10 Inner Thigh Exercises: A Great Inner Thigh Workout To Add To Leg Day

When we think of leg day at the gym, we generally think of working our quads, hamstrings, glutes, and even calves. However, we tend to overlook less popular muscles such as adductors, or inner thighs. These muscles are just as important as the rest as they participate in everyday movements such as squatting, walking, climbing stairs, and of course, running

To be a well-rounded athlete or runner, properly strengthening your entire body is crucial to reaching peak performance. Each muscle has a specific role that is important to the functionality of our bodies, and our adductors are no different.

Adding inner thigh exercises to your workouts is a great way to improve your stability and balance, among other great benefits we will look at today. 

This guide includes the importance of the adductors and gives you inner thigh exercises for a great inner thigh workout. 

More specifically, we will look at: 

  • What Are The Adductors And What Do They Do? 
  • Benefits Of Strengthening The Adductors 
  • 10 Inner Thigh Exercises To Add To Leg Day

Ready? 

Let’s jump in! 

A person doing a lateral lunge.

What are the adductors?

Our adductors are the group of muscles located in our inner thighs or our medial thigh muscles, which stretch from the pelvis to different spots on the back of the femur.   

The primary functions of the adductor muscles are to adduct the thigh (bring it in towards and past the center of your body), flex the hips, flex, extend, and rotate the thighs, stabilize the pelvis, and help balance the body.

When running, our adductors keep pretty busy with each step. They help slow down our legs when our feet land, stabilize our pelvis as our body advances and assist in the push-off phase as they help propel us forward. They sure have quite a lot of responsibility! 

Benefits of Strengthening the Adductors 

As with all strengthening exercises come many benefits for athletes, but also for the activities we participate in in our everyday lives. Adding inner thigh exercises to your strength training can: 

A person doing a plank jack.
  • Strengthen vital running muscles. 
  • Improve stability and balance. 
  • Increase mobility and flexibility.
  • Protect your knee joints. 
  • Develop a stronger core in general. 

Those are plenty of great reasons to add the following inner thigh exercises to your gym workouts!

Of course, the number of reps and sets will vary depending on your current fitness level, specific objectives, and which athletic cycle you are in at the present time. However, to get a general idea, 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps is a good place to start. 

Let’s get to our inner thigh exercises already! 

#1: Inner Thigh Raises with Resistance Band

Inner thigh exercises: Leg lifts with resistance band.

You are most likely used to seeing this exercise differently, where you lift your top leg instead of your lower, but since we are working our inner thighs, lifting the lower leg is what will get our burn on! 

  1. Loop a mini-resistance band around your ankles. 
  2. Lie on your right side, propping yourself up on your right elbow and forearm. 
  3. Separate your legs a bit, so your leg that is underneath is slightly in front of your upper leg. This will give you the space you need for movement. 
  4. Keeping your upper body stable, adduct or lift your lower leg upwards, creating tension on the resistance band. 
  5. Slowly lower it back down to just above the ground. 
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 
  7. Repeat on the other side. 

#2: Lateral Lunge with Dumbbells

A person doing a lateral lunge with dumbbells.

To begin with, you can try this inner thigh exercise as a bodyweight exercise and add weight in the form of dumbbells once you have dominated the move. 

  1. Stand tall with your feet together, chest up, and shoulders back, looking straight ahead. 
  2. Hold a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder height, palms facing in.
  3. Take a big step to your right, hinge forward at the hips, and sit back as you would sit back in a chair, bending your right knee into a lunge position.
  4. Push off the ball of your right foot and return to the starting position. 
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

#3: Lateral Lunge to Knee Drive 

A person doing a lateral lunge with a knee drive.
  1. Stand tall with your feet together, chest up, and shoulders back, looking straight ahead. 
  2. Take a big step to your right, hinge forward at the hips, and sit back as you would sit back in a chair, bending your right knee into a lunge position.
  3. Push off the ball of your right foot and powerfully drive your right knee up toward your chest extending your arms up over your head.
  4. Return to your starting position. 
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.
  6. Repeat on the other side.

#4: Complete Lunge Complex

A person doing a lunge complex.

Here, we will mix and match all of our lunge variations into one exercise, working our adductors from all angles. 

  1. Stand tall with your feet shoulder-width apart, chest up, and shoulders back, looking straight ahead. 
  2. Take a big step forward with your right foot, placing your foot on the floor in front of you. 
  3. As you take this step, bend both knees until they reach 90 degrees. Your left knee will be just above the ground, and your right thigh will parallel the floor. Be sure your front knee does not pass in front of your toes. 
  4. Push off your front foot and return to your starting position. 
  5. Repeat with lunges at all angles on the same leg: a forward diagonal lunge at 2 o’clock, a lateral lunge at 3 o’clock, a reverse diagonal lunge at 5 o’clock, and a reverse lunge at 6 o’clock. 
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 
  7. Repeat with the other leg. 

#5: Lateral Box Lunge 

A person doing a lateral box lunge.

For this one of our inner thigh exercises, you will need a plyo box, bench, or step. Here, we will perform an elevated lateral lunge to really feel that inner thigh at work.

  1. Begin by standing tall with the plyo box to your left, a big step away.
  2. Place your left foot flat on the box, hinge at your hips, bend your left knee, and lower yourself into a lateral lunge. 
  3. Push off your left foot to extend your left knee.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 
  5. Repeat on the other side. 

Note: You can also perform this exercise by stepping off the box after each rep to give your thighs a bit of a breather. 

Keep that plyo box right where it is for this next one of our inner thigh exercises, side step-ups. 

#6: Kettlebell Sumo Squat

A person doing a kettlebell sumo squat.
  1. Place two kettlebells on the floor below your reach.
  2. Stand tall with your feet a bit wider than hip-width apart, and your toes slightly turned out.  
  3. Tighten your core, keep your chest up, and look ahead.
  4. Bend at the knees and hips as you sit back, taking hold of the kettlebells.
  5. Extend your knees and hips as you rise with the kettlebells in hand. 
  6. Lower yourself back into the squat position, not allowing the kettlebells to rest on the ground, and repeat.
  7. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

#7: Side Step-Ups

A person doing side step ups.

This is another exercise you’ve probably done repeatedly, but differently, head on, facing the box. Here, we will switch it up by standing again to one side of the box and performing our step-ups laterally. This will work our inner thighs and the stabilization of our knees

  1. Stand with the box to your left, and step onto the box with your left foot, extending your left knee as you stand up straight. Your right leg will remain hanging off the box, in the air. 
  2. With control, lower your right leg back down to the floor, then step your left foot down to your starting position.

Note: Be sure to keep your body straight and facing forward while you perform this exercise. To increase difficulty, you could eventually add dumbbells. 

#8: Copenhagen Plank

A person doing a Copenhagen plank.

This is one of the more advanced inner thigh exercises that will give you an awesome inner thigh workout. You will need a bench place perpendicular to your extended legs for this exercise, but no weight is necessary; your bodyweight will do just fine. 

  1. Begin in a side plank position on the floor, propping yourself up on your lower elbow and forearm. 
  2. Place the inside of your upper leg or ankle on top of the bench keeping a side plank position. 
  3. Bend your lower leg to a 90-degree angle lining up your knees and keeping your lower leg parallel to the floor.
  4. Hold this position for the desired amount of time, ensuring you keep a solid side plank position. Do not allow your hips to sag. 
  5. Repeat on the other side. 

Note: The higher up your leg you rest your top leg on the bench, the easier the exercise will be. If you just rest your ankle on the bench, it will be more challenging. 

#9: Single-Leg Glute Bridge with Foam Roller 

A person doing a single leg glute bridge.

This glute bridge has a sneaky twist that works your inner thighs throughout the duration of the exercise. 

  1. Begin by lying on your back with your knees bent, arms by your sides, and heels on the floor at hip-width apart.
  2. Lift your right leg and extend it straight parallel to your left thigh. 
  3. Place an object such as a foam roller or a light medicine ball between your thighs and squeeze with your inner thighs. 
  4. Engage your core and lift your hips off the ground, aligning with your left knee. 
  5. Hold this position for a couple of seconds, activating your glutes and keeping your hips aligned. 
  6. Lower your hips to the starting position. 
  7. Repeat for the desired amount of reps.
  8. Repeat on the other side.

Note: Throughout this one of our inner thigh exercises, do not let the object slip from your thighs’ grasp! 

#10: Slider Plank Jacks

A person doing slider plank jacks.

For this last part of our inner thigh workout, you will need a pair of sliders. 

  1. Begin in an elbow plank position, shoulder and elbows lined up, forearms on the floor, legs extended behind you, and feet together. 
  2. Place a slider under each foot.
  3. In a fluid movement, spread your legs wide as if extending to the length of a jumping jack. Ensure your body stays firm and straight. 
  4. Slide your feet back to their starting position. 
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps. 

Ready to get those legs burning with our 10 challenging inner thigh exercises? Let’s give it a go! 

If you are looking for other exercises to add to your weight training, you can check out our Glute Activation Exercises and Squat Variations to spice things up! 

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Katelyn is an experienced ultra-marathoner and outdoor enthusiast with a passion for the trails. In the running community she is known for her ear to ear smile even under the toughest race conditions. She loves sharing her knowledge and experience with everyone and has a great desire to motivate others to hit the trails alongside her. Run for fun!

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