The inner thigh region is often overlooked when working out, but strong and toned inner thighs are essential for stability and mobility. Unfortunately, they're also one of the hardest places to tone.
This is because the inner thigh muscles are small and difficult to target with traditional exercises. But don't worry; we've got you covered. In this article, we'll share the 10 best inner thigh exercises for women. These exercises will help you tone and strengthen your inner thighs without a lot of equipment or fancy gym machines.
So, whether at the gym or working out at home, you can easily add these exercises to your routine.
What Constitutes the Inner Thigh?
The inner thigh is made up of four main muscles:
- The adductor magnus is the largest of the inner thigh muscles. It originates from the lower half of the pelvis and inserts into the upper part of the femur (thigh bone).
- The adductor longus, a long, thin muscle that runs down the length of the inner thigh.
- The adductor brevis, a short, wide muscle that sits just above the adductor longus.
- The pectineus, a small, flat muscle that lies underneath the adductor longus.
These muscles work together to help stabilize the hip joint and facilitate the movement of the leg.
Why Is It Important to Train the Inner Thighs?
All the muscles in our body need to be both strong and flexible to perform well. Most people only focus on strengthening the quadriceps (front of thighs) and hamstrings (back of thighs) when they think about thigh exercises since these two muscle groups are responsible for bending and straightening the knee and performing other movements like standing up, sitting down, and climbing stairs.
Most people only focus on achieving slimmer hips or nice-looking and stronger thighs. As a result, they start focusing on glutes and outer thigh exercises, forgetting entirely about the critical value of the upper inner thighs!
Most people have both weak and tight inner thighs, causing restricted hip mobility, tight hamstrings, improper leg alignment, and additional wear-and-tear (wear-and-tear, pressure, and pain) at the knee joints. However, it is crucial to train your inner thighs to achieve the following benefits:
Improve Your Balance:
The inner thigh muscles help stabilize the hip joint, which is essential for maintaining balance. This is especially important as we age and our bodies become less stable.
Promotes Healthy Hip Mechanics:
The inner thigh muscles control the movement of the leg. When these muscles are weak, it can lead to poor hip mechanics and can cause pain in the hips, knees, and lower back.
The muscles in your inner thighs don't just help with a forward and backward motion; they are vital in providing support during side-to-side movement, making them essential for healthy striding. Basketball, tennis, racquetball, and horseback riding would be nearly impossible without strong inner thighs.
Provides Better Ankle Mobility
The inner thigh muscles are attached to the lower leg bones to help control the ankle's movement. When these muscles are tight, it can lead to restricted ankle mobility, which can then cause problems further up the kinetic chain. For example, if you have tight inner thighs, it can lead to Achilles tendonitis or plantar fascia issues.
Reduces Risk of Injuries:
Strong inner thigh muscles can also help reduce your risk of injuries, such as strains and sprains, knee pain, or shin splints. This is because they help stabilize the hip joint and keep the leg aligned when walking, running, or moving. They also control the leg's movement during activities like dancing or kicking.
Help Alleviate Back Pain
For people who experience back pain, strong inner thigh muscles can help alleviate some pressure and pain as they stabilize the pelvis and keep the spine in alignment. They also work to control the leg's movement, which helps reduce strain on the lower back.
Now that we know the importance of training the inner thighs let's get into the best inner thigh exercises for women!
Best Inner Thigh Workout for Women
Here are the best inner thigh workouts for women that you can do at home or the gym, with or without equipment:
1. Criss Cross Power Jacks
Primary muscles: Glutes, Inner thighs, and Outer thighs
Secondary muscles: Legs, Abs, and Shoulders
Equipment: No equipment
- Stand with your legs shoulder-width apart and your arms up and out to the sides.
- Jump and criss cross your arms and legs.
- Jump again and return to the starting position.
- Repeat, and reverse the position of your arms and legs.
2. Lateral Lunges
Primary muscles: Quadriceps, Adductor, Glutes.
Secondary muscles: Abductor, Hamstrings.
Equipment: For beginners, no special equipment is required. As you build your strength, you may choose to add weight to this exercise.
- Stand with both feet hip-width apart.
- Make a big step to the left with your left foot, lunging and pushing your hips back.
- Hold this position momentarily before returning to your original position, and repeat on the other side.
- Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 to 15 repetitions on each side.
3. Scissor Leg Plank
Primary muscles: Abs
Secondary muscles: Hip flexors, and Quads
Equipment: No equipment
- Begin in a full plank position with each foot on a folded towel, paper plate, or core slider.
- Keeping the upper body stable, slide feet apart, opening legs as wide as possible.
- Then, slowly squeeze the inner thighs to slide the feet back together.
- Perform 2 sets of 15 reps, resting in between sets as needed.
4. Inner Thigh Blaster
Primary muscles: Quadriceps, Glutes, Hamstrings, Adductor, and Hip Flexors.
Secondary muscles: Abdominals and Calves.
Equipment: A small-size ball.
- Stand a forearm away from a sturdy chair, holding on lightly with your right hand.
- Step feet hip-width apart, toes pointed straight ahead. Place a soft, small ball (or similar size pillow) between the inner thighs.
- With hand(s) on hips, lift heels, balancing on balls of feet.
- Bend your knees lower about an inch while keeping your back straight.
- Press inner thighs into the ball, keeping shoulders stacked over hips, hips stacked over ankles, and core tight.
- Raise your hips back up, squeezing the ball with your inner thighs. Lower an inch to repeat.
- Perform 30 reps on both sides.
5. Tree Lean to Side Lunge
Primary muscles: Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, and Inner Thighs.
Secondary muscles: Core, Hips, and Entire Lower Body.
- Stand tall with feet together and arms overhead.
- Laterally flex the spine, arms and shoulders reach right while hips sway left.
- Sweep arms up and over, making a half circle toward the left as the right leg steps out into a side lunge.
- Land in a deep side lunge with the right hand resting on the upper thigh and touching the floor.
- Push off the floor and circle arms overhead to return to lateral lean as the right foot returns to the left.
- Do 10 reps on both sides.
6. Frog Bend
Primary muscles: Glutes and Quads.
Secondary muscles: Abs, Calves, Hamstrings, and Hip Flexors.
- Lie face up with legs extended straight over hips, feet flexed, heels together, and toes turned out.
- Keeping heels together, slowly bend knees out to the sides and straighten, using inner-thigh muscles to control the movement.
- Perform 3 sets of 12 reps, resting in between sets as needed.
7. Squeeze and Lift
Primary muscles: Inner thigh.
Secondary muscles: Abdominal muscles.
Equipment: A small size ball.
- Place a small ball between the ankles.
- Lie on one side while supporting your head with your arm.
- Bend your top arm and press your hand on the floor in front of your chest to help stabilize your body, and squeeze your inner thighs to secure the ball.
- Now, lengthen your legs, and press the bottom leg toward the top leg to lift both legs about 6 inches off the ground.
- Hold for 5 counts before releasing to return to the starting position.
- Perform 2 to 3 sets of 10 reps on each side.
8. Barbell Squat
Primary muscles: Gluteus Maximus, Hip Flexors, and Quadriceps.
Secondary muscles: Calves, Abdominal Muscles, Hamstrings, and Lower Back.
- Place a barbell across the shoulders and stand with feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out 10 to 15 degrees to each side.
- Bend at knees and hips, lowering the body as close to the floor as possible.
- Keep knees wide and trace the same direction as toes to avoid letting knees drop in toward the body's midline.
- Reverse the motion. Then, stand up to complete the rep.
- Perform 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
9. Pilates Side Splits
Primary muscles: Abdominal and back muscles.
Secondary muscles: Inner thigh muscles.
- Stand with feet parallel and hips-width apart.
- Place a gliding disc under your right foot.
- Extend your arms straight out from shoulders while your palms face forward.
- Slide the right leg to the side, opening legs wide apart (2 to 4 feet).
- Press into your left foot and use your inner thighs to draw your right leg back to starting position, keeping your legs straight.
- Perform 2 to 3 sets of 15 reps on each side.
10. Reverse Clamshells
Primary muscles: Inner Thighs
Secondary muscles: Hips, Glutes, and Outer Thighs
Equipment: A soft ball.
- Place a soft and small size ball between both thighs.
- Lie on one side, with your arm cradling your head and knees bent.
- Bend the top arm and press the hand on the floor in front of the chest to help stabilize the body.
- Then, press the top knee down with force into the ball on the exhale.
- Keep your feet together and squeeze the ball with your inner thighs.
- Perform 2 sets of 12 to 15 reps on both sides.
1. What is the most effective inner thigh workout?
You can work out your inner thighs in a few different ways. For starters, you can try specific exercises targeting that area, such as lunges, leg lifts, and squats. Additionally, you can try using a resistance band or actual weights to add some extra challenge to your workout.
Moreover, Yoga and Pilates are both great options for working on your inner thighs since they involve a lot of stretching and lengthening of muscles. The most important thing is to be consistent with your workouts and focus on quality over quantity!
2. How can I tone my inner thigh fast?
You'll need to focus on diet and exercise to tone your inner thigh fast. First, cut out any foods that are high in fat and calories. Instead, eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein.
Then, focus on exercises that target the inner thigh muscles, like lunges and squats. Perform 3-4 sets of 12-15 reps of each exercise 2-3 weekly for best results. Finally, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
3. How do I strengthen my inner thigh?
You can do a few things to strengthen your inner thigh muscles. First, try doing some basic squats. Squats target the inner thigh muscles and other muscles in your legs and buttocks. You can also try Pilates or Yoga poses that work the inner thighs, such as the triangle or pigeon pose.
And finally, you can use weights to do exercises that target the inner thigh muscles specifically. By incorporating these exercises into your routine, you should see a difference in the strength and tone of your inner thighs.
4. How long does it take for your inner thighs to tone?
It depends on how much excess fat and skin you have on your inner thighs. If you're starting from a reasonably toned state, it could take as little as 4-6 weeks of targeted exercises. But starting from a more flabby or jiggly state might take longer, 8 to 12 weeks.
In addition, diet and exercise also play a role in how quickly your inner thighs tone up. So make sure you're eating plenty of protein and healthy fats and doing exercises like squats, lunges, and Pilates that specifically target the inner thigh muscles.
The Bottom Line
When it comes to exercising, the inner thigh region is often neglected; however, strong and toned inner thighs are crucial for maintaining stability and mobility and preventing injuries. Unfortunately, the inner thigh muscles are one of the most challenging areas to tone. Nevertheless, with these 10 best inner thigh exercises for women, you can tone and strengthen your inner thighs and see the best results. Remember to warm up before working out, stay hydrated, and always listen to your body to avoid injuries.
- Mansfield, Paul Jackson, and Donald A. Neumann. “Chapter 9 - Structure and Function of the Hip.” Essentials of Kinesiology for the Physical Therapist Assistant (Third Edition), edited by Paul Jackson Mansfield and Donald A. Neumann, Mosby, 2019, pp. 233–77. ScienceDirect, https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-323-54498-6.00009-6.