Adductor Plank – A Killer Inner Thigh Exercise

May 18, 2018 by VAHVA Fitness

Strengthen one of the most neglected parts of the lower body and unleash lots of health and performance in your body. 

veryone wants big biceps, chest and abs but how about the legs? Many people skip the leg day and if they don't, their leg workouts aren't very good.

Training your legs is the way to differentiate yourself from the rest and build a physique that stands out from the rest and radiates power and functionality.

The state of leg training in the mainstream fitness is not just bad but it's ridiculously bad. This includes powerlifting which is pretty much a mainstream phenomenon these days. 

Even in movement training, which we are a fan of, leg training is oversimplified and in a bad state. The standards for proper leg development are poor and a lot of people think a deep squat is a good standard when in reality it isn't.

Movement guys focus on mobility and flexibility and powerlifters on basic 1-dimensional strength. These are both good and part of the equation but you are still only scratching the surface.

This is how most people train their legs: they pick one squat variation and one deadlift variation and think that's enough for the biggest muscle groups of their body.

Even if they were to do many different squat and deadlift variations, it still wouldn't be enough.

It's like doing 1 bench press variation and 1 pull up variation for the upper body and thinking you are actually stimulating the upper body enough to reach your fullest potential. This is good for minimal results, but you are not looking for minimal results, are you?

Legs are far more complex than people think and when it comes to health and performance, your legs are probably more important than your upper body. 

Leg training is important because:

  • Leg training has the best carryover to everyday life. You are walking and standing every day more than you are doing pull ups.
  • The structural balance of your legs will directly impact your upper body posture because the angle of your hips determines the angle of your upper body.
  • The health and structure of your legs (=posture) impact your health and hormonal balance. Your poor posture could be linked to poor testosterone production if you are a man.
  • When it comes to athleticism, legs are the main source of power, speed and agility. Upper body strength means little in comparison.
  • Moreover, lower body training is also the key to proper core development which is also one of the main pillars of athleticism.
  • Strong legs look beautiful and impressive on both males & females. 
  • Differentiate yourself from the rest. No one trains the legs properly. By training the legs, you will gain an edge in any physical activity.

We still take upper body training equally serious, but we don't neglect lower body training one bit. It's ultimately about balance.

Develop the Inner Thighs (Adductors)

hip adduction movement

Hip adduction is the joint articulation where you move the leg towards the midline of your body. Basically you are pulling the leg from the outside to inside.

This hip adduction when properly trained will develop your inner thighs which are a muscle group in your groin area and inside of the thigh.

Inner thighs are one of the many areas of the lower body that are heavily neglected. When was the last time you heard someone training their inner thighs? 

One of the reasons for improper leg training is that people oversimplify leg training.

When people see a muscle diagram of the back squat and see how the back squat "works" the most muscles of the lower body, they think the back squat is an ultimate exercise that automatically strengthens every part of their legs. 

Just because a muscle is somewhat stimulated during an exercise, doesn't mean it's properly stimulated. It doesn't mean much at all - what matters is whether the muscle is properly stimulated in its full function.

For example, a chin up also trains the chest muscles but no one is doing chin ups for their chest muscles because the stimulation is not very good. Yet, they think like this for many leg exercises like deadlifts or back squats.

To properly train the muscles of the legs, you need to properly train the functions of the legs! One of the functions of the legs is this hip adduction which develops the inner thigh muscles.

adductors inner thigh exercise routine

The reasons why you should care about your inner thigh development:

  • Improve your posture and as a result your health.
  • Increase your mobility and flexibility.
  • Improve your athletic ability: move faster (lateral movement), increase your power production (stabilization and balance), kick harder and even squat heavier.
  • Decrease the chance of injury (groin injuries and tightness are common).

We used to have severe weaknesses in the inner thighs because we never trained them properly. Years of doing squats and deadlifts simply weren't enough to develop this area.

One of the reasons why you may be inflexible or cannot kick well is because your inner thighs (among many other muscles) are likely weak. Inner thighs are commonly neglected areas for both men and women alike. 

Moreover, if you want to reach your fullest potential, you cannot really have any weak areas in your structure because your weaknesses will hinder your progress in other areas due to the body's constant desire to return to the homeostasis.

Enter: Adductor Plank

Adductor plank is one of the 99 unique exercises of Athlete 20XX and it's part of phase 2 (intermediate to advanced phase) of Athlete 20XX.  

The reason this exercise is more intermediate is that 1. people have weak inner thighs and 2. people have weak obliques. 

If you are reasonably fit, you can try this exercise to develop the inner thighs. We designed this exercise's many variations to train the inner thighs with heavy resistance without the use of machines or weights.

Before you work on the adductor plank, the side plank needs to be mastered first and preferably with the bending motion as we have done in Athlete 20XX. If your obliques are weak, you may not be able to fully emphasize the adductors.

Isometric & Bending Adductor Plank

adductor plank bend

This is the lower position of the adductor plank bend where the hip has been abducted (opened).

The variation you want to start with is the isometric adductor plank where you are just holding the position.

In this variation you place the upper leg on a bench or a box and raise the lower leg off the floor. This will immediately place resistance on your inner thigh since you have to use the muscles to prevent your hip from abducting (opening up).

Hold this position from 10 to 30 seconds per set to feel a nice burn in the inner thighs. It's also normal to feel a strong burn in the obliques and the shoulders.

Once you master the isometric adductor plank, you can start doing adductor plank bends.

In this variation you keep the core tight and let the hip abduct (open the hip) and then you squeeze the leg in (adduction, closing the hip) to straighten the body. See the video for the correct demonstration. 

This variation is especially good for the inner thighs because you are training the adductors in their range of motion. Isometric is good but motion is even better.

Another great variation to train the inner thighs is to hold the isometric adductor plank, but instead open and close the lower leg (free leg) as seen in the picture below.

adduction plank with lower leg raise

Here you are opening and closing the lower leg to develop the inner thighs of the lower leg in addition to isometrically training the upper leg's inner thighs.

This movement may seem not much but it's actually a lot for most people. This is because the entire body is stiff and stabilized and the angle of the hip creates lots of resistance to the lower leg.

This way, you will train isometrically the upper leg and in motion the lower leg. Combined, you are training the adductors amazingly well on both sides.

Bodyweight when used right is more than enough to strengthen the body because it's ultimately about resistance that is directed to the muscles.

Beginner Adductor Plank

beginner adductor plank

Beginner variation of the adductor plank where you don't need to elevate the leg.

You can do the adductor plank without a bench or a box on the floor. It will be easier but not as comfortable due to the lack of space. You have to raise the free leg off the floor which is surprisingly challenging.

It's also possible to do the adductor plank on your forearm to make the exercise easier for your shoulder stability. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid

inner thigh mistakes strengthen

Adductor plank like many other exercises is easy to do wrong if you haven't mastered the basics. 

Although adductor plank will train the obliques, the purpose of the adductor plank is not to crunch the obliques (your side).

You should aim to keep the core stable and the side of your body as stiff as possible. This way you will be focusing on the inner thighs which is the primary target.

Another common mistake is to generate motion by moving your shoulder blades. This areas as well needs to be as stable and stiff as possible. 

The exercise should be done with straight hips - your core or hips shouldn't bend to one side or another. Your body needs to be straight and stiff.

Many people will do this exercise incorrectly by repeating the mistakes above. The only way to reach the high level in anything physical is to get the basics and form right. 

Many people never master the basics and as a result never get strong. In the grand scheme of things, what you do in the gym and how you do it will matter the most. 

The reason why you may not get the results you are looking for is not because the exercises are not "hard enough" or you are not doing them for long enough repetitions. 

In most cases the problem lies in the form and technique which are the determining factors between someone who gets really strong and someone who stays average. 

Ultimately, the quality of your repetitions matter a lot more than the quantity.

This article was one of the longest in-depth articles we have done in a while! I hope you enjoyed it and can take something from it for your own training.

Right now we are determined to spread our message of quality training to as many people as possible. Quality training means you have to eliminate the ego which is largely behind the poor results and poor training methods people utilize.

The reason why we like to talk about leg training and especially how good it is in Athlete 20XX is because our lower body and core training are light years ahead of everyone else. 

If you are looking forward to reaching your fullest potential in every aspect of fitness, we welcome you to check out Athlete 20XX. 

Train hard, stay safe.

samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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