Staple leg workouts typically include the traditional moves that burn out your quads, hamstrings, and calves—you know, the big guys. But, the underdog leg muscles need love too, which is why it’s high time that I find some inner thigh workouts to help me round out leg day.
Inner thigh muscles are particularly important because they help with stability of the pelvis (who knew?). “The adductors are a group of five muscles: gracilis, pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, and adductor magnus, and they all work to move the thigh to the midline as well as to stabilize the pelvis,” says Erika Bloom, founder of Erika Bloom Pilates. “To tone them effectively, work them in various ranges of motion to hit all five. It’s also important to remember to work them both eccentrically and concentrically, and also challenge them as stabilizers.”
This part is key because pelvic stability can help to prevent all sorts of pain. “The adductors help with pelvic stability, which can be a factor in back pain, hip pain, pelvic floor dysfunction, and overall strength,” says Bloom. “It’s also important that the adductors are balanced with the other leg muscles for proper biomechanics to prevent injury, which is especially true if you’re doing exercises, like spinning, that primarily target other muscle groups.” And with that: keep scrolling for 5 inner thigh workouts to try.
1. Inner thigh lift 3-ways
Start by lying on your right side with your right leg extended out and your left knee bent, with your left foot resting in front of the right leg on the mat. “Engage the right inner thigh to lift the leg four to six inches above the mat, or as high as you can bring the leg while maintaining a stable pelvis,” instructs Bloom. “Then slowly release the leg down to the mat. Repeat the inner thigh lift 20 times with the leg in parallel, 20 times with the leg slightly turned out, and 20 times with the leg turned in, or as many reps each as you can maintain proper form.” Then, do it all again on the opposite leg.
2. Inner thigh circles
Leg circles are effective but deceivingly hard. Begin by lying on your right side with your right leg extended out and your left knee bent, with your left foot resting in front of the right leg on the mat. “Lift your right leg up as high as you can while still keeping length through your left side waist,” says Bloom. “Engage your inner thigh to draw small circles with the right leg as though you’re tracing the outside of a tea saucer with your big toe.” She says to complete 10 to 15 circles in each direction before switching to your left side to circle with the opposite leg.
3. Bridge with ball squeezes
Upgrade your bridge game by using a small ball to make those inner thighs burn. “Lie on your back with your arms by your side, and place the soles of your feet flat on the floor with your legs parallel and a mini ball in between your inner thighs,” says Bloom. “On an exhale, press into your feet and gently squeeze on the ball as you press up in to a neutral bridge. Inhale to lengthen at the top, squeeze the ball for 10 pulses, then exhale to soften your front body in to your back body to roll back down.” Repeat for five sets.
4. Single leg bridge
Another bridge upgrade for ya: “Begin by lying on your back with a neutral spine and your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your legs pressed together,” instructs Bloom. “Exhale and press your feet into the mat to bring your hips up into a bridge position. Lift your left foot off of the mat and lengthen your leg out with your knees in line with each other.” While lifted, squeeze your knees together and hold, keeping your hips perfectly level and your core engaged. Bloom says to hold the position for eight counts and then bring the foot back down. “Lower the hips back to the mat to begin on the opposite side, and alternate for three reps on each leg,” she says.
5. Side lunge
Lunges are one of the best leg-working moves on the planet, and the side versions happen to be very effective in working your inner thighs. “Begin by standing tall, then step to the right to come into a side lunge on your right leg,” says Bloom. “Your left leg will stay straight as you bend deeply into your right leg. Allow your sitz bones to reach back and your spine to lengthen forward.” After that, she recommends pressing into the right foot to stand back tall on just your left leg. “Your right leg will extend and stay lifted a few inches off the floor. Move back into the right side lunge to begin another repetition.” She says to repeat 10 times and then switch to the other leg for 10 more reps. I guarantee that your inner thighs will be burning.
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