Inner-Thigh Building Exercises

Fitness woman doing leg lunge exercise
Woman doing lunges on stairs (Image: Dirima/iStock/Getty Images)

The inside of the upper leg or groin area has five muscles called adductors, according to the Sports Injury Clinic. The main function of these adductor muscles is to pull the legs back and help maintain balance. The adductors are small, and sometimes large compound movements miss them. But certain exercises can help build muscle in your inner legs.

Ball Squeezes

Squeezing or contracting a ball between your legs helps both the short and long adductor muscles, according to the Sports Injury Clinic. To focus on the long adductors, place the ball between your ankles and squeeze it with your legs extended out To work the long adductors more, bend your knees while lying on your back and squeeze the ball between you knees. You can tweak the exercise by alternating between holding the squeeze for an extended period and performing a squeeze-release in sequence. In the gym, there is a hip adductor machine in which you are seated with your legs extended in front of you and apart, and you move you legs toward the midline against resistance.

Adduction Swings

You perform adduction swings with resistance bands or ankle weights as light resistance. Stand straight and extend one leg out as far as you can. Then begin the move by bringing the extended leg over as far as you can until you can cross your other leg. Repeat with both legs. The resistance will make work the inside of the thigh as you swing and cross your legs.


Lunges focus on the thighs and glutes, but also work the adductors. In a standard lunge, you step with one foot and lunge with your knee bending until your thigh is parallel to the floor and your back knee barely touches the ground. Side lunges use the same style, except instead of lunging forward, you will lunge side to side. Fit says that side lunges are especially effective at training the adductor muscles. With side lunges, your first step is to the side, your trailing leg remain essentially in place as compared to a forward lunge, and you perform the lunge to the side with your forward leg.

Wide Stance Squats

Performing squats with a wider stance can work the adductor muscles much more than standard squats. The squat movements are the same, but to focus on the adductors, take a wider-than-normal stance. Open your toes some, rather than pointing them straight ahead. The wider stance and opened toes force the adductors to absorb some of the work from the quads.

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