Balance is important in any workout routine, and it’s especially vital in lower-body programming. For instance, fitting in an inner thigh workout is key because it helps create balanced strength between your inner thigh muscles (your hip adductors) and your outer hip muscles (your hip abductors).
“You need to have a balance between the inner thigh muscles and the outer thigh muscles to help stabilize your pelvis,” ACE-certified personal trainer Sivan Fagan, owner of Strong with Sivan in Baltimore, tells SELF. “Your hip adductors, along with some other muscles, stabilize the hip, but if you don't have sufficient strength in each muscle or proper firing in the muscle, then you can develop issues.” And that instability, she says, can have a domino effect throughout your body, possibly leading to issues like lower back pain.
Ideally, you’d be including workouts in your routine that challenge your outer thighs (like this hip abductor workout) and your inner thighs, like the inner thigh workout Fagan created below. As a refresher, you primarily work your outer thighs when you bring your legs away from your body (by abducting your hips), and you challenge your inner thighs when you bring your legs in to the midline of your body (by adducting your hips).
In the inner thigh workout below, you’ll work your hip adductors with two supersets, both of which begin with a compound move—an exercise that works large muscle groups—and end with an isolation move. Compound moves are important because they give you the biggest bang for your buck, challenging a whole host of muscles including your glutes, quads, and hamstrings, as well as your inner thigh muscles, Fagan says.
With these compound moves—the sumo squat and the lateral lunge—you’ll be working your hip adductors with an eccentric contraction, or the portion of a move when your muscle is lengthening, says Fagan. With the isolation moves, you’ll be working your inner thigh muscles with a concentric contraction, or when your muscle is shortening.
Ready to build some balanced lower-leg strength? Get ready to give this inner thigh workout a try.
What you’ll need: A moderate-to-heavy dumbbell and an exercise mat for comfort.
Demoing the moves below are Cookie Janee, a background investigator and security forces specialist in the Air Force Reserve (GIF 1); Helen Pries (GIFs 2 and 4), a fitness model, and Angie Coleman (GIF 3), a holistic wellness coach in Oakland.