Before anyone gets too caught up in the idea of achieving perfectly toned inner thighs like those seen in bathing suit advertisements, it’s worth remembering even those pros get retouched when the photos are edited. Their lean legs probably don’t look much different than yours when the cameras aren’t flashing, but there’s also nothing wrong with wanting to look your best.
We’ve picked 10 exercises to target your adductors while also strengthening other key muscle groups.
1. Hip bridge with squeeze
Start by lying on the ground with your knees bent and your feet flat on the ground, hip-width apart. Your arms should be extended along the sides of your body with your palms facing down. Place your object of choice between your knees and squeeze them together to hold it in place. From here, push through your heels to bring your hips off the ground until your body forms a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold briefly, then lower your hips back to the ground.
2. Wide-stance squats
For this exercise, start by standing with your feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Point your toes out to the sides as far as you can without losing balance. Keeping your back flat, lower yourself into a squat, then press straight back to the starting position. While most people stop when their thighs are parallel to the ground, you can feel free to go deeper as long as you maintain good form.
3. Warrior I
To get into this pose, step your left foot forward into a partial lunge as you point your right foot diagonally toward the right side of the room, then extend your arms straight over your head. Your left leg knee should be bent not quite at a 90-degree angle and your right leg should be fully extended. Work to keep your hips squared and your legs squeezing toward each other as you sink down into the pose.
4. Single-leg knee adduction
Begin standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Raise your right leg off the ground by bending your right knee at a 90-degree angle. Sink into your left leg, allowing your knee to bend, keeping your hands on your hips. Lift your right leg out to the side, about 45 degrees away from your body. Hold this pose, then carefully bring your right leg back in, then to the ground. Perform eight to 10 repetitions on each side.
5. Scissor jacks
To perform scissor jacks, begin standing with your feet spaced shoulder-width apart and your arms extended straight out to the sides. As you jump your arms and legs together, cross your right foot in front of your left foot and your right arm in front of your left arm. Jump back to the start, then switch arm and leg positions on the next jump. Continue to jump, alternating sides each time.
6. Side lunge sweep
Begin standing with your feet together. Then, take a wide step to the left and bend your left knee to lower into a lunge. Sink your hips back and keep your right leg straight when you’re in your side lunge to work the inner thigh. Then, stand back up by pushing through your left heel. Keeping your leg straight, sweep your left leg across your body without touching the floor for balance, and bring your left leg back into your wide stance for another side lunge. Repeat 15 reps on each leg.
Begin lying on your back with a mat underneath you. When you’re ready to begin, keep your legs straight and press your heels together, then lift your legs up so they hover over the mat. The higher you lift your legs, the easier this exercise will be, so lower them close to the floor for an extra challenge. Next, lift your head and upper back slightly and keep your hands extended along your sides. Press your hands up and down toward the floor a quick 100 times before relaxing.
8. Step crossovers
Begin by standing on the right side of your stepper, then take your right leg and cross it over your left to step up onto the stepper. As you step with your right leg, place your left leg to the left of the stepper, and step down with your right. Repeat by crossing your left leg over your right, and sink further down into the move to target those inner thighs.
9. Single-leg lateral hops
This cardio exercise is great for raising your heart rate and targeting your inner thighs all at once. Begin by placing an object on the floor in front of you — this is the object you’ll imagine yourself laterally jumping over so you can ensure you’re getting the most out of the exercise. Then, stand to the right of the object and balance yourself on your right leg. When you’re ready to begin, bend your knees and push off with your right leg to jump to the left. Land with your weight in your left leg, and repeat the move back over to the right. Stay light on your feet, and sink into the move for more inner thigh strengthening.
10. Transverse lunge
Start with feet hip-width apart, facing forward. Step out with your left foot back and to the side, almost as if you’re going into a side lunge. Keeping your right leg straight, pivot on the ball of your right foot and rotate your torso as you go into your lunge. Then, pivot back onto your right foot and push through your left heel to return to your starting position. Alternate on each side.
Lauren Weiler also contributed to this article
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