The Best Inner Thigh Exercises For Pregnancy (& Postpartum)

If you’re pregnant and looking for the best inner thigh exercises, you’re in the right place!

This post will go over the five best exercises to help tone your thighs and hips.

You’ll also learn the single most important thing for reducing thigh fat.

Are you ready?

Let’s go.


How do you tone your inner thighs?

There are two things you must do to tone your inner thighs.

  1. You need to build muscle in your adductor muscles, and
  2. You need to drop your body fat percentage

Building muscle in the inner thighs isn’t difficult. This article will teach you how to do that.

However, if you are pregnant, it’s much harder to decrease your body fat percentage. Exercise can only help to an extent.

Here’s the truth. The majority of fat loss will come from your diet. Without proper nutrition, you may not notice any fat loss at all.

So it’s important that you do this the right way.

So How can I reduce my thighs during pregnancy?

Regardless of whether you are pregnant or not, reducing your thighs still boils down to the two principles I mentioned above:

You need to build muscle tissue in the adductor muscles, while losing body fat.

The thing is, I don’t want you to lose weight in pregnancy.

Instead, I want you to minimize the amount of fat you gain throughout your pregnancy.


  1. By improving your nutrition, and
  2. Doing your best to adhere to the American College of OBGYN recommendations for weight gain in pregnancy.

Here is a chart showing what the recommended weight gain in pregnancy is.

CategoryBMIRecommended Total Weight Gain
Underweight<18.528-40 lbs
Ideal weight18.5-24.925-30 lbs
Overweight25-29.915-25 lbs
Obese>3011-20 lbs

This is easier said than done – but not impossible.

It starts by improving your nutrition.

What are the best ways to improve your nutrition?

  1. Drink more water.
  2. Drink more water.
  3. Drink more water.

I’m serious.

You need to drink more water for 3 reasons.

You get dehydrated so easily in pregnancy. But the good news is – water can help you stay hydrated, maintain a feeling of fullness, and decrease the need to drink other sugary drinks like juice or soda.

That’s the first tip.

To see more, I have written an entire post on how to improve your nutrition during pregnancy here.

Now let’s go over the exercises.

The Best Exercises For The Inner Thighs in Pregnancy (& Postpartum)

Okay, so there are five exercises that I want you to do to strengthen and develop your inner thigh muscles.

But don’t forget – these exercises will only help with building the muscle.

Reducing your thigh fat is largely going to boil down to your diet.

Okay, let’s get started.

Sumo Goblet Squats

The first exercise for your inner thighs is the sumo goblet squat.

This movement will train your adductors (inner thighs), quadriceps (front of the thighs), and your glutes (butt).

To get the most of this exercise, you should hold onto a dumbbell in the goblet position as seen below. You can also use one of the postpartum trainer glute resistance bands above your knees to make the exercise more difficult.

Here’s how it looks:

pregnant woman performing sumo squat with a dumbbell
  • Pick up a dumbbell and hold it against your chest with your palms up and elbows tucked close to your sides.
  • Next, set your stance fairly wide, with your toes pointing out 45 degrees.
  • From here, begin squatting down as low as you can comfortably go.
  • Squat down slow, taking 3 seconds to reach the bottom.
  • At the bottom position, pause for 1 second and then come back up slow and controlled.

Do 10-12 repetitions per set.

Can I do squats while pregnant?

Yes! Squats are one of the best exercises you can do while pregnant. It will help strengthen your lower body and open up your hips. Both of which will be really useful for delivering your baby and for postpartum recovery.

Lateral Lunges

The second exercise is the lateral lunge. This is probably the most effective exercise in targeting the adductor muscles.

This exercise will require some balance– therefore it is important that you have something in front of you to help you balance. The back of a chair works great.

Here’s how to do it:

pregnant woman performing modified lateral lunge using a chair for balance
  • Stand with your feet together and hands up by your chest (or on the chair for balance).
  • Next, step out with one floor laterally, keeping your toes pointing forward.
  • Begin squatting down towards the side that you stepped out to.
  • Make sure to keep your other leg straight with your foot planted on the ground.
  • As you descend, you will feel a nice stretch along the inner thigh of the straight leg.
  • Stand back up with your feet together and repeat.
  • If balance is not an issue, feel free to hold on to a dumbbell.

Do 10-12 repetitions per side.

Curtsy Lunges

Next is the curtsy lunge. This exercise is similar to the lateral lunge, with one main difference.

Instead of stepping out laterally, you will step behind your other leg. This will also strengthen the quadriceps and your hips.

Similarly, if you are far along in your pregnancy, feel free to use the back of a chair for balance.

Here’s how it looks:

  • Stand with your feet together and hands up by your chest (or on the chair for balance).
  • Next, step one foot back and behind your other foot
  • Keep your toes pointing forward.
  • From here, bend down with both knees to a comfortable depth.
  • Hold the bottom position for 1 second and then step back to the starting position.
  • Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

Do 10-12 repetitions per side.

Side-Lying Adductions Lifts

The fourth exercise is the side-lying adduction lift. These last two movements tend to isolate the inner thighs more than the first three.

Here’s how to do the side-lying adduction.

Pregnant woman performing side lying hip adductions
  • Lie on your side, propped up on your elbow and forearm.
  • Extend the leg closest to the floor and bend the knee of the top leg and place your foot flat on the ground.
  • From here, all you have to do is lift the bottom leg off the floor while keeping your knee straight.
  • Hold the top position for 2-3 seconds and lower it back down.
  • Repeat.

Do 12-15 repetitions per side.

Side-Lying Ball Squeezes (In Between Feet)

The final exercise is the side-lying ball squeeze. It requires a ball, or a folded pillow/cushion that you will place between your feet.

Here’s how it looks:

pregnant woman lying on her side squeezing a ball in between her ankles
  • Lie on your side, with your head resting on your elbow.
  • Place the ball between your feet and keep both your legs extended.
  • Next, you are going to squeeze the ball together with your feet.
  • You should feel both of your inner thighs getting activated.
  • Hold this contraction for 3-5 seconds and release.
  • Repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.

Do 15-20 repetitions, changing the leg that’s on the bottom halfway through the set.

So those are the five best inner thigh exercises you can do during pregnancy.

I go over a few more in my post on losing thigh fat.

These exercises are great to do in the postpartum period as well.

Feel free to go through 1-2 circuits of these five exercises twice weekly.

Now let’s go over a few other questions.

Other Frequently Asked Questions

Does walking reduce inner thigh fat?

Yes! Walking can help reduce inner thigh fat. That’s because walking is the best form of exercise that you can do every single day.

As such, you can burn calories and stimulate your legs anytime, anywhere. The fat loss won’t be dramatic unless you use the other strategies as well.

These strategies include developing lean muscle tissue and improving your diet!

Why do your thighs get bigger during pregnancy?

Your thighs get bigger during pregnancy for a few reasons.

  1. Women carry more fat cells in the thighs and hips than men
  2. Your thighs/hips need to be strong to carry the weight of the pregnancy
  3. You are more likely to gain fat throughout the pregnancy

This is all due to evolution. Your body needs to find a way to not only grow another human inside of you- but to carry that weight as well.

So never forget that your thighs and hips are what allow you to bring life into this world!

Why do my inner thighs hurt during pregnancy?

If you have inner thigh pain during pregnancy, this usually means one of two things.

  1. Pubic symphysis separation
  2. Muscular related strain
  3. Round ligament pain

As you reach the second and third trimesters of pregnancy, your body begins to produce more relaxin.

Relaxin is a hormone that can change the properties of your cartilage and tendons. In other words, it helps your musculoskeletal system become more lax (aka loose).

The end result is that your hips can accommodate the growing fetus.

As such, some women can experience a separation of the pubic symphysis. This is a cartilaginous joint that connects the two halves of your pubic bone together. Relaxin may play a role.

This can lead to sharp pain in your hips, inner thighs, and groin – often worse with walking and climbing stairs. Here are seven exercises you could perform in pregnancy if you suffer from symphysis pubic dysfunction.

Lastly, as the uterus grows the ligaments attached to the uterus begin to stretch.

One of these ligaments is called the round ligament. It connects the uterus to the labia majora. Many women will feel pain in the groin/inner thigh as this ligament stretches. Here is what you should do if you are experiencing round ligament pain.


Thankfully, it’s a benign and temporary condition.

This condition and other muscular-related issues are often improved with physical therapy, pelvic braces, and modified exercise.

Either way, you should definitely see a qualified healthcare provider just to be sure.

What About A Pregnancy leg workout?

In this post, you learned about the best inner thigh exercises you can do during pregnancy.

How do you incorporate it into a workout?

Lucky for you, I have an entire article on safe leg exercises you can do while pregnant.

  • Use the exercises in the article above to fill in a squat and hip/glute variation.
  • Then fill in the third and fourth exercises with one of the 5 in this article.
Squat Variation1-312-15
Hip/Glute Variation1-312-15
Adductor Exercise #11-312-15
Adductor Exercise #21-312-15

Do this workout twice per week, subbing out all of the movements for other variations for the second workout.

How do I get rid of saddlebags?

You might also have saddlebags, (which is a collection of fat on your outer thighs).

If so, I have an article that goes over the best exercises to strengthen the outer thighs.

But just like inner thighs, you won’t be able to specifically tone this area. Increasing your muscle mass while improving your nutrition will be the key to losing fat in unwanted places.

How Do I get a bigger bum while pregnant?

What about the butt? Can you get a bigger bum while pregnant?


This is easier than losing fat in the inner and outer thighs. You simply need to focus on the best exercises to strengthen and develop the glute muscles.

I have just what you’re looking for.

Final Thoughts On Reducing Thigh Fat in Pregnancy

It’s normal to gain some fat in your thighs during pregnancy.

How else would you support a growing baby?

But this shouldn’t stop you from maximizing your nutrition and engaging in safe exercise throughout your three trimesters.

So which of these exercises are you most excited to try first?

Comment below and let me know!

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Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

Brittany Robles is a full-time OBGYN physician, a NASM certified trainer, and a prenatal and postnatal fitness specialist. She holds a Master of Public Health degree in maternal health with a special interest in exercise and nutrition. She is also the co-author of The White Coat Trainer. Learn more about her here.

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2 thoughts on “The Best Inner Thigh Exercises For Pregnancy (& Postpartum)”

  1. This was a great article … I’m 22 weeks pregnant and cannot stomach water which has been really difficult for me any suggestions to stay hydrated ?

    1. Brittany Robles, MD, MPH, CPT

      Hi Danielle,

      Thank you so much for your comment! Congratulations on your pregnancy :).
      Staying hydrated is super important in pregnancy especially in the 2nd and 3rd trimester. You can try to add any one of these to flavor your water: lemon, cucumber, pineapple, berries, or mint. I personally love adding berries to my water.
      Be careful when using powder flavoring as these could have a ton of sugar as well as artificial ingredients.
      Hope this helps!

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