Targeted resistance exercises can help you achieve a tighter, more defined physique. If it's your inner thighs and butt that you're most concerned with, you need the right exercises for the major muscle groups in these areas. The inner thighs or adductor muscles include the adductor brevis, adductor longus, and adductor magnus muscles, (see Reference 1) while three of four gluteal muscles -- gluteus maximus, gluteus medius and gluteus minimus -- make up the buttocks.
Squats are Superb
Squats are an essential compound exercise to include, working nearly all of the muscles in your lower body. Proper foot positioning is essential to hit the right areas; to target the glutes and adductor muscles, stand with a wide stance, toes pointed out on a wide angle. (see Reference 2) Squat down, putting most of your body weight on your heels, lowering yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor. You should feel a light tension in your legs and butt. Push yourself back up off your heels to a standing position, then repeat. Hold dumbbells at your sides or position a barbell resting at the back of your shoulders to increase the resistance.
Lunge Your Way to Tightness
Lunges help strengthen the glutes and adductor muscles, and the side lunge variation is particularly effective at targeting the adductors. For the forward lunge, stand straight up with a narrow stance, dumbbells grasped at your sides. Lunge to straight ahead with your left leg, landing your left foot a couple of feet away from the other, left knee aligned with your left foot and not beyond your toes. Lower the knee of the right leg almost to the floor or ground. Push off the heel of your lead leg to return to your starting position. Repeat with your other leg for one rep. For side lunges, initiate the exercise by stepping to the side with your lead leg, knees not forward of your toes, and do not bend the trailing leg.
Step-Ups Do It All
Step-ups are an essential exercise to include in your routine, because they target nearly all of the muscles in your lower body, including the adductor magnus muscles and the gluteus maximus muscles. Stand in front of a step or platform, feet about shoulder-width apart, back straight and shoulders back. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, arms straight down at your sides. Step up with your right foot first, then your left, then step back down. Start with your trailing foot to return to your starting position. Repeat, then do with your opposite foot as the lead foot.
Lie to Tone the Adductors
An isolated exercise, the weighted lying hip adduction exercise directly targets the adductor muscles along your inner thighs. Lie on your side, resting on your lower forearm, your legs extended straight down with your knees bent slightly. Move your top foot behind your bottom foot, a barbell with weights loaded on one side positioned on your bottom foot so your foot rests on the top of the plates, holding onto the top end of the barbell with your hand. Raise your bottom leg off the floor slowly, as high as possible. Lower your leg back down and repeat, then switch sides.
Cardio for Fat Loss
It's important to include an adequate amount of cardio activity in your weekly workout plan. You can't spot reduce, but cardio exercise such as rowing, cycling, running, jumping rope, and swimming will burn fat from all over your body, revealing the muscle you worked so hard for underneath.Try to include at least three to four 30-minute sessions of moderate to intense cardio a week to keep your body fat percentage low, so your butt and thighs stay tight.