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Inner Thigh Exercises

Use Pilates Exercises and Equipment to Tone the Inner Thigh

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Updated August 20, 2008

Balanced muscle use between the inner and outer leg is critical for good alignment and efficient movement. Unfortunately, most of us work the outer leg more than the inner. Here are some Pilates exercises and techniques that you can use to enhance the muscle tone (and appearance) of the inner thigh.

Do keep in mind that we are talking about full-body exercise, not isolating the thigh. Tummies are in, shoulders are down, the spine is long, no slumping, and the Pilates principles still apply.

Please review the detailed exercise instructions where the links are offered.

Midline Work Engages the Inner Thighs

pilates picture
Amanda Edwards / Getty Images

As important as what you do is how you do it. In Pilates, there is rarely a time when your inner thighs are not engaged, because you should be working your legs in a balanced way -- inner/outer. So in every exercise that calls for legs together, keep those inner thighs pulled toward the midline. This is an important part of Pilates exercise technique and it will serve you well as an inner thigh toner. Even if the legs are not together, don't let your inner thigh just hang out. Send energy through the legs evenly.

Below are exercises and techniques you can use to tone your inner thighs, but ultimately it's going to be your intent to keep the inner thighs engaged throughout your workout that will pay off the most.

One Leg Circle

Pilates with Exercise Band
by Peter Kramer, courtesy of Kolesar Studios

One leg circle is very much an abdominal challenge but there is a lot of opportunity to engage the inner thigh as well.

One leg circle can be done alone or with an exercise band.

Lie on your back with your arms along side.

Extend the left leg toward the ceiling.
It is OK to have the leg slightly bent. For more stability, the right leg can be bent with the foot on the floor, knee to ceiling.

Inhale: Arc the left leg outward

Exhale: Circle the leg down and around until it crossed the midline of the body and then returns to center.

Repeat 3 times one direction, 3 times the other direction, then change legs.

Please see the detailed instructions for one leg circle

Please see the detailed instructions for one leg circle with exercise band

Inner Thigh Lift

pilates exercise
by Peter Kramer, courtesy of Kolesar Studios
Lie on your right side with your body in one long line.

Move your legs a few inches forward.

Bend the left leg so that your foot rests in front of your right thigh.

Thread your left hand through your legs and grasp your left ankle.

Inhale: Extend the lower leg so long and lift it a few inches off the floor.

Exhale: Slowly return the leg to the floor.

Repeat 5 - 8 sets on each side

Please see the detailed instructions for inner thigh lift

Side Kick Up/Down

pilates inner thigh
by Peter Kramer, courtesy of Kolesar Studios
Lie on your side with your body in a straight line.

Move your legs a few inches in front of your hips.

Turn your top leg out slightly, rotating at the hip.

Inhale: Kick your leg up without losing the alignment of the hips.

Exhale: Slowly lower the leg with control. Focus on keeping the inner thigh engaged.

Repeat 5 - 8 sets on each side

Please see the detailed instructions for side kick up/down.

Exercise Balls and Magic Circles Tone Inner Thighs

Fitness Circle
STOTT PILATES photography © Merrithew Corporation

You can increase the inner thigh challenge of many exercises by squeezing an exercise ball or magic circle at the shin or thigh. Below are examples of one exercise with the ball and one with the magic circle. Examples of other mat exercises you can apply this idea to are the hundred and double leg stretch.

Learn About Exercise Balls
Learn About Magic Circles

Seated Legs with Magic Circle

Pilates Magic Circle
Courtesy of Peak Pilates

Sit up tall at the edge of a firm surface

Place the magic circle between your thighs

Inhale: Squeeze the circle for 3 counts

Exhale: Slowly release the circle for 3 counts

Repeat 6 - 8 times

Please see the detailed instructions for seated legs with magic circle

Roll Over with Exercise Ball

Pilates Exercise Ball
STOTT PILATES photography © Merrithew Corporation

Lie on your back with your exercise ball between your shins and extend your legs up toward the ceiling.

Inhale.

Exhale: Squeeze the ball and lower the legs slightly.

Inhale: Lift the legs up to vertical.

Exhale: Using your abdominals, draw your legs over your body until they are parallel to your chest.
Continue the exhale as you roll onto the broad part of your shoulders.

Inhale: Flex your feet, sending energy out through your heels.

Exhale: Lower your legs toward your chest as you slowly place each vertebrae down on the mat, one at a time, until your legs are at 90 degrees.

Inhale: Lower your legs to begin again.

Repeat 4 - 6 times

Please see the detailed instructions for roll over with exercise ball

Related Video
Tone Thighs and Hips With a Resistance Band

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