All-Time-Best Inner-Thigh Exercises
A toned inner thigh is a healthy inner thigh — attractive and strong. Show yours some love with these effective inner-thigh exercises to get shapely legs.
Ball Leg Lifts
Using an exercise ball when strength training is a great way to add a little bit more challenge to basic exercises. Since you have to work hard to keep the ball in place, you end up using more muscle groups. This exercise will tone your thighs, especially your inner thighs, and also your core.
- Lie on your side on the floor with your arms crossed in front of your body. If this is uncomfortable, bend your bottom elbow and rest your head on your hand.
- Place a large exercise ball in between your feet, and slowly lift the ball up toward the ceiling using only your hips and butt. Return to the start position. This counts as one repetition.
- Complete three sets of 15 reps.
Glider Side Lunge
This exercise works the legs and glutes, but as you slide your leg back to center, your inner thigh does all the work. You need one a glider like the Valslide, but if you don't have one, just use the lid of a plastic container and do this move on a carpet. Or wear socks and try it on a wood floor.
- Stand with your feet a few inches apart, with your right foot on the glider. Make a fist with one hand and cup your other hand over it. Keep your hands in front of your chest throughout the exercise to help you stay balanced.
- Put weight into your left leg, and as you slowly bend your left knee and squat down, slide your right foot out to the side. Then as you slowly straighten your leg, slide the right foot back in. Most of your weight remains in the leg that's not moving.
- Complete three sets of 10 reps with each leg.
Sumo Squat With Side-Arm Raises
Celeb trainers David Kirsch, Jackie Warner, and Teddy Bass all recommend the sumo squat (also known by the name plié squat) for creating shapely legs. Focus on the inner thigh when doing this move, not the quad.
- Stand with legs wide and toes pointed outward slightly. Hold a pair of dumbbells in your hands with your arms straight and your palms facing down.
- Bend your knees until your knees are over your ankles while raising your arms to just below shoulder height. Arms should be in line with your legs — you should see the weights in your peripheral vision.
- Straighten your legs and lower your arms simultaneously.
- Complete three sets of 15 reps.
Pilates Inner-Thigh Leg Lifts
This exercise might remind you of Jane Fonda's workout videos from the '80s, but it's been a staple of the Pilates mat repertoire for decades. Since the knee is straight, you work all the muscles of the inner-thigh group.
- Lying on your side, lengthen your bottom leg and cross your top leg over it. Rest either your knee or foot on the floor. Prop your head up with your hand, or rest your head on your arm.
- As you exhale, lift your bottom leg up, and inhale as you lower it back down. Your torso should stay still while you do this.
- Do 10 reps, then repeat on the other side.
- Watch a video on how to do the side-lying leg lift here.
Gate Swings With Cross
This deep inner-thigh stretch tones your glutes, quads, and both your outer and inner thighs, and it also gets your heart rate up! Check out this GIF demonstrating this move in action.
- Start with your feet in a wide, second-position stance with your toes pointed slightly outward. Bend your knees and lower into a squat, using your hands to help push your knees wide apart to deepen the inner-thigh stretch.
- Push off your knees to get leverage, and jump your right leg in front of your left, landing in a standing cross-legged stance.
- Immediately jump your legs back out to a wide squat with your hands at your knees.
- Push off your knees and jump your legs together, crossing your left leg in front of your right.
- Repeat as many times as possible for at least 40 seconds.
Narrow Squat With Overhead Press
Standing with a much narrower stance while you squat targets the inner thigh, inner quad, and inner hamstring. There is no reason not to multitask on this move — so work your arms too. Here's how:
- Begin standing with your legs together, arms raised to shoulder height with elbows bent, holding weights by your ears.
- Squat toward the floor by bending your knees and reaching your bum backward, as if you were sitting in a chair. Keep your legs squeezing together. Focus your weight into your heels. While squatting, raise your arms overhead into a parallel position.
- Return to starting position by pressing through your heels while bending your elbows to lower the weights back to shoulder level.
- Do 15 reps for one set. Do three sets.
This dynamic move tones your arms and legs while getting your heart rate up; here's a GIF demonstrating how.
- Stand with your feet shoulder width apart, and extend your arms straight out to either side with palms facing down. This is the starting position.
- Jump, and cross your right arm over your left and your right foot over your left. Jump back to the starting position, then cross with the opposite arm and foot. This counts as one rep.
- Continue alternating sides and repeating this movement until you complete 25 reps. Be sure to keep up the pace and not allow too much time for recovery between jumps; this way you'll be sure to keep up your heart rate and engage your whole body.
The side lunge works the muscle on the side of the pelvis as well as the inner thighs.
- Holding a five- to 10-pound weight in your left hand, stand with your feet and knees together, hands on your hips.
- Take a large step with your right foot to the right side, and lunge toward the floor.
- Make sure your right knee does not extend past your toes, and keep your left leg relatively straight.
- Push off through your right foot to return to the start to complete one side lunge.
- Do three sets of 10 on each side.
Bridge With Squeeze
Adding an inner-thigh squeeze to your basic bridge will tone your inner thighs.
- Start on your back with your knees bent and your feet hip distance apart. Place a pillow, a ball, or a toning ring between your knees.
- Push up into a bridge. Keep your ribs aligned with your pelvis.
- Without raising or lower your pelvis, slowly squeeze your pillow 20 times. Lower the pelvis and bring your knees to your chest to round and relax your back. Then repeat twice for a total of three sets.
You'll feel the thigh burn in this yoga-inspired Fierce Pose exercise.
- Stand with your legs together, and soften your knees. Reach your arms overhead, and touch your palms together as you fold your chest down toward your knees.
- Hold this position as you drop your tailbone down in a small pulsing motion 10 to 15 times.
- Keep your legs squeezed together for support.
- Then cross your left elbow over your right thigh, and hold here for five to 10 seconds. Rise up back to center, and repeat on the left side.
For a more advanced version, try the relevé:
- While staying in Fierce Pose, lift your heels off of the ground and keep your tailbone down.
- Pulse your seat toward your calves 10 to 15 times, and hold the last pulse for five seconds to finish.
- When you end in Chair position, make sure your back stays flat, and think about framing your ears with your arms to keep them lifted for a beautiful finish.
Elbow Plank With Leg Lift
Adding a leg lift to your side plank tones the outer thigh while challenging your core. The trick to keeping the pelvis high as you lift your top leg is to reach the inner thigh of your bottom leg toward the ceiling.
- Place your right elbow on the ground. Extend both legs out so that your body is in one straight line and you're balancing on the outside edge of your right foot. Flex both feet if you can, and rest your left hand on your upper hip.
- Keeping your spine lengthened and your abs engaged, lift your left leg up just higher than your top hip. Then slowly lower it back to your bottom leg.
- Keep your waist up and lifted, and don't sink into your bottom shoulder.
- Do three sets of 15 to 20 repetitions on each side.
Side Lunge to Curtsy
If lunges are new to you, don't add dumbbells to this exercise until you are comfortable with the leg positions.
- Holding a five- to 10-pound weight in your right hand, side lunge to the left, bringing your right hand to your right foot. Lower your butt as much as possible while sinking back into your heels. Keep your toes pointed forward and your left knee bent to no more than 90 degrees.
- Push off gently with your left foot, and come into a curtsy position with your left leg crossing behind your right as you press your weight overhead. Keep your hips square and your curtsy tight. Both feet should be pointed forward. This completes one rep.
- Repeat by stepping immediately into a side lunge from the curtsy.
- Once you have completed 15 reps, switch sides. Do three sets total.
A great warmup move, this also works the inner thighs.
- Stand with the feet together, arms out wide. Raise your right leg out to the side, balancing on your left foot.
- Swing the right leg in front of the left, and then swing it back out to the side.
- Complete three sets of 10 to 12 reps, and then repeat with the left leg.
Although this move targets your abs, squeezing a ball between your legs also works your inner thighs. Here's a video demonstrating this effective move.
- Lie on your back, holding the ball with straight arms lifted toward the ceiling; raise your legs toward the ceiling too.
- Keep your lower back pressed into the floor as you lower the ball above your head and your legs toward the floor.
- Return to starting position, and switch the ball so you're holding it between your feet.
- Lower your feet to the floor, reaching your arms overhead. Return to starting position.
- This counts as one rep. Complete two sets of 10 reps.
These two variations will target abs and legs, including your inner thighs.
- First, take two small towels and fold them into squares. Place on a slick surface like a wooden floor. Step on them with the balls of your feet.
- Place your hands on the ground and drive your right leg back. Quickly switch so your right leg is in front and your left leg is back (like you are doing mountain climbers).
- Do eight reps on each leg.
For even more inner-thigh targeting, do this variation:
- In a low squat position on the towels, turn your right knee out so it is pointing in a diagonal.
- Drive your left knee back toward a corner so it is diagonal from your right knee.
- Quickly switch legs and repeat for a total of eight reps per leg.
Watch how to do towel runs and one more inner-thigh exercise in this towel workout video!
Crossover Lunge With Medicine Ball
Use this exercise to tone the lower glutes as well as the inner thighs. Adding arm work makes this a time-saving full-body move.
- Stand with your feet shoulder distance apart, holding a medicine ball.
- Take a large step diagonally forward with your left foot, planting it at the 11 o'clock position. Sink down until your thighs form right angles. Keep the medicine ball stable.
- Extend your legs, then lift your left knee and bring it in toward your chest. Step back with your left leg, this time lunging behind your torso and stepping back to the 8 o'clock position as you sink down into the reverse lunge. This completes one rep. Complete your set, then switch sides.
- A set equals 15 to 20 reps on each leg. Do two sets.
10-Minute Inner-Thigh Workout
Whatever you're wearing, toned inner thighs will help you rock your look. Check out this 10-minute workout that focuses on toning and tightening the inner thighs.
Tone the Inner Thighs With These 5 Must-Do Moves
Watch this video to learn five simple inner-thigh moves to keep this often overlooked area strong and trim. Plus, the only prop you need is a pillow.