10 Best Inner Thigh Exercises for Stronger & Leaner Legs

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Published by Christiana Mikesch, CPT | Senior Coach
Last updated: January 14, 2024
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

The inner thigh is a complex of multiple muscles, but the most important are the adductor longus, brevis, and magnus.

Implementing appropriate exercise can significantly change the look of your inner thighs, making your lower body more attractive.

Drawing on my experience as a fitness trainer, I have compiled a list of the best inner thigh exercises to help you develop strong and aesthetic inner thigh muscles.

Let's dive right in.

Quick Summary

  • The best inner-thigh exercises include lateral lunge, stability ball hamstring squeeze, supported single-leg deadlift, reverse lunge, sumo squat, and more.
  • Exercises like Bulgarian squats and single-leg deadlifts should be done by intermediate and advanced lifters.
  • According to a study in PubMed, building inner thigh strength can improve balance and dynamic stability during complex and unilateral movements, making it a boon for athletes.
  • You can enhance your inner thigh workout by doing mobility work before exercising, stabilizing your core, wearing proper footwear, and incorporating mind-muscle connection when lifting.

10 Best Inner Thigh Exercises

A person exercising her inner thigh

My fitness team and I tested all the inner thigh exercises on the list to ensure you complete every workout injury-free.

Most of the exercises are beginner-friendly and can be performed by people of both sexes and different age groups.

In the next section, we’ve provided clear and easy-to-follow instructions for every exercise to ensure proper technique, which always leads to better results and less chance of injury.

1. Lateral Lunge

A person doing lateral lunges - one of the best inner thigh exercise

From my own training journey, I've found the lateral lunge to be a highly effective compound exercise that follows a unique lunge movement pattern, primarily operating in the frontal plane.

Not only does it target the inner thigh muscles, but it also engages and develops key lower body muscles like the glutes, hamstrings, and quadriceps.

Here's how you perform this exercise with good form:

  1. Pick an appropriately sized kettlebell and assume a standing position, feet hip-width.
  2. Your back should be flat, your chest lifted, and the kettlebell should be in the goblet position.
  3. Start the exercise by lunging laterally with your left leg until you reach a half-squat position.
  4. You should stop lowering your body when your left thigh reaches parallel to the ground.
  5. After your thigh reaches parallel to the ground, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Also Read: Lunge Alternatives for Bad Knees

2. Stability Ball Hamstring Squeeze

I’ve found this exercise particularly effective for engaging not just the inner thighs but also for enhancing overall lower body coordination and strength, all while maintaining a focus on safety and control.

It's a fantastic exercise for beginners, as it's performed on the ground, which reduces the need for extensive stabilization compared to standing exercises.

Here's how you do it with good form:

  1. Assume a lying position on your stomach with your knees and hips fully extended.
  2. Place the ball between your right and left feet. You may place the ball between the right and left knees or between the ankles.
  3. Put your hands under your head with elbows bent over 90 degrees and shoulders abducted for 90 degrees.
  4. Start the exercise by extending your lower body from the ground toward the ceiling and squeezing the ball at the end of the range of motion.
  5. Slowly lower the ball back to the floor and repeat the whole process.
  6. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

3. Supported Single-leg Deadlift

A person in the gym doing a supported single leg deadlift

The supported single-leg deadlift has been a valuable step in progressively enhancing balance and strength in my clients, preparing them for more advanced movements.

Here's how you perform it:

  1. Pick one appropriately sized dumbbell or kettlebell.
  2. Assume a standing position with your leg slightly backward behind your body to create a semi-split stance.
  3. Keep your back flat and your knees slightly bent throughout the whole exercise.
  4. Start the exercise by bending your torso forward without lifting the left leg from the floor.
  5. When the kettlebell reaches just below the level of your knees, reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  6. Repeat for reps.

Also Read: Conventional vs Sumo Deadlift

4. Reverse Lunge

This compound exercise, which primarily operates in the sagittal plane, has been instrumental in strengthening my glutes, hamstrings, quadriceps, and adductors.

Here's how you perform it with good form:

  1. Assume a standing position, feet hip-width apart, holding two dumbbells.
  2. Start the exercise by lunging backward with your right leg and keeping your back flat.
  3. When your right knee comes close to the floor, reverse the motion and return to the standing position.
  4. Repeat for reps.

Also Read: How to Do Lateral Lunges like a Pro

5. Sumo Squat

A person doing a sumo squat

The unique positioning in sumo squats has not only helped me target my inner thigh muscles more effectively but also improved my hip flexibility and overall lower body strength.

It's a powerful variation that has added both challenge and diversity to my lower-body workouts.

Here's how to do them step by step:

  1. Assume a standing position is wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Start the exercise by lowering your body towards the ground until your thighs parallel the ground.
  3. Hold the bottom position for one second and reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  4. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

6. Resistance Band Lateral Step-Out Squat

By incorporating a resistance band, this exercise not only targets the glutes, thighs, and hips but also adds extra resistance, especially at the end range of motion.

This additional challenge from the band's pull has significantly enhanced my muscle engagement and strength, particularly in those harder-to-reach areas.

Here's how you perform this exercise:

  1. Assume a standing position slightly wider than shoulder-width apart and place the resistance band above your knees.
  2. Start the exercise by stepping out to your right and performing a deep squat.
  3. Stand up and return to the starting position when your thighs parallel the ground.
  4. Repeat for repetitions.

7. Jumping Jacks

A person doing jumping jacks

Jumping jacks are a basic bodyweight exercise that will target most of your adductor muscles and can also serve as a fat-burning cardio exercise.

I use these as a warm-up before getting into heavier inner thigh lifts.

Here's how to do jumping jacks:

  1. Assume a standing position, shoulder-width apart, and keep your hands fully extended near your body.
  2. Start the exercise by simultaneously jumping and spreading your legs in the frontal plane.
  3. While in the air, abduct your hands towards the overhead position.
  4. Reverse the motion by jumping, pulling your legs towards the starting stance, and adducting your hands to the anatomical position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

8. Bulgarian Split Squat

The Bulgarian split squats are among the most advanced unilateral exercises, which is why I recommend them to intermediate and advanced lifters only.

According to a study from PLOS One, they're excellent for developing dynamic stability and muscles such as the glutes, hams, quads, and thighs [1].

Here's how you perform a Bulgarian split squat:

  1. Assume a standing position and pick two appropriately sized dumbbells.
  2. Place your left foot back on the box so your right foot remains in contact with the ground.
  3. Start the exercise by lowering to the split squat position, where your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. Hold that position for one second and return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for a number of reps before switching legs.

9. Isometric Squat

A person doing an isometric squat

The isometric squat is a variation of the regular bodyweight squat.

I do these on active rest days to promote blood flow to my leg muscles for faster recovery.

Here's how you perform an isometric squat:

  1. Assume a standing position a little wider than hip-width apart.
  2. Start the exercise by lowering yourself to the squat position until your thighs parallel the ground.
  3. Hold that position for as long as desired.

10. Single-leg Deadlift

Single-leg deadlifts follow the hinge movement pattern and are one of the hardest inner thigh exercises.

Here's how to perform a single-leg deadlift:

  1. Assume standing on your right leg while keeping your left leg on the ground.
  2. Keep your back flat and slightly bend your right knee.
  3. Bend your torso forward until your hands reach below your knees.
  4. Reverse the motion to return to the starting position.
  5. Repeat for the desired number of reps.

Benefits of These Exercises

A man with buff inner thighs

The most notable benefit of inner-thigh exercises is dynamic stabilization.

According to a study in PubMed, this is important for athletes with great running and jumping skills in their sports who want to minimize adductor muscle strains [2].

However, some studies suggest inner thigh development is associated with improved functional tasks [3].

This is especially important for older adults and people with movement difficulties.

"Adductor muscles help with explosive hip movements, and most importantly, can assist with injury prevention when performing athletic-type movements."
- Tyler DiGiovanni, Certified Personal Trainer

Ways To Enahnce Your Routine

Based on my many years of personally training inner thighs and helping many athletes, here are four ways to enhance your inner thigh workout.

Man doing supine glute stretch indoor

1. Integration of Flexibility and Mobility Work

Flexibility and mobility exercises improve the range of motion and reduce the risk of strains.

For instance, dynamic stretches like leg swings and static stretches such as the butterfly stretch can be highly effective before your inner thigh workout.

Incorporating yoga poses like the Garland Pose (Malasana) can also significantly improve inner thigh flexibility.

2. Role of Core Stability in Inner Thigh Exercises

Core stability plays a vital role in executing inner thigh exercises effectively. A strong core helps maintain proper posture and balance, which is essential for exercises like squats and lunges that target the inner thighs.

Planks, dead bugs, and Russian twists are excellent exercises to strengthen the core, providing better stability and support for inner thigh workouts.

3. Impact of Footwear and Surface on Inner Thigh Workouts

The type of footwear and surface used during workouts can significantly affect the performance and safety of inner-thigh exercises.

Supportive footwear provides the necessary grip and support, especially for dynamic movements.

Similarly, training on a non-slip, even surface ensures stability and helps maintain proper form, reducing the risk of injuries.

4. Incorporating Mind-Muscle Connection Techniques

Enhancing inner thigh workouts with mind-muscle connection techniques can lead to more effective muscle engagement.

This involves focusing your attention on the muscle being worked, like visualizing the inner thighs contracting during a squat.

This technique not only increases muscle activation but also improves the overall quality of the workout [4].


How Can I Tone My Inner Thighs Fast?

You can tone your inner thighs fast by doing sumo squats. Sumo squats enable you to use heavy resistance while also ensuring to target your adductor muscles.

Can Flabby Inner Thighs Be Toned?

Yes, flabby inner thighs can be toned. You can tone your flabby inner thighs by implementing thigh exercises into your workout and following an appropriate diet plan.

Does Walking Tone Your Inner Thighs?

Yes, walking tones your inner thighs. However, running is much more effective at toning your inner thighs because the one-legged nature of running forces adductor muscles to work as dynamic stabilizers.


  1. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0221710
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34631242/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8551702/
  4. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0028393203003257
Was this article helpful?

About The Author

Christiana Mikesch, CPT
Senior Coach
Christiana Mikesch, CPT is a personal trainer and author with contributions to publications like the Chicago Tribune and Yahoo. She emphasizes a holistic approach to weight loss, combining an energy-fueling diet, goal-oriented workouts, and daily habits. Her approach avoids short-term goals and fosters a lifelong commitment to health and well-being.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer
Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Holistic Nutrition from Clayton College of Natural Health and is the owner of Taylor Made Fitness. Her philosophy centers on cutting through the hype and misinformation surrounding dietary supplements, focusing instead on practical, science-backed strategies for health and weight loss.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
Learn more about our editorial policy

You May Also Like

A person doing gluteus minimus workouts at the gym
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 2 months ago
10 Best Gluteus Minimus Exercises for Stronger Hips
A person doing squats at home
By Lisa Lorraine Taylor, BSc, CPT 4 months ago
6 Exercises For Fat Knees to Tone Your Legs
A woman working out her thigh muscles
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 4 months ago
Best Vastus Lateralis Exercises (Ultimate Thigh Moves)
A woman stretching her thigh muscles outside
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 15 days ago
How to Stretch Thigh Muscles (4 Easy Exercises)

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our scoring system is the result of objective testing data and subjective expert analysis by a team of fitness coaches and medical experts. Our scoring factors are weighted based on importance. For more information, see our product review guidelines.