“No matter what I do, I cant seem to get my inner thighs smaller.”

I had this talk with a new member a few years back.

Let me give you some background.

She was in her early 30’s, 5’6″, weighed 145 and was carrying about 24% bodyfat.

Not bad, right? I would say that’s a decent level of fitness.

Before seeing me, she had already lost about 40lbs on her own, in addition, she was doing strength training 5xweek plus cardio 4xweek.

But…

…she wanted better inner thighs. Smaller, tighter. She felt the rest of her legs were coming along but not her inner thighs; she felt those were lagging even though she was working out legs 2xweek PLUS cardio.

Now, anyone doing legs 2xweek plus cardio isn’t scared of hard work, but not getting the results you want can be VERY, VERY frustrating.

I asked her about her eating and what she was doing for legs, and here was her workout:

Leg Day 1: (higher volume)
Smith machine sumo squat 4 sets of 15
Leg Press 4 sets fo 15
Lateral Lunges 4 sets of 12
Seated Leg Curl 4 sets of 12
Calf work 4 sets of 15

Leg Day 2: (lower volume)
Barbell Reverse lunge 4 sets of 10
Sumo stance leg press 4 sets of 20
Lying Leg Curls 4 sets of 10
Seated adductor machine 4 sets of 15

To me, this isn’t a bad split, but I saw the reason why her inner thighs were not developing at the rate that she wanted.

Yes, her diet needed tweaking, but that’s not what was holding back from getting her inner thighs to develop.

Can you figure it out?

Scroll down below for the answer
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Answer: Not enough single leg work

If you notice in her routine, all her workouts are geared to both legs to move but nothing that involves single leg work.

Single leg work such as reverse lunges, squats, Bulgarian squats will all involve a TON of adductor activation and development.

Without getting too nerdy, one of the significant roles of the adductors (inner thigh muscles) is to help with your hips, in particular extending the hips. An example would be at the top of a squat when you squeeze your glutes you feel your hips and pelvis go slightly forward (extension). You may notice that when you do glute emphasizes work, your inner thighs engage a bit more. In addition, this happens during some hamstring movements as well. Those all involve you extending your hips.

Now, I could go on because I like this stuff, but let’s move one to what you probably want to know. What do you need to do?

The best exercises that involved getting your adductors activated and firing are:

  • All Lunge variations – Front and back and diagonal
  • Bulgarian squats
  • Split Squats
  • Staggard Stance RDLs

Then…

  • Sumo Deadlifts
  • Feet Wide Hip Thrust

When I looked over her plan, I saw a good amount of quad work but not ANY single leg work and not enough hamstring work.

Single leg exercises (not single leg extension) that involve a squat motion will make those adductors VERY chatty because they are having to work SO hard keeping your thigh in place, and they contract extra hard at the with your glutes.

If you ever want an example of this, do a Bulgarian squat then squeeze your glutes at the top of each rep. Do this for about 20 reps, and not only will your glutes be on fire, but you’ll feel your upper inner thighs (adductors) start shaking and burning from working so hard.

 

The workout:

We worked together online for about 8 weeks to dial things in, but in about 4 weeks, there was a noticeable difference in her inner thigh development.

Day 1:
Sumo Deadlift x 15
Bulgarian Squat x 20/leg
DB Leg Curl (tighs together) x 20
Hip Thrust x 15

Day 2
DB Reverse Lunge x 10/leg
Feet Wide Smith Squat x 12
Seated Leg Curls (thighs together) x 20
Pistol Squats x max reps

Each exercise would be anywhere from 3-6 sets, and each workout repeated every 8 days with an emphasis on beating her numbers by either doing more weight, reps, or sets in each workout.

We did this routine for about 8 weeks, but even after 4 weeks, her inner thighs look different (harder, more tone), but her quads and glutes looked even better. This was because the adductors were stabilizing her body better, which allowed her to lift more in her other exercises.

I know this may be a bit too much physiology for some people, but I just wanted to show a reason why instead of you thinking I’m picking exercises out of random.

If you want a change in routine or something to challenge your inner leg development, give this a shot; just make sure to put forth an honest effort and track your numbers.

 

In Health and Awesomeness,
Travis Merritt, BS, CPT, (and other letters behind the name) is the Owner of Rowlett Transformation Center in Rowlett, TX.

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