What Are the Best Exercises for the Inner Thighs?

What Are the Best Exercises for the Inner Thighs?

(Last Updated On: October 27, 2019)

Inner Thighs

How firm are your inner thighs? The inner thighs are a problem spot for many women. Sometimes, the problem isn’t a lack of muscle, but an excess of fat stored in the inner thighs. By slimming down, that layer of fat also becomes less obvious. What can you do about flabby inner thighs?

Many people still believe that you can spot reduce fat. Do enough targeted exercise to a region and you’ll slim it down. Isolated thigh exercises won’t remove excess inner thigh fat but there are exercises that can strengthen and define the inner thighs and make them leaner.

Why Do Inner Thigh Exercises

The muscles that make up the inner thighs are called the adductors. When this group of five muscles contract, it moves your legs toward the center of your body. These muscles also stabilize your knees and that’s important for avoiding injury if you play sports. That’s why you should do inner thigh exercises even if you don’t want to change how your thighs look. Balanced strength keeps your body in a stable state and lowers the risk of injuries.

What are the best exercises for targeting the muscles of the inner thighs? Here are five to add to your strength-training routine.

Sumo Squats

What would a lower body workout be without squats? However, standard squats have their limitations. For example, front or back squats don’t work the muscles that make up your inner thighs to a great degree, but one variation does. It’s the sumo squat, and it’s a good exercise to include in your lower body routine when you need to show your inner thighs some love. At first, use your own body weight and work up to holding a dumbbell in each hand when you do the move.

How do you do one? The movement for a sumo squat is similar to a front squat. The difference is you place your feet wider and turn your toes outward. For a sumo squat your feet should be wider than shoulder-width apart and the toes angled to 45 degrees. Sumo squats, like other squat variations, are compound exercise, so you’re burning more calories than you do with isolation exercises. That’s a bonus if you’re trying to lose thigh fat!

Ball Squeezes

Ball squeezes are a simple exercise that will put an exercise ball to good use while strengthening your thighs. To do this exercise, lie on a mat and bend your knees to 90 degrees. While holding this position, place an exercise ball between your knees. With the ball between your knees, squeeze your knees together and hold for 6 seconds. Release your knees and relax for 6 seconds. Repeat for 8 to 10 reps. With this isometric contraction, you’ll feel the burn in your inner thighs right away.

Side Lunges

Forward and reverse lunges target the quads and hamstrings but are less effective for the inner thighs. The way to get your inner thighs in on the action is with side or lateral lunges. Start by placing your feet shoulder-width apart with your hands by your side. Step your right foot to the right and shift your weight on to the right leg as you squat to 90 degrees. Pause for a second and shift your body weight back toward the center as you swing the leg back to its original position. Repeat 10 times before switching sides and repeating the movement on the left leg. You’ll also feel the burn in your glutes when you do this exercise.

Walls Sits

How about a little isometric activity for your inner thighs? Walls sits are an exercise you can do even at the office. Make this do-anywhere exercise more effective for your inner thighs by holding a medicine ball between your knees when you do a wall sit. You can even turn wall sits into a multi-functional exercise by holding a dumbbell in each hand and do biceps curls while you hold an isometric squat. Wall sits are effective for building muscle endurance too and that comes in handy if you play sports that require lots of running. The only equipment you need is a wall!

Goblet Squats

Sumo squats aren’t the only squat variation that targets the inner thighs. Goblet squats do too and they’re a good squat variation for beginners. Here’s how to do one:

Stand with your fit wider than hip-distance with your toes turned out around 45 degrees.

Hold a dumbbell with both hands grasping one head so the dumbbell is pointing vertically toward the ground.

While holding your feet to the floor and your chest high, slowly descend into a squat as your knees point out to the side. Don’t lean forward or let your knees fall inward.

Hold for a few seconds at the bottom and come back up.

Another advantage of goblet squats is they’re easier on the back, making them a good alternative for people with a history of back pain.

Slimming Your Thighs

Remember, the above exercises are for building strength and muscle in the thighs. They won’t remove excess fat as these movements don’t burn a lot of calories. Combine them with cardiovascular exercise or high-intensity interval training to increase the number of calories you burn. Throw in some cardio moves that target the inner thighs. The skater movement is a good example. You can feel the movement in your inner thighs every time you do this exercise. Another is a criss-cross plie jump.

Also, watch your diet! The best way to shed the pinchable fat around your inner thighs is to eat a nutrient-dense, whole food diet that lacks refined carbohydrates, sugar, and junk. You can’t build a lean, healthy physique through exercise alone. What you put into your mouth matters as much or more than how you exercise.

The Bottom Line

Many of the exercises we do daily don’t activate the inner thighs enough. By including these five, focused inner thigh exercises in your strength-training routine you can restore balance, gain inner thigh strength and add more definition to your upper legs.  Get ready for shapelier thighs!



American Council on Exercise. “Workouts for Inner Thighs | How to Strengthen Your Inner Thighs”


Related Articles By Cathe:

Which Squat Variations Target the Inner Thighs Best?

Why You Should Do Single-Leg Squats

The Surprising Fitness Benefits of Half Squats

5 Ways to Get More Benefits from Bodyweight Squats

When Squats Hurt Your Back

Are Ankle and Hip Mobility Issues Making It Harder for You to Squat?

Front Squats vs. Back Squats: Does One Have an Advantage Over the Other?

Are Squats a Good Exercise for Your Hamstrings?

Squats vs. Lunges: Which is Better for Glute Development?

Squat Tips: How to Get the Most Out of Squats and Avoid Injury


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