The goal of training your inner thighs should be more than improving the way your legs look. The muscles on the inside of your legs are critical for athletic performance, stabilizing the hips and producing power when you move from side to side.
The adductor machine and the infamous Thighmaster are mainstream products marketed to help people get their legs in shape. Proceed with caution before using these devices. In what sport do you ever squeeze your knees together when seated or lying down? That's our point exactly.
Failing to properly develop your inner thigh muscles in a way that translates to sports may impair multidirectional speed and increase your chance of sustaining a groin injury (we're thinking of you, hockey players).
To hit each muscle of your inner thigh, we recommend performing the Ninja Squat. The movement is similar to a Lateral Lunge, but it's loaded with a bar on your back so that you work your inner thigh muscles similar to how you train your quads, glutes and other major muscle groups.
The Ninja Squat engages the large muscles of the lower body, but it's specifically designed to hit the smaller muscles of the inner thigh, which are responsible for adducting the leg (i.e., bringing it toward the midline of the body): the adductor longus, pectineus, gracilis, sartorius, vastus medialis and iliopsoas.
How to Perform Ninja Squats
Starting Position: Start in a stable stance with your feet as far apart as possible. Stand straight up, tighten your core and shift your weight onto your heels. Hold a PVC pipe across your upper back.
Movement: Shift your weight onto your right leg. Bend your right knee and hip, lowering until your right thigh is parallel to the ground or your right heel rises off the ground. Keep your left leg straight and left heel on the ground. Your torso may tilt forward slightly, but attempt to keep it as upright as possible.
Finish: Extend your right hip and knee to drive up to the standing position. Immediately repeat to the opposite side and continue in an alternating fashion for the specified number of reps.
Sets/Reps: 2-3x8-10 each side. Add weight and adjust the number of sets and reps as your strength improves.
co-authored by Keith Scruggs
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock