Scissor Legs Plank
In addition to targeting the inner thighs, supporting the scissor movement in this exercise forces your arms, chest, core, and glutes to engage, says Kim Truman, athletic trainer and owner of Kim Truman Fitness.
To do it: Begin in a full plank position with each foot on a folded towel, paper plate, or gliding disc. Keeping upper body stable, slide feet apart, opening legs as wide as possible, and then slowly squeeze inner thighs to slide feet back together. Do 2 sets of 15 reps, resting in between sets as needed.
The frog bend is an ideal exercise for when you’re short on time or traveling because you only use gravity for resistance—no equipment necessary, says Vera Musgrove.
To do it: Lie faceup with legs extended straight over hips, feet flexed, heels together, and toes turned out.
Slowly bend knees out to the sides, and then straighten, using your inner-thigh muscles to control the movement. Do 3 sets of 12 reps, resting in between each set as needed.
Squeeze and Lift
The small range of motion in this isolated movement makes it a great option for people with very weak inner-thigh muscles or those dealing with a groin injury, says Michele Olson, Ph.D., professor of exercise physiology at Auburn University. Plus, it’s easy to learn and you can do it just about anywhere.
To do it: Place a small ball between ankles (can be a soft weighted ball, air-filled ball, or medicine ball, but softer balls are more comfortable), and lie on right side, supporting head with bent right arm.
Bend top arm and press hand on the floor in front of chest to help stabilize body. Squeeze inner thighs to secure ball. Lengthen legs and then press bottom leg up toward top to lift both legs about 6 inches off the ground. Hold for 5 counts. Do 10 reps; repeat on opposite side.
If you want to reduce the size of your thighs and look more toned, then your goal is really fat loss since you can’t spot reduce, says Nick Tumminello, certified strength coach and owner of Performance University.
To maximize fat loss and sculpt sexy legs (i.e. tighten your inner thighs), your best bet is to use exercises that recruit multiple muscles like barbell squats (demonstrated here by IFBB Figure Pro Maggy Cambronero), Tumminello says. “The more muscles you work, the more calories you burn.”
To do it: Place a barbell across shoulders (not on top of your neck) and stand with feet just wider than shoulder width, toes turned out 10 to 15 degrees. Bend at knees and hips, lowering body as close to the floor as possible (heels should not lift off the ground and lower back should not lose its arch). Keep knees wide and tracking in the same direction as toes to avoid letting knees drop in toward the midline of body. Reverse the motion and stand up. Do 3 to 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.