Whether they’re seen in short shorts or skin tight pants, strong legs often command a double take when someone struts by. That’s partially because they look great, but also because it’s well-known how exhausting it is to work our legs. But there’s one part of the leg that causes particular anguish for many people: the inner thighs. Maybe you don’t like how they rub together, or maybe you hate how they jiggle when you run. If you’re trying to tone up that area, you might look for a specific inner thigh workout. We have good news and bad news about exercising and losing fat on that part of your legs.
How can I tone up my inner thighs?
The good news is that there are some inner thigh exercises that can strengthen the adductor muscles. The bad news is that you can’t spot reduce them. In fact, you can’t spot reduce any area of your body. This means you can’t do anything to just target and reduce the fat on your inner thighs.
“The best way to strengthen your inner thigh muscles is by doing complex movements,” says Openfit fitness specialist Cody Braun. This includes moves like the sumo squat leg check (explained below). It targets your glutes and quads as you squat, while also attacking your inner thigh muscles when you rise up for the leg check. Doing these kinds of complex movements is a better use of your time and energy than just toiling away on the hip abduction and adduction machines at the gym. “With complex movements, you get more bang for your buck in terms of muscles strengthened and calories burned,” Braun says.
He also adds that the inner thighs are usually tight or overused, especially if you find your knees caving in when you squat. “Make sure to stretch and foam roll efficiently to avoid injury and keep your body moving well,” Braun says.
How do you get rid of inner thigh fat?
If the exercises below can help you build muscle, then how can you get rid of unwanted fat on your inner thighs? Again, we have both good and bad news.
“There’s nothing you can eat—or do, frankly—that specifically targets inner thigh fat,” explains Denis Faye, M.S. and Openfit’s executive director of nutrition. “If someone tells you otherwise, they’re either misinformed or they’re trying to sell you something. When we’re talking about subcutaneous fat—like the inner thigh kind—your body loses it from where it wants to lose it.” Unfortunately, you can’t dictate from where.
What you can do, though, is eat foods to help you lose fat all over. When it comes to building muscle and shedding fat, what you eat is just as important as how you exercise. Learning how to eat the right portions of foods is a great place to start.
5 of the Best Exercises for an Inner Thigh Workout
To really sculpt your inner thighs, your best shot is to do exercises like the ones listed below. But keep in mind that your legs might actually increase in size in the beginning, depending on your current body frame and fitness regimen. “What’s actually happening is that the muscle underneath is pushing out the fat, making it look bigger,” Faye says. “Be patient and you’ll lose the fat, revealing legs that are sexier than the ones you had before.”
1. Sumo squat leg check
Benefits: This combo move targets your whole lower body. For the squat, you engage your glutes and quads. Then your inner thighs kick into gear for the leg check, as well as your obliques.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out. Bend your arms so your hands are at shoulder height, palms facing away from your body.
- Keeping your chest up and your back flat, push your hips back to squat down as low as possible. Keep your knees aligned with your toes and don’t let your knees travel past your toes.
- Straighten your legs and lift your right leg, touching your right elbow to the inside of your right knee.
- Squat down and repeat with the left leg.
- Continue alternating legs, doing equal reps on both sides.
2. First position leg lifts
Benefits: Your inner thighs engage as you lift your leg, and you also work your core in this move to maintain balance.
- Stand with your heels together, toes pointed out, and place your hands on your hips.
- Reach your right leg straight out in front of you, pointing your toes so they’re lightly resting on the floor.
- Keeping your core tight and your left leg engaged, lift your right leg up as high as possible, then lower it slowly back down to tap your toes on the ground.
- Repeat and do equal reps on both sides.
3. Sumo squat tap
Benefits: By turning your legs out into a sumo squat, your inner thighs engage while you also work your glutes and quads.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out.
- Reach your arms straight up over head.
- Keeping your chest up and your back flat, push your hips back to squat down as low as possible, reaching your hands to the floor.
- Straighten your legs as you reach your arms up again. Repeat.
4. Side leg lift with band
Benefits: This move hits your abductors (the outer part of your thigh) as you lift your leg up, and it also works your adductors (the inner thigh) as you lower your leg down with control.
- Wrap a resistance band around your feet: separate your feet slightly, place the center of the band over the top of both feet, wrap it around the outside under the arch, and circle it up so it the handles come through in the center between both feet.
- Holding both handles of the resistance band together, lie on your right side, propped up on your right forearm. Keep your legs straight and stacked on top of each other, and your toes pointed forward.
- Lift the top leg, lower, and repeat.
- Do equal reps on both sides.
5. Releve plie squat
Benefits: As you pulse your legs up and down in this exercise, your inner thighs and calf muscles will constantly be working. The addition of the weight makes it even more challenging.
- Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes pointed out, holding a dumbbell with both hands, arms hanging in front of your body.
- Rise up on to the balls of your feet so your heels are lifted high off the ground.
- Keeping your chest up, bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Straighten your legs 50 percent, then lower again until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Continue pulsing up and down, staying high on the balls of your feet.