The inner thighs, or adductor muscles, enable you to rotate, flex or extend your hips as well as stabilize your pelvis. Your outer thighs, or abductor muscles, have to produce adequate force to balance the weight of your entire body when you walk. They also keep your pelvis level as you move. Leg scissor exercises can help you to isolate and strengthen your inner and outer thighs.
The criss-cross kick strengthens both adductors and abductors and helps to maintain forefoot, knee and hip alignment. Lie flat on your back. Extend and straighten your legs. Place your hands beneath your lower back. Suck in your abdominals and push your elbows into the floor. Lift your legs about 4 inches off the ground. Scissor your legs, crossing your left leg over right and vice versa. Count one criss-cross with both legs as a single rep and work up to 100 reps.
This exercise combines the cross-kicking action with stretching and resistance training. Lie on your back with your legs lifted at a 90-degree angle to the floor. Use a scissor movement to spread your legs as wide apart as possible. Press your adductors, or inner thighs, with your hands to extend the stretch. Hold the stretch for a second. Place your hands on your outer thighs to close your legs. Exert counter pressure to resist your legs' movement as they come together. Perform the exercise 15 times. At the end of the set, criss-cross your legs about 15 times. Relax your abdominals and bend your legs. Make a circle with your knees to loosen your legs. Repeat the entire set twice.
Use of Ankle Weights
Place 5 pound ankle weights around your ankles to increase the load of the exercise. Lie on your right side. Straighten your legs so your hips, knees and feet are aligned in a stack. Support your head with your right arm. Lift your legs off the floor and scissor them forward and back. Perform three sets of 25 to 30 reps. After you finish the set, hold the scissors position. Make sure your inner thighs touch each other. Lower and lift your legs in this position. Use your abdominals to stabilize your body. Perform 25 to 30 small leg lifts.
A Balanced Workout
The inner thigh muscles attach from the pelvis to different areas of the thigh bone and run all the way down to the knee. They have a powerful ability to generate force. In contrast, the outer thigh muscles consist primarily of connective tissue that attaches to the knee. They tend to be weak. If you focus on strengthening the inner thighs without equally building the outer thighs, an imbalance occurs. As a result, the inner thigh muscles may shorten and become prone to strains and tears.
- Bicycling, Mar 2007: “Core Exercises;” Dimity McDowell
- Prevention, Sept. 2008: “Love Your Lower Body!;” Natalie Gingerich
- The Ultimate Body Shaping Bible: Get in the Best Shape of Your Life with…; Karon Karter
- Move & Relax: Happy Body and Soul Training: Fit and Beautiful from 40 Onwards; Sylvia Leela Isani, et. al.
- Overpower Pain: The Strength-Training Program That Stops Pain Without Drugs…; Mitchell T. Yass
- DeJong’s The Neurologic Examination; William W. Campbell
Kay Tang is a journalist who has been writing since 1990. She previously covered developments in theater for the "Dramatists Guild Quarterly." Tang graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in economics and political science from Yale University and completed a Master of Professional Studies in interactive telecommunications at New York University.