Squats are one of the most effective lower-body exercises you can do to strengthen your inner thighs. Here’s why:
One major reason is that squats are a compound exercise, which means they not only target your hips and glutes but also work on all the parts of your thighs, including the inner thighs. When it comes to strengthening the inner thighs, people tend not to pay much attention, but it’s important to work on them for several reasons.
Know your inner thigh muscles
The inner thigh muscles, called adductors, are basically stabilising muscles that help in the alignment of your thighs and hips, keeping them in line with the rest of the body. Adductors consist of five major muscles, including pectineus, adductor magnus, adductor brevis, gracilis and adductor longus, which, when strengthened, can help reduce the risk of knee injuries and also improve your overall posture.
When you think about exercises that target your lower body, squats probably top the list, but which variations of squats target the inner thighs best? Here are the five best types of squats that work on your inner thighs:
1) Sumo squats
Sumo squats are one of the best exercises to strengthen your inner thigh muscles. That's because this exercise requires a wide stance that works best on the adductor muscles.
- Stand straight with your feet wide apart than your shoulders'.
- Keep your toes outwards at around a 45-degree angle.
- Hold both your hands at your chest level.
- Slowly lower your body into a squat position while keeping your abs tight and back straight.
- Lower your body till your thighs get parallel to the floor.
- Hold the position for a few seconds.
- Place your weight on your heels, and slowly return to the initial position to perform the next rep.
2) Barbell squats
Barbell squats are an advanced version of squats that require a great level of strength from your glutes.
- Stand straight with your feet at a hip-width or shoulder-width distance.
- Place a barbell above your shoulders, particularly on your trapezius muscles.
- Bend your knees, and slowly lower your body into a squat position; stop when your knees get at a 90-degree angle.
- Make sure you contract your abs and legs while balancing your body with a strong and stable torso.
- Stand back up, and again take the starting position without locking your knees.
Always remember that adding weight to your shoulders also puts a load on your spine, so be careful when doing it. Initially, start with a light or medium weight that you can easily handle.
3) Plie squat pulse
In this variation, you need to pulse on your toes to engage your calves and inner thighs.
- Stand straight with your feet wide apart and your toes pointing out to both the sides.
- Lower your body into a deep squat position while keeping your chest up and heels raised off the floor.
- Contract your inner thighs, and pulse up and down in a slow and controlled manner.
- Complete the desired number of reps, and bring your heels back to the floor.
4) Bulgarian split squat
Bulgarian split squats work on both your legs. This exercise works on your inner thighs, hamstrings, glutes and quads, all at once.
- Stand straight about two feet away from a step.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand.
- Extend your right leg back, and place your right foot on the step.
- Slowly bend your knee,s and lower your body; get as low as you can to take a squat position. Make sure your shoulders are back, and your chest is up while squatting down.
- Hold the position for a few seconds; press through your left heel to return to the initial position.
- Complete the desired number of reps on each side.
5) One-legged squats
The one-legged squat is an advanced squat version that requires great stability and balance. You should take proper care when performing this exercise for the first time. You may use an exercise ball for support if you are just starting with the exercise.
- Stand straight in front of a wall, and place an exercise ball on your back.
- Slightly lift your right foot off the floor, and move your left foot close to your body for balance.
- Slightly contract your left leg, and keep the right leg lifted as you lower your body into a squat position.
- If you need extra balance, you may rest both your hands on the wall.
- Push yourself back to the initial position, and complete the desired reps by switching sides.
Once you are confident performing the move with support, step away from the wall, and perform the exercise without the ball.
If you are a beginner, make sure to start the squats with your body weight, and then slowly work your way up to perform weighted squats. Once you become better, start with the more advanced variations of squats, and do them correctly.