The Best Inner & Outer Thigh Exercises Without Squats

Lunges work and stretch your inner and outer thighs.
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The squat isn't the only exercise that tones and strengthens your inner and outer thighs. If you are tired of doing squats, spice your workout with leg exercises that challenge your left and right sides of your body. You may find that one side of your body can move better than the other side. There isn't a best exercise for your inner and outer thighs since everyone's goals, exercise experience and fitness level are different. Try a variety of exercises to see which work for you the best.

Functional Anatomy

Your inner and outer thighs aren't very strong in producing force, but they work well like brakes to slow your motion and force. For example, your inner thighs, which consist mainly your adductors, slow the extension and rotation of your hips, such as slowing you down during a sprint. Because your inner and outer thighs are connected to other leg and hip muscles by connective tissues and nerves, exercises that move your lower body together are better choices than exercises that isolate one movement direction, like side leg lifts and leg adduction on a machine. Training multiple joints and muscles together and moving in different directions improves movement patterns and performance.

Multi-Planar Lunges

Lunging in different directions challenge your balance, stability and coordination. You can lunge to the front, back, side and diagonally from your starting position in any order you wish. Once you are familiar with these patterns, turn your torso to your left or right as you lunge for an extra challenge.


A step-up is simply raising your body to a higher elevation. Use a stack of aerobic steps or a sturdy bench or chair about 1 to 2 feet high. When you step on top of the step on one foot, raise your opposite knee to your chest and hold the position for one second before stepping down.You can also do side step-ups and add a torso rotation to vary your workout.

Power Training

Almost every sport or activity require some degree of power, which is adding speed to strength, says physical therapist Gray Cook, author of "Athletic Body in Balance." Whether you are a dancer, gymnast or track athlete, adding power training to your workout will improve your reflexes, body awareness and ability to recover quickly after a bout of high-intensity exercise. These exercises include box jumps, depth jumps, single-leg hops, vertical jumps and power lunges. Because of the high risk of injury in power training, work with a qualified exercise coach before training on your own. The coach helps you by adjusting the variables, like sets, reps and exercise duration, and teaching techniques to improve your performance.

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