Inner Thigh Exercises for a Beginner

Inner Thigh Exercises for a Beginner

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Press your elbows against your inner thighs for a great post-exercise stretch.

Hemera Technologies/ Images

Inner thigh exercises are relatively easy to master, even for beginners. You can start at home with simple exercises that require no special equipment or hit the gym for easy-to-use machines. As you progress, you can increase resistance with inexpensive exercise bands or more challenging gym options. Even fairly simple exercises can cause injury if not executed properly; take it slow at first until you are sure you have it right.

Muscle Action

Commonly called the inner thigh, the technical term for these muscles is the hip adductors. Adduction is movement toward your midsection. The adductors are also involved in hip flexion, when you lift your leg in front of you; extension, when you straighten from a bent-over position and rotation of your leg outward. Keeping these movements in mind will help you execute inner thigh exercises properly and get the most out of them.

Machine Work

If you exercise at a gym, your best bet is to start inner thigh work on the adduction machine. Because you sit in it with your back supported, it's easier to keep proper form during the time it takes to learn technique and strengthen muscles. Some machines recline so that there's only a slight bend at your hips and knees. In others, you sit upright with hips and knees bent at 90 degrees. In either case, place your feet in the foot rests and extend the pads until you feel a slight stretch in your inner thighs. Squeeze the pads together until they touch, pause for a count of two and then control the return to the starting position. The machine's stacked weights should barely touch before you start squeezing again. Choose a weight with which you can do eight repetitions with the last one being difficult. Do two sets of eight reps.

Floor Work

If you exercise at home or aren't quite strong enough yet to use resistance, you can work your inner thighs on the floor using just the weight of your leg. Lie on your side with your head resting on your extended arm. Start with your body in a straight line with no bend at the hips or curve in your back. Your hips should be stacked -- that is, don't let the top hip roll back. Next, slide your top leg slightly forward so that it rests on the floor. With your foot in a neutral position, lift your bottom leg toward the ceiling. The lift doesn't have to be high, so long as you feel the muscles working. If you find it too difficult moving slowly, use a pulsing movement instead. Each five pulses will count as one lift. Do two sets of eight on each side.

Combine Moves

Try combining all the movements of the hip adductors -- adduction, flexion and rotation -- into one exercise. From the side-lying position, roll your top hip back slightly and bend that knee with your foot flat on the floor, so your top hip doesn't quite rest on the mat. Prop yourself up on your elbows -- they should rest just under your shoulders -- and rotate your other leg so that your toes point as much to the side as possible. With that leg straight and just barely off the mat, flex your hip and knee to 90 degrees, then straighten again. Lift your leg to about halfway up your shin and repeat the flex. Next, lift your leg so that it fully aligns with the thigh of your bent leg -- about a 45-degree angle -- and repeat the flex. Do the same thing, bringing the leg back down. Do two sets of 10 to 15 reps for each leg.