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One of the areas that I get asked about probable the most often here on my website lately is the inner thigh. Everyone seems to be after a killer “thigh gap” before swimsuit season hits us! I’m happy to share what I know! Today is all about 20 of the best exercises you can do at home with zero equipment required that are designed to maximally activate the hip adductors. I even shot a video to make it easier for your! Let’s do it!
Now before we get started – it’s important that I stress when it comes to fitness, weight loss, and body toning – IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO SPOT TREAT! For example – you can’t do a ton of inner thigh or stomach or arm exercises to lose weight in that specific area. Weight loss will occur throughout your whole body. Really there’s no substitute for a regular cardio program combined with strength training and a healthy, well-rounded diet.
However – if you’re looking to STRENGTHEN and TONE these areas, there are some specific exercises you can do that will help maximize muscle activation resulting in more strength and increased muscle tone overall.
So let’s get down to it! Hit play on the video below to see actual demonstration of each exercise; scroll down to see some images and descriptions of each one.
3. Wide-Leg (Sumo) Squats
Place your feet approximately 6 inches wider than your hips on both sides. Drop down into a squat – try to keep your chest up and back straight – and try to keep your knees over your toes (big stretch to the adductor area at the bottom of the squat).
4. Plie Squat
Similar to your wide-leg squat, only now you’re going to externally rotate your hips and point your toes out to the sides… like what I attempt to do in the above video!!
5. Standing Hip Adduction (resistance band)
Stand on your left leg with the resistance band looped around your right foot. Use the muscles on the inside of your right leg to pull your right foot in front of you until it crossed in front of your left foot. Slowly return to the starting postion.
6. Side Lunge
Keep your head high and chest up as you lunge way out to the side as indicated in the video.
7. Bridge with Ball Squeeze
Lay on your back with your knees bent. Squeeze a ball or pillow between your knees. Squeeze your glutes to raise your hips up off the floor (keep the ball/pillow smashed). Hold 3-5 seconds and return to starting position.
10. Scissor Jacks
Great way to get in cardio and some muscle toning! Start with your legs spread apart and your arms straight out to either side. Perform a jumping jack, but cross your arms and legs all the way in front of you. Leap to the starting position.
11. Frog Press Crunch
Lay on your back with your legs out straight. Press the soles of your shoes together and bend your knees up towards your chest. As your knees bend take them out wider than your body, but the soles of your feet should stay together. Slowly return to the starting position.
12. Slide Lunge
Grab a “slider” (paper plates work great on carpet; towels/rags work well on hardwood and tile). Put the slider under your right foot. Go down into a lunge on your left leg while your right foot slides way out to the side. Use your left leg and both inner thighs to pull yourself up to the starting position.
13. Wide-leg Kettle Bell Swing
Place your feet 4-6 inches outside of shoulder/hip width (wider than normal). Drop into a squat (chest up, back straight) holding a kettle bell in both hands. Use your butt, legs, and back to explode upwards and swing the kettle bell over your head. Control the weight back down to the starting position.
14. Curtsy Lunge
Standing on your right leg, drop your left leg back behind you and to the right (outside of your right leg) as indicated in the video above.
15. Side Plank With Leg Lift
Great for toning the inner and outer thighs! Performed as described in video above.
16. Slider Mountain Climbers
Grab your sliders (towels on hardwood/laminate/tile or paper plates on carpet) and put one under each foot. Perform mountain climbers, however your foot never comes up off the floor. Use your muscles to pull the sliders against the friction caused by the floor.
17. Jump Squats
Go down into a bodyweight squat position and explode up into a 6-inch jump. Land softly on the return.
18. Wall Sit with Ball Squeeze
Find a ball/pillow to squeeze between your knees while you’re down in a wall-sit position. Try to hold this position with your thighs parallel to the floor for as long as you can.
20. Chair Hip Adduction
Get in a side plank position on your right side. Put the inside of your left leg up on a chair. Raise your right leg to the bottom of the seat of the chair. Hold 2 seconds and slowly return to the starting position.
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