How to Exercise the Gracilis

The gracilis is an inner thigh muscle.

The gracilis is an inner thigh muscle.

Ask anyone in the gym to point out their biceps or abs. Chances are, they can do so easily -- but when it comes to lesser known muscles such as the gracilis, they probably haven't heard of it. If you don't know where the gracilis is located and/or what its function is, put your hand on the inside either thigh and move that thigh toward the midline of your body. You should feel the gracilis contracting. So, anytime you do this movement, called hip adduction, you will target the gracilis. Developing this muscle can help improve the shape of your inner thigh region.

Standing Cable One-Legged Hip Adduction

Attach the ankle cuff to one of the cable pulleys and choose the amount of weight you want to use.

Wear the ankle cuff around your right ankle and stand up with the right side of your body facing toward the cable pulley machine.

Take a few steps sideways away from the machine, so your right leg is off the ground and away from the right side of your body. Keep your left leg fully extended for support and your right leg slightly bent to avoid stressing your right knee while performing this exercise. Put your left hand on the left side of your waist for additional support.

Move your right leg toward the left side until you reach the midline of your body, or slightly past this midpoint.

Move your right leg toward the right until your return to the starting position.

Repeat this movement with your left leg once you complete the target number of reps with your right leg.

Seated Machine Hip Adduction

Choose the amount of weight you want to use and sit on the machine seat.

Place your inner thighs against the thigh pads of the machine. Bend your legs a bit to relieve stress from your knees.

Grasp the handles or sides of the machine for support.

Bring your thighs close together by adducting your hips. Breathe out during the first phase of hip adduction as you move your thigh, or thighs, toward the midline of your body.

Bring your thighs out to the sides until you reach the starting position. As you move your thighs out to the starting position, breathe in.

Items you will need

  • Cable pulley machine
  • Ankle cuff
  • Seated hip adduction machine


  • Do one to two hip adduction exercises during your core or leg workouts. If you do one exercise, perform three to five sets of 10 to 15 repetitions. If you do two exercises, do three sets of 10 to 15 reps.


  • Never hold your breath when doing any exercise for safety purposes.

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About the Author

Richard Choueiri is a fitness and nutrition expert and the author of "The Human Statue Workout." He began writing professionally in 2007 and his work has been featured in and "Physique Magazine." Choueiri studied exercise science and nutritional science at Rutgers University. He holds an American College of Sports Medicine CPT, and a National Exercise and Sports Trainers Association CMMACC.

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