Do your fitness goals include toned and strong legs? Do you want more strength on the inside of the thigh?
To get strong inner thighs, you’ll need a workout routine that combines thigh exercises, weight training, and cardio workouts.
But remember! One-off training is a myth.
While you can target a specific area of the body for fat loss, such as the inner thighs, that doesn’t mean that all the fat in those areas will magically disappear in one workout.
Building muscle in this area, however, will boost your resting metabolism while shaping and burning excess fat faster.
An effective way to achieve this goal is to work the entire lower body, especially the inner thighs, outer thighs, quads and glutes.
Shapely legs aren’t the only reason to target inner thigh muscles.
If they are weak, you may have a muscle imbalance, meaning that one muscle group will overcompensate another.
This can lead to pain in the lower body, such as the lower back or the knee joint.
With that in mind, we’re going to cover 12 of the best thigh exercises for toned legs.
These exercises will strengthen your adductors, quadriceps, hamstrings and glutes. Correct form is imperative. Each exercise is accompanied by a video for additional instructions.
Some are bodyweight exercises while others can use an exercise mat, stability ball, ankle weights, or resistance bands.
Your inner thighs
The muscles in the inner thigh are also known as your adductors.
These muscles stabilize your lower body, especially your hips, knees, and abs.
5 muscles make up your hip adductors. These are the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, pectineus and gracilis.
These muscles pull your leg inward, toward the midline. This movement is called adduction.
Strengthening these muscles plays an important role in preventing injury and stabilizing the body as a whole.
The inner thigh exercises described below will strengthen the inner thigh muscles while toning and slimming your legs.
Good news! At the end of this list, there’s a 20 minute inner and outer thigh workout suggestion to get you started!
1. Inner thigh elevation lying on the side
Start by lying on your right side on a mat. Stretch your right arm above your head. Bend your elbow and place your right hand behind your right ear.
Take your top leg, your left foot and place it on the mat in front of your hips. Thread your left hand behind your calf, standing on the outside of your ankle.
Stretch your lower leg, your straight, a long time while lifting it off the ground, creating a straight line with your body. Engage your thigh. Don’t bend the knee.
Lower the leg towards the mat. Take it up a notch by adding small pulses before going down!
Repeat the same number of inner thigh lifts with your left leg.
2. Side slit
The side lunge can go by several different names such as the side squat or the side lunge.
Start with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step to the left. Bend your left knee, pulling your hips back behind you. Both feet remain flat on the ground.
Push down on your left leg to return to the starting position.
Once you have completed your set on the left, switch to the opposite side taking a big step to the right. Make sure you do the same number of repetitions on each side.
3. Goblet Squat
Start wide, your feet are slightly wider than hip width. Hold a weight in your hands at chest level. It can be a kettlebell or a dumbbell. You can also perform this squat as a bodyweight exercise.
Inhale. Engage your heart by keeping your gaze straight ahead. Have a neutral spine as you begin to lower your hips back, bending your knees into a squat. Keep your chosen weight in your chest and your elbows on the inside of your knees.
Pause. As you exhale, contract your hamstrings, pressing evenly on both feet as you stand up.
4. Dumbbell lunge
Choose 2 dumbbells (or kettlebells) of the same weight, one for each hand, palms in. If you are a beginner, start with a lower weight or your body weight. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Step forward with the right foot bending the knee at a 90 degree angle. Your back knee is also bent, but don’t let the back leg touch the floor.
Step on your front foot as you return to the starting position with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Repeat on your left side. It’s 1 repetition.
5. Curtsy lunge
Stand with your feet hip-width apart, hands clasped in front of your chest. Point your right toes, as in the front of a step, and draw a circle with your right foot until it crosses your midline behind your left leg.
Lunge deeply with your right knee a few inches off the floor. Do not stitch at the hips. Step on your left foot as you return to a standing position. Repeat with the opposite leg. It’s 1 repetition.
6. Sumo deadlift
Stand in a squatting position with your feet a little wider than your shoulders. Your toes point slightly.
Hold your dumbbells in front of your hips at the top of the thigh, palms facing inward. Start returning your hips, spine neutral, trunk engaged.
Continue lowering until the dumbbells are below your knees, in front of your shins, a few inches off the floor.
Cross your heels and squeeze your glutes as you return to the starting position.
You can practice the sumo squat to get a feel for the movement before adding weights.
7. Leg lift with ankle weights
This exercise not only targets the muscles in your leg and inner thigh, but also affects your abs!
Start by attaching an ankle weight to your upper ankle and lie down on your right side. Take your left hand behind your head, supporting yourself with your left elbow.
Have a 90 degree bend in your right leg on the floor. This is your base. Stretch the left hip flexor as you straighten your upper leg.
Slowly lift your left leg as you exhale. Hold on. Lower on an inhale. It’s 1 repetition.
When your set is over, repeat on the other side.
8. Stability ball side leg lifts
A fun addition to your leg lift can be a stability ball!
Place your stability ball on top of your mat. Lie on your right side, oblique on the ball. Create a stable base before you find your movement. Have a slight bend in your lower knee, connecting to the floor. Wrap your right arm around the ball.
Straighten your left leg, pointing your toes. Engage your core and hip abductors as you lift your upper leg. Your right leg provides stability. Slowly lower your back.
Repeat on the left side.
9. Folded Squat
This bodyweight squat will ignite your inner thighs! As a personal trainer, this is one of my favorite bodyweight exercises.
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder width in an upright position. Rotate your toes at 45-degree angles.
Begin to bend your knees, lowering your torso into a squat. Squeeze your glutes as you stand up to stand on an exhale.
Fancy an extra challenge? Try to climb onto the sole of one foot while the other is firmly planted on the ground!
Abductor – Outer thigh
If you’re serious about toning your thigh muscles, you’ll need to focus on your hip abductors as well. Your captors are made up of four muscles.
Three of them are located in your buttocks. These are your gluteus maximus, gluteus medius, and gluteus minimus. The fourth, your tensor fascia lata (commonly referred to as your TFL) is located on your outer hip.
The function of these muscles is to open your legs to the side. This is called a kidnapping. They also stabilize your pelvis with basic movements.
Here are 3 outer thigh exercises for a well-balanced workout.
10. Clamshell – Mini-band
Wrap a mini resistance band around the outside of both quads just above the knees. Lie on your side, extending your lower arm, using your forearm as a pillow for your head.
Your upper arm can rest on the floor in front of your chest or on your waist. Your upper body remains still throughout the range of motion.
Stack and bend both knees at 90 degree angles. Without moving your pelvis, begin to rotate the upper leg to open it. Your feet stay in contact and your lower leg stays firmly on the ground.
Pause at the top of the motion. Release to return to the starting position.
11. Lateral resistance band walk
Wrap a resistance band just above your ankles, under your calves. Maintain tension in the bracelet by standing with your feet wider than your shoulders.
Take a big step to the right with your right foot, lowering yourself into a quarter squat. Keep the tension in the band and your right heel planted as you take a big step with your left foot back approximately shoulder width apart.
Then take a big step to the left. Continue back and forth for the desired number of repetitions.
To get the most out of this exercise, it is imperative to maintain tension in the resistance band throughout the movement.
12. Fire hydrant drill
Start in a tabletop position with your wrists directly under your shoulders and your knees under your hips. Engage your abs.
When exhaling, lift your right leg out to the side, maintaining the 90 degree angle. Return to the starting position.
Repeat with the left leg.
20-minute workout on the inside and outside of the thighs
As mentioned, here is a 20 minute thigh and leg workout! The best part is that you can absolutely replace any of these exercises with the best exercises described above.
Sideways inner thigh elevation
Resistance band Side walk
Clamshell – Mini-band
If you are a beginner, complete as many as you can without losing good posture. If your fitness level is more advanced, use higher weights or resistance bands.
Mix and match these 12 thigh exercises for strong, toned legs.
These leg exercises focus on the inner and outer thigh muscles as well as the gluteal muscles, especially your gluteus medius.
Strengthening this area of the body is a great way to prevent injury and stabilize the core muscles and pelvis.
Now that you know the right moves, start your inner thigh workout today!