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5 exercises that target and tone the inner thighs

This workout routine will tighten your inner thighs, while also strengthening the core and reducing your risk of injury.
Strengthening the inner thighs not only makes them appear more toned, but reduces your risk of knee, ankle and hip injuries.Maridav / Shutterstock / Maridav

We all have those areas of our body that we’re self-conscious about, that we would like to tone up. If the inner thighs are one of those areas for you, you’re not alone (hello, shorts season!).

While spot-reducing specific areas of fat on the body is near impossible, adding more muscle definition to certain areas is completely doable. Working the entire body and speeding up the metabolism through consistent cardio helps with overall fat loss. Combine that with exercises that specifically target the inner thighs, and you’re looking at stronger, more toned legs (and less of the “jiggle” that people are self-conscious about).

Appearance may be your main reason for wanting to show this area of the body some extra attention, but you will also be improving your body’s functionality and reducing risk of injury. The inner thighs actually are part of the core, so by strengthening them, you’ll be able to help prevent hip, knee and even low-back issues.

Dr. Steven Struhl, a board-certified orthopedic surgeon at NYU Langone Orthopedic Hospital, says “Working on strengthening inner thighs, also known as adductor muscles, is extremely important for both men and women, and has many unexpected benefits.” He explains that the adductors themselves are made up of five main muscles whose primary goal is to adduct or pull the legs toward the mid-line of the body and stabilize the outward rotation of the knees. “Unbeknownst to many, a strong core begins with strong inner thighs, as they serve as a foundation for the hips,” he says. Dr. Struhl explains that strong inner thighs can also keep ankles healthy and less prone to injury by providing better mobility. “Likewise, stronger inner thighs can help to take some of the pressure off of the knees, helping to protect the knee from injury,” he says.

Ready to start toning and strengthening? Perform this workout three times a week (every other day is a good schedule to aim for), along with 20 minutes of cardio three times a week, to reduce fat and build muscle in your inner thighs.

Leg raises

Lying down on your back with your knees bent and feet on the floor, extend the right leg straight. Turn the toes out to the right and squeeze your right quad. Lift the leg up off of the ground, point it up towards the ceiling and then lower it down. Repeat this 15 times on the right leg, and then switch to the left leg.

Bridge and squeeze

Lying on your back with your knees bent, reach your fingertips towards your heels so that they almost touch. Make sure your feet are as hip-width apart, and then slowly pull the naval in towards the spine as you lift the butt, lower back, and finally your middle back up off of the ground, towards the sky. Hold this position for a few seconds, squeezing the inner thighs in towards each other. Lower back down and repeat this 10 times.

Leg lifts

Lying down, turn onto your right side. Prop yourself up on your forearm and stack the legs, shifting them out on a slight diagonal from your hips. Step your left foot over in front of the right leg, planting the foot in front of the knee. This is your starting position. From here, lift your right leg up off of the ground as high as you can, then lower it down. Repeat 10 times.

Leg circles

After completing the leg lifts, hold the right leg up and make a forward circle with the leg 10 times. Then reverse the circle backward 10 times.


Still lying on your right side, bend both knees, and place the left foot on top of the right. Open the left knee up towards the ceiling, and then close the clam by squeezing the right knee up to meet the left knee. Release down and repeat 10 times.

Then, turn over onto your left side and repeat these 3 exercises on your left side

Gear that will work your inner thighs

Looking to take your workout up a notch? If you’re in the market for a new piece of fitness gear, these are great options to challenge the inner thigh muscles:

Exercise Ball

While lying on your back in the bridge position (or while performing any ab exercise on your back), squeeze a ball in between your legs to activate the inner thighs even more.

Pilates Ring

Similarly, you can place the Pilates ring either in between your inner thighs or between your ankles to help activate the inner thighs more during abdominal or leg exercises (like bridges, crunches or leg raises).


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