By Nick Nilsson
Looking to tighten up your inner thighs? The adduction
exercise is one of the best. But did you know strong
adductors are KEY for a strong squat? Learn a variation
that will tighten the inner thighs and build squatting strength.
The Thigh Adduction exercise is excellent not only for tightening up the inner thighs, but also developing a strong squat. In fact, the adductor muscles are CRITICAL during the squat! So it doesn't matter if your goal is tighter thighs or a stronger squat, the adductor exercise should be on your list.
The adductor muscles (Adductor Magnus, Longus and Brevis, the Gracilis and the Pectineus) are located on the inner thighs and serve to bring the thighs together.Most often, you'll see this exercise done either in a specialized seated machine (where you sit down and spread your legs then squeeze them together against resistance), on a rotational hip machine (done on leg at a time, bring the thigh down against resistance) or using a low pulley and an ankle harness.
But none of these exercises can compare to the focused tension and dynamic stabilizing requirement placed on the adductors by the Cable Cross-Over variation of this exercise! This exercise will work the adductors and tighten up your inner thighs like no other.
There will be a link to pictures of this exercise in action at the end of the article.
How To Do It:
First, set a Swiss ball directly in the middle of the two pulleys of the cable cross-over machine. Attach the single handles to the low pulleys on either side and set a moderate weight on the stacks.
Grab the handles one at a time then move to the center and sit on the ball. Your feet should be fairly close together but let your knees splay out wide. Brace your forearms against the insides of your knees - your hands (and the cables) will be forward of your knees. Basically, you are going to be doing an adduction (squeezing your thighs together) while seated on the ball. You will be holding the cables in your hand for resistance and pressing inward against your forearms until they get squeezed together.
The ball allows you to shift body position dynamically, even while doing the exercise, by rolling forward or backward on it. This instability makes the exercise much more functional than a machine adduction while also allowing you to use enough weight to build strength.
In addition, because you're using your arms as the equipment, you can also squeeze in with your chest to help spot yourself during the movement in order to get more reps. You can make this one extremely tough!
Adductions are obviously ideal for tightening up the inner thighs - so how do they improve your squat?
Easy - every time you squat down, your adductors contract hard to stabilize the legs and hips. As you start to squat up, the adductors must also contract hard to not only maintain the stabilization of the hips but also to contribute in moving the body to the standing position. This demand is even more pronounced the wider the stance you take in the squat. The stronger your adductors, the stronger you'll be out of the bottom of the squat.
So basically, if you want a big squat, do this exercise. It's not just for tightening the inner thighs. And don't be afraid of working up to using a heavy weight, especially if you want to use this to build up your squat.
This exercise is also ideal for athletes in sports that require a lot of lateral movement, e.g. hockey, football, soccer, etc. It's very rare you find an athlete directly working the adductors - quite honestly, adductions are often considered a "toning" exercise and are shunned by serious athletes. Don't fall into that trap! You will find that strengthening of the adductors can help prevent groin injuries!
Abductions (moving the legs outward against resistance) can also be performed with this set-up - it must be done one leg at a time. To do abduction, you would grab the left cable with your left hand and place the left forearm on the outside of your left knee. The cable would cross over in front of your knees. Keep your foot directly in front and move your knee out wide to the side.
For pictures and a video of the Cable Cross-Over Adduction exercise in action, please click on the following link:
Nick Nilsson is Vice-President of the online personal training company BetterU, Inc. He has a degree in Physical Education and Psychology and has been inventing new training techniques for more than 16 years. Nick is the author of a number of bodybuilding eBooks. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All the best in your weight training, powerlifting, and bodybuilding, programs.