Different types of walking target the inner thighs more than others.
Your inner thighs are made up of five muscles: adductor magnus, adductor longus, adductor brevis, pectineus and gracilis. Located vertically along the inner edge of your thigh, they work together to assist in walking. These muscles are categorized as assistants because their primary action is hip adduction, which is drawing the leg in after it has been out to the side. Walking does help tighten the inner thighs by toning and strengthening these inner-thigh muscles.
To understand exactly how the inner thighs are tightened during walking, an introduction to the gait cycle is necessary. Your gait cycle is a sequence of movements that occur during a normal walk. Generally, a gait cycle is divided into a stance phase and a swing phase. The swing phase occurs when the leg is no longer weight-bearing and accounts for 40 percent of the gait cycle. This is the phase where inner-thigh muscles are activated and tightened.
As soon as you take your first step your inner thighs are put to work. The adductor magnus and adductor longus are used as accelerators, which help with weight unloading as you lift your back leg and swing it forward to take a step. The gracilis is used as a decelerator, which helps to slow the leg down during the swing phase, right before you finish a step by planting your foot on the ground. If you are a novice walker, begin with a short 10- to 15-minute walk on level ground at a slow pace.
Because your legs are moving forward and backward with basic walking, the inner thigh muscles are assisting primarily. As soon as you add side-to-side movements, the inner thighs are required to do their chief function, causing them to strengthen and tighten more effectively. While hiking on a trail you need to look out for roots, rocks, puddles and uneven ground. These variables increase the use of your inner thighs. Begin with a 15- to 20-minute hike on level ground at a slow place.
The inner-thigh muscles are recruited as accelerators and decelerators during the swing phase of the gait cycle; therefore, the faster the walking pace, the higher level of inner-thigh activity. As soon as your walking pace increases, the adductor magnus and adductor longus contract more quickly and strongly, which strengthens and tones these muscles. In the same way, the gracilis muscle is required to produce a quicker and stronger contraction to slow down the leg before it hits the ground in the swing phase. To begin, walk at a brisk pace for five to 20 minutes on level ground.
To increase inner-thigh muscle recruitment, tighten and tone upper thighs faster and intensify your basic walking routine, try hill walking. When walking up an incline, the adductor muscles need to work harder to assist the hip flexors every time you lift your leg to take a step up the hill. Begin with a moderate incline, walk for approximately 15 minutes and vary your pace depending on your cardiorespiratory ability.