How To Do Inner Thigh Lifts - Pilates Mat Exercise

Woman stretching in gymnasium. Credit: Dave and Les Jacobs / Getty Images

The inner thigh lift is one of the most targeted inner thigh exercises we have in the Pilates mat work program. If you set up for this exercise properly you will feel it tone the inner thigh and work the abdominals. The top leg can be used for an extra hip stretch.

  • Difficulty: Average
  • Time Required: 5 minutes

What You Need to Perform the Inner Thigh Lift

No equipment is needed for this bodyweight exercise.

You need a Pilates exercise mat. This is a versatile exercise you can perform at home wherever you can lay out your mat. You may also perform it at a Pilates studio or at the gym as part of an exercise session.

How to Perform Inner Thigh Lifts

  1. Set Up
    • Lie on your side in one long line. Move your legs a few inches ahead of you so that you are in a banana shape.
    • Lift your ribs and prop your head up on your hand. Be sure that you keep your back and neck in good alignment. *Beginners and those with neck issues will want to lay their heads down on an outstretched arm.
    • Bring the foot of your top leg up to rest in front of your hips.
    • Thread your top hand behind the calf and grasp the outside of your ankle. This part can be modified so that the foot rests in front of your thigh, and the top hand is flat on the floor in front of your chest for more stability¬†
  2. Inhale: Keeping the bottom leg straight, reach it so long that it raises up off the floor. Use your inner thigh.
  1. Exhale: Maintain that sense of length as you lower the leg back down.
  2. Repeat: Do 5 - 8 sets on each side.

How to Increase the Challenge of the Inner Thigh Lift:

  • Bring the leg up and hold for a few beats, then slowly lower the leg.
  • Advanced practitioners can try this exercise with the top hand behind the head and with the elbow lifted toward the ceiling.

    Tips for the Inner Thigh Lifts:

    1. Make sure that you work from your core.
    2. Keep the hips stacked one on top of the other. Don't allow the top hip to roll back or front.

    Muscles Worked with Inner Thigh Lifts

    This is an adductor exercise, working the inner thigh muscles of the groin area that pull the thigh towards the midline of the body.This is the opposite motion of the side leg raise, which works the abductors. The inner thigh muscles don't get much of a challenge during normal daily activity, so doing dedicated exercises for them can ensure that they are in balance with the rest of the lower body and core. This exercise also works the abdominals as you set up a solid core to perform the movement. Many people want to firm the inner thigh for better appearance when wearing shorts or slacks. If you don't do it routinely, you may want to start as you prepare for shorts season.

    Continue Reading