The 5 Best Dumbbell Exercises for Inner Thighs

If you want to build toned and muscular lower body, you need to focus on each lower body muscle, whether it’s quads, hamstrings, glutes, calves, or adductors. But we often forget to do specific exercises for the inner thigh (adductors).

The adductors are the important muscles of your thighs. They maintain balance, movement, and stability and help you support during various lower body exercises, such as squats, lunges, hip thrusts, and leg press.

You can do various exercises to strengthen your adductors, but this article is particularly for those who work out at home with dumbbells. Here I’ve shared the five inner thigh dumbbell exercises that you can incorporate into your workout routine.

You can also check out: Dumbbell Exercises for Each Muscle Group

The Muscles and Functions Of Inner Thigh

Muscles Of Inner Thigh

The inner thigh is made of five muscles: adductor magnus, adductor longus, gracilis, adductor brevis, and pectineus. These muscles are responsible for moving the thigh toward or away from the body and help stabilize it during certain movements.

A little about the muscles of the inner thighs:

  1. The Adductor magnus is a large muscle that extends from the pubic bone down to the top of the femur.
  2. The Adductor longus is a smaller muscle that runs along either side of the thigh from just below your pelvic bone to just above your knee.
  3. Gracilis is a small muscle located just below the adductor magnus, running from your pelvis to the top of your thigh.
  4. The Adductor brevis attaches on either side of the gracilis, and its main function is to rotate the leg outward when you walk or run (like in walking lunges).
  5. The pectineus is a small muscle that attaches to the pelvis and runs down the back of the thigh. It helps to stabilize your leg when you are walking or running.

The Best Dumbbell Exercises for Inner Thighs

Here’s a quick list of the top five dumbbell inner thigh exercises you can do at home.

  1. Dumbbell Sumo Squat
  2. Dumbbell Curtsy Lunges
  3. Dumbbell Sumo Cossack Squat
  4. Dumbbell Frog Pumps
  5. Single Leg Dumbbell RDL to Front Lunge

These exercises are suitable for everyone, from beginner and intermediate to male and female.

Let’s find out the benefits of these exercises and how to do them with the step-by-step guide.

1. Dumbbell Sumo Squat

inner thigh dumbbell exercises
Exercise TypeLevelMuscle Worked
Strength and MobilityIntermediateQuads, Adductors, Glutes

If you want to build up your inner thigh with dumbbells, consider doing the sumo squat. The dumbbell sumo squat is one of the best squat variations that work on multiple lower body muscles simultaneously, particularly the adductors, and helps develop sturdy and toned legs.

The stance of the sumo squat is wider than the standard squat, that’s why it works more on the inner muscles of your thighs. Research also suggests that doing squats with a larger feet stance increases thigh muscle activity, especially in the adductor longus and gluteus maximus.1Slater, Lindsay V.; Hart, Joseph M. Muscle Activation Patterns During Different Squat Techniques, Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: March 2017 – Volume 31 – Issue 3 – p 667-676
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000001323
,2Coratella G, Tornatore G, Caccavale F, Longo S, Esposito F, Cè E. The Activation of Gluteal, Thigh, and Lower Back Muscles in Different Squat Variations Performed by Competitive Bodybuilders: Implications for Resistance Training. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jan 18;18(2):772. doi: 10.3390/ijerph18020772. PMID: 33477561; PMCID: PMC7831128

How to perform the dumbbell sumo squat:

You can do the sumo squat in a couple of ways with the dumbbells. For example, you can hold the dumbbells on the front of your shoulders or down between your legs, depending on where you feel the good contraction in your quads.

Here are the step-by-step instructions on how to do front rack dumbbell sumo squat:

  1. Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand upright with your feet 1.5 times wider than your shoulder width and toes pointing out (at a 30 to 40 degrees angle).
  2. Hold the dumbbells at your chest level with your elbows bent. Maintain upright posture with your chest up and core tight. That’s the starting position.
  3. Lower into a squat position as down as possible, and then pushing through your heels, return to the standing position. This will be your one rep.
  4. Do as many sets and reps as you like.

2. Dumbbell Curtsy Lunges

Exercise TypeLevelMuscle Worked
Strength and MobilityIntermediateQuads, Hips, and glutes

The dumbbell curtsy lunge is a great exercise for strengthening inner thighs and glutes. It also reinforces the core, enhances flexibility in your hips, and improves overall balance. However, if you’re a beginner, it would be best to do it without weights to scale up for the weighted curtsy lunge.

Steps to perform a dumbbell curtsy lunge:

  1. Grab one dumbbell in each hand and stand straight with your feet together.
  2. Putting your weight into your left foot, lift your right foot up off the floor and cross it behind your left leg and lower into a lunge position, almost as if you’re curtsying.
  3. Driving through your heels, return to the start. Repeat eight to 10 times and then switch on the opposite side.
  4. Perform an equal number of sets and reps on both sides.

Pro tips: Make sure you maintain an upright posture throughout the movement and perform each rep in a controlled manner.

3. Dumbbell Sumo Cossack Squat

Exercise TypeLevelMuscle Worked
Strength, Balance, and FlexibilityIntermediateQuads, Adductors, Glutes, Calves

The cossack squat is one of the excellent dumbbell exercises for inner thighs. It bolsters your quads, glutes, hip adductors, and calf and helps you build sturdy legs.

It is also a great exercise for improving balance, coordination, and flexibility in your lower body muscles, especially in your hip, knee, and ankle.

How to perform:

  1. Holding one dumbbell in each hand (to your shoulder level), stand straight with your feet two times wider than your shoulder-width apart and toes pointing slightly outward, 30-45 degrees.
  2. Bending your right knee, lower to your right side into a squat position until your left knee is entirely straight with your toe up and heel on the floor. You’ll feel the stretch in your thigh and glute.
  3. Pushing through your right foot into the floor, extend your knee to return to the standing position. Now repeat on the opposite side.
  4. Aim for three sets of 8 to 10 reps each.

4. Dumbbell Frog Pumps

Exercise TypeLevelMuscle Worked
Strength and MobilityIntermediateQuads, Adductors, Hamstring, Glutes

The frog pump is an excellent movement to include in your inner thigh dumbbell exercises list. It works out your butt, thighs, hamstring, hips, lower back, and core muscles at the same time.

It activates your adductor muscles from a different angle and helps increase solidity and flexibility in your lower body muscles.

You can alternate frog pump with other exercises to train your legs effectively, especially the gluteus maximus and adductors.

How to perform the frog pump:

  1. Lie on the floor, grab a dumbbell and place it on your hip.
  2. Bring the soles of your feet together to splay your knees.
  3. Brace your core and glutes. That’s the start.
  4. Lift your hips off the floor while keeping them in line with your knees.
  5. Pause for a moment at the top and lower your hip back on the floor.
  6. Shoot for three sets of eight to 10 reps.

5. Single Leg Dumbbell RDL to Front Lunge

Exercise TypeLevelMuscle Worked
Strength, Mobility, and FlexibilityAdvancedHamstrings, Adductors, Glutes, Lower Back, and Quads

If you’re looking to improve your overall strength, balance, and flexibility, consider performing a single-leg Romanian deadlift to front lunge. It is a challenging exercise but a great way to build up your lower body muscles, such as hamstrings, adductors, glutes, lower back, and quadriceps.

It also helps develop good posture, improves muscle coordination, solidifies the core, as well as reduces lower back and hamstring injuries.

So it’s best to add to your inner thigh dumbbell workout list as it targets your adductors from a different angle than other exercises.

How to do it:

  1. Holding a pair of dumbbells with a neutral grip, stand upright with your feet together and arms straight at your sides.
  2. Leaning your torso forward, lower the weight and raise your right leg behind until your chest and leg are paralleled to the floor.
  3. Pause for a moment and then return to the start and perform a forward lunge. This will be your one rep.
  4. Perform an equal number of sets and reps on each side.

How often should you perform inner thigh dumbbell exercises?

Once a week. You can do these dumbbell inner thigh exercises interchangeably on your leg or on other muscle group days. For example, you can perform the sumo squat and curtsy lunges in your first week and the cossack squat and frog pump in your second week of workout training.

The Final Words

The standard squat and lunge are great exercises for developing strong legs. However, they are not enough to target the entire lower body muscles, particularly the inner thighs (adductors).

The adductors help maintain balance, support the leg during walking, and rotate the thigh inward toward the midline of the body. They also help stabilize the pelvis when you stand and sit.

You can do various dumbbell exercises to build up your inner thighs. The inner thigh dumbbell exercises also help improve balance, flexibility, and mobility in your hips.

Strong adductors also help you perform other lower body exercises efficiently, such as deadlifts, squats, and leg presses.

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Murshid Akram
I'm an online personal trainer, fitness blogger, and fitness enthusiast. I love researching and writing about exercise and nutrition. I share science-based, practical, and logical information that can help you achieve your desired fitness goal.
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