If you find the inner thigh area to be one of your trouble spots, don’t worry -- you are far from being alone. If you are seeking to target this area with a little extra exercise, you will not only benefit aesthetically with tighter thighs, but you will improve the motion and health of your hip and legs. If you are just starting out with exercising, ease your way into a routine with simple strength-training exercises and Pilates alongside cardio workouts that focus on engaging the thigh and inner thigh muscles.
Inner Thigh Muscles
To better understand the exercises needed to strengthen the inner thigh you should first know the muscles that make up this area of the body. The inner thigh muscles are located in the inside of your upper leg, but also extend into the hip, pelvis and other parts of the leg. Key inner thigh muscles are part of the hip adductors group, specifically adductor brevis, adductor longus and adductor magnus. They originate from the pubis bone and connect to the femur, and are integral to proper leg and hip movement. Just think about the versatility of motion in that part of your body. Fluid motion requires many muscles, ligaments and joints to work together in harmony.
There are some simple exercises for beginners that fall under the umbrella of strength training, but do not require weights or complicated movements. To engage the inner thigh with strength training, start with a simple piece of equipment such as the exercise ball. When it comes to an easy inner thigh exercise, the squat engages the entire muscle. Use the exercise ball to execute a wall squat. Place the exercise ball between the wall and the small of your back. Place your feet hip-width apart and about a foot in front of your body. Getting into this initial position is the most difficult part; the actual exercise is simple. As you lean back against the ball with your weight in your heels, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel with the floor and then reverse the motion to stand back up. The ball will roll with you. Incorporate other strength exercises for the inner thigh, such as walking lunges and bent knee extensions on the exercise ball. Start with one to two sets of 10 to 12 reps per set per leg.
Cardio is important to incorporate every week. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends participating in cardio several times per week for a total of at least 150 minutes. Cardio is considered any type of activity where you move your arms and legs repetitively and increase your heart rate. To target your inner thighs with cardio, consider swimming, stair climbing, incline skating and even rollerblading.
For Pilates newcomers it’s important to remember that Pilates isn’t about how fast or how much you do, it’s about precision. Start with a basic Pilates scissor kick. Lie on your back with your legs at a 45-degree angle. Cross your legs with your right leg on top and then switch so your left leg is on top. Make your movements slow and controlled. After 15 repetitions, you will definitely feel the burn. Also, include additional Pilates exercises such as leg circles on each leg for 15 reps.
According to ExRx.com, you can benefit from strength training individual muscle groups once per week with a high-volume program and multiple exercises and sets. You should focus on the inner thigh muscle group during a particular day in your weekly exercise routine and continue to do these exercises on that day every week. The time off will give your body a chance to recover and will also stimulate muscle growth.
- American Council on Exercise: Upper Leg Exercises
- Fitness Magazine: Sleeker Thighs in 3 Moves
- ExRx.net: Questions About Frequency
- Fitness Magazine: Our Top 10 Thigh Exercises
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: How Much Physical Activity do Adults Need?
- Fitness Magazine: Sleeker Thighs in One Month
- Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images