your strapped ankle furthest away from the pulley.
- Step away from the pulley so that it’s pulled tight and your strapped leg is pulled across your unstrapped leg.
- Grasp the cable pulley machine for stability.
- Keeping both legs straight, exhale as you pull your strapped ankle away from the pulley until it is fully abducted.
- Hold for a count of two.
- Inhale as you slowly return your strapped leg to the starting position.
- Repeat for the prescribed number of reps.
- Then switch ankles with the strap and repeat.
5. Landmine Squat
Landmine squats are an anteriorly (front) loaded movement which will place more emphasis on your quads, upper back, glutes, and core. What’s great about the landmine squat is that it emphasizes proper form, specifically glute activation, which is crucial for performing heavy loaded back or front squats to build more strength and mass.
How To Landmine Squat
- Place one end of the barbell into the landmine device and stand facing the other end of the barbell.
- Stand with your feet hip or shoulder width apart, with a tall stance and slight bend in your knees with a neutral spine and neck.
- Evenly distribute your weight and grip the floor with your feet to create a stable foot position.
- Using a full grip, clasp the end of the bar with both hands. Your elbows should be close to your ribcage.
- Engage your core and slightly tuck your pelvis. All repetitions should begin from this starting position.
- Begin the downward or shortening motion by bending your hips, knees, and ankles. Lower until your legs are parallel or slightly below parallel to the ground. The weight on your feet should be evenly distributed. Pause at the bottom position, activating your glutes.
- To begin the eccentric or upward movement, push your feet into the ground to initiate standing. Place emphasis on pushing through your mid-foot and heel while keeping your toes and glutes engaged.
- Keep your chest high, squeeze your glutes, and allow your knees to straighten and your hips to travel forward. As you finish the movement, squeeze your glutes and quadriceps while maintaining a neutral spine.
- Repeat the landmine squat for your desired number of repetitions.
6. Side Lying Leg Lifts
Leg lifts are a bilateral and basic ab exercise, that uses the weight of your legs to engage your core. Leg lifts can improve your hip mobility, enhance your flexibility, and increase your strength in your hamstrings and lower back. The traditional leg lift is a unilateral exercise, lifting both legs together at the same time, however lying on your side will involve moving your legs in alternate planes of motion, and engage your inner thighs. The small and shorter range of motion, will engage your inner thighs and isolate them as opposed to your core.
How To Do Side Lying Leg Lifts
- (note the video shows single leg, however using both will also be sufficient)
- Start by lying on your right side with right arm fully extended and head resting on right biceps. Bend your left arm and press your left hand on the floor in front of your chest to help stabilize the body. Extend both legs long with feet together, in a single unilateral movement, left leg stacked over right leg.
- Press your right leg up toward left leg to lift both legs about 6 inches off the ground. Hold for a count before releasing to return to starting position.
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