Inner thigh strength is used far more than most dancers realise and the importance of correctly strengthening them is often greatly overlooked. Inner thigh strength comes into play from the first time you turn out your legs at the barre, stand in first position or pointe your feet. Correctly engaging & drawing your focus during ballet class to this wonderful group of muscles can have incredible benefits but where you’ll find the most benefit is from strength training post class with specific exercises and workouts to challenge your lower limbs and inner thighs.
It’s important to also have a balance between the inner thigh muscles and the outer thigh muscles to help stabilise your pelvis. Your hip adductors, along with some other muscles, stabilise the hip, but if you don’t have sufficient strength in each muscle or proper firing in the muscle, then you can develop issues which can result in injury and that instability can have a domino effect throughout your body. Ideally, you’d be including workouts in your routine that challenge your outer thighs and your inner thighs.
Mastering these 3 key inner thigh exercises is a must for anyone looking to increase their turn out, extensions, stability & jumps.
1. Inner Thigh Lift
To get into starting position, lie on your right side, right leg extended straight along the mat. Bend your left leg and place your foot, either flat or on demi-point (heel lifted), on the mat in front of your bottom leg. Relax your shoulders and neck, and pull your stomach in, core engaged. Lift your bottom leg to hover above the ground, and from this starting point, lift two inches and lower. The leg never touches the mat. Do 4 sets of 16 on each leg.
Lie flat on your back. Extend legs straight up in the air, turned outward from the hips and toes pointed, so that your inner thighs and heels are touching. Place your arms out in front of you in first position—forming a loose circle. Be sure to engage your core and keep your belly button pulled into your spine. Then, open up your legs to a V position, a little further than shoulder-width apart. Pull your legs back in and tap heels together lightly, then push back out to the V. Keep doing this repeatedly, with a steady “beat.” You should feel your inner thighs working as you pull your legs back together each time. Do 4 sets of 24
3. Sumo squat
Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart, toes turned out about 45 degrees. Start with just your body weight and build to holding a weight in front of you. Bend your knees over your toes and push your hips back as you lower down into a squat. Drive through your heels to return to standing and squeeze your glutes at the top. That’s 1 rep. Complete 10-12 reps.
Train Like a Ballerina has hundreds of inner thigh strengthening exercises with targeted workouts specific to inner thighs. If you’r not already part of the worlds fasting growing ballet community then start your 7-day free trial today!