Workout Your Thighs: Best Inner and Outer Thigh Exercises

by Evelyn Valdez

When you think of your lower body, you might think of the front and back sides of your legs where your bigger muscles are located, such as your quads, glutes, and hamstrings. But these muscles also span the sides of your legs! More specifically your inner and outer thigh areas, which are made up of a variety of different muscles that are equally as important.

These areas are often forgotten, but they’re completely necessary if you want to build bigger and stronger legs. To build a better well-rounded lower body routine, add some inner and outer thigh exercises on your leg day! However, before we dive into our favorite exercises, it’s important to know that you can’t spot reduce fat. These exercises will only help to target those areas effectively. So, pair these exercises with a well-rounded workout routine and nutritious diet and you’ll be on the right track to your fat loss goals!

Best exercises for your inner thighs

Goblet squat

You probably know that squats are killer compound movements that help you get those dreamy legs that you want, and goblet squats in particular are great at this! This is one of the best inner thigh exercises because it targets your quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings, plus your core for stability.

How to do it:

  1. Grab a kettlebell with both hands and stand straight with your feet slightly wider than shoulder-width apart for stability. Your elbows should be close to your body while holding the kettlebell in front of you.
  2. With your back straight, begin the movement by going down into a squat position. Keep your torso upright and the kettlebell balanced in front of you as you lower yourself until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. Squeeze your leg muscles in this bottom position while you keep your core engaged, then slowly go back to the starting position and repeat.

Barbell back squat

You can take your weighted squats to the next level by adding a barbell to them! The barbell back squat in particular is a great thigh workout because it increases the tension on your leg muscles thanks to the heavy weight, allowing you to feel that burn as you go down and back up again.

How to do it:

  1. Set a loaded barbell at chest height on a squat rack and step under it so that the bar rests behind your neck, just over your traps.
  2. Place your hands on the bar at a comfortable distance and unrack the bar, taking a step away from the rack and placing your feet shoulder-width apart on the floor.
  3. Keeping a straight back, begin the movement by lowering yourself into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Don’t let the bar tip to the sides and keep your shoulders down and back.
  4. Squeeze your leg muscles in this position, then slowly go back up to the starting position and repeat.

Lateral lunges

Lateral exercises are great when it comes to functional strength and mobility, and lunges are one of the best lower body exercises that you can do, making lateral lunges a killer exercise for your inner thighs! It primarily targets your glutes as well as your core for stability.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight with your feet hip-width apart, keeping your chin up and your shoulders down and back. You can place your hands on your hips or in the air in front of you for stability.
  2. Begin the movement by taking a step to the side with your right leg, lowering your body while you step out. At the bottom of the movement, your right thigh should be near parallel to the floor with your knee pointing forward, and your left leg extended on your left side.
  3. Squeeze your muscles in this position, making sure you keep your stability, then go back to the starting position and repeat on the other side.

Scissor legs plank

If you’re familiar with planks, you already know that they’re known for being a killer core exercise. But by adding a sliding element you can also make your legs work extra hard while also building your overall balance and coordination! 

How to do it:

  1. Get down on the floor and into a high plank position, with your hands and toes pointed on the floor while you hold yourself up with your arms extended. Your hands should be placed directly below your shoulders.
  2. Place each of your feet on a sliding surface, such as a gliding disc, and place your feet close together while you keep your core engaged.
  3. Without letting your torso drop to the floor, begin the movement by sliding your feet away from each other in a scissor motion until your legs are wide open.
  4. Squeeze your muscles in this position, making sure you’re keeping your stability, then go back to the starting position by sliding your feet back together and repeat.

Best exercises for your outer thighs

Squat side kick

Yet another squat variation, but this time targeting your outer thighs! More specifically, this movement works your glutes as well as your hip muscles by explosively kicking to your side every time you stand back up during a regular bodyweight squat.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and place your hands on your hips or clammed in front of you for stability.
  2. Engaging your core, begin the movement by lowering yourself into a squat position until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
  3. When you’re coming back up, switch your bodyweight to your left and lift your right leg out explosively as if you were kicking the air.
  4. Place your right foot back in the starting position as you lower yourself again, this time repeating the movement on the opposite side.

Curtsy lunge

This exercise is a variation of the reverse lunge in which you step back with your foot instead of forward, with the difference that now you’ll be crossing your legs while you go down. This is a great movement to target your outer thighs as well as build your balance and coordination.

How to do it:

  1. Stand straight with your feet shoulder-width apart and your hands on your hips for stability.
  2. Begin the movement by driving your left foot back and to the right side until it’s past your right leg while you lower yourself. Your legs should be crossed and both your knees bent at a 90-degree angle, with your right thigh parallel to the floor and your left knee almost touching the floor.
  3. Squeeze your muscles in this position, making sure you’re keeping your stability, then stand back up and repeat on the opposite side.

Side skaters

This is an exercise that you could add to your cardio or HIIT routine because of how fast-paced it is, or you could choose to slow it down a little bit to focus more on hitting certain muscles. It primarily targets your glutes, hamstrings, and quads.

How to do it:

  1. Get into a curtsy lunge position by driving your left foot back and to the right, so that it goes past your right foot while you lower yourself.
  2. With both knees bent at a 90-degree angle, begin the movement by pushing through your right heel and impulsing your body to the left as you bring your left foot to the side.
  3. Land on your left foot while you drive your right foot back and to the left, just past your left foot, and bend your knees to get into a curtsy lunge again but on the opposite side.
  4. Squeeze your muscles every time your land and keep alternating sides while you switch legs until you’re done with your reps.

Side plank with leg lift

Similar to the scissor legs plank, this plank variation adds a leg movement to make it more challenging for your lower body, this time targeting your outer thighs in addition to your core. And you can make this even more challenging by adding a resistance band around your thigh muscles!

How to do it:

  1. Get into a side plank position by placing your right elbow on the floor, holding yourself up with it while you extend your whole body. Your feet and legs should be stacked, with the right one on the floor supporting the left one on top.
  2. With your whole body in line and your right elbow directly below your shoulder, begin the movement by lifting your left leg up in the air until it’s past hip height while you keep your bottom leg on the floor. You can place your left hand on your hips for stability.
  3. Squeeze your muscles in this top position, then slowly lower your leg back to the starting position and repeat.
  4. Finish your reps and switch to the opposite side.

Keep a well-rounded workout routine for better results

Growing stronger legs will not happen overnight, but if you keep a good rotation of both compound and isolation movements in your lower-body workout routine you’ll start seeing results in no time. And the same goes for your upper body!

And if you need high-quality fitness gear such as a Barbell Pad for your barbell back squats or a Resistance Band to make your side planks with leg lift more challenging, check out UPPPER Fitness Gear! Our products are safe, comfortable, durable, and stylish so you can get closer to your goals with the support that you need.

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