Knee Strength and Stability: Seated Inner and Outer Thigh Exercise

by | Sep 7, 2012 | Exercise and Fitness, Functional Movement, Videos | 0 comments

This knee strength and stability exercise is the third exercise in the “TV Knee Series.”  It’s a great exercise to help develop the support and stability of your inner & outer thighs for healthy, pain-free knees.

ALL of the leg muscles are important to stretch and strengthen for healthy knees.  This simple “TV Knee Series”  exercise with an open and close of the leg helps to strengthen the whole thigh, with a little extra emphasis on the Inner thighs (Adductors) and Outer thighs (Abductors) that help provide leg strength and knee stability.

Typically when we think about leg exercises the focus is on Quadriceps and Hamstring to strengthen the front and back of your legs.  The knee joint is designed to straighten and bend the leg in a forward and back direction, not sideways.   You may notice that sometimes when you stand, walk, sit down and get up, or climb stairs,  that your knees  wobble with a little side-to-side movement at the knee joint.  It’s the strength and  support of the inner and outer thigh muscles that help control this “wobble.”  If your inner & outer thighs are not strong enough to support the knees and hold the legs in good alignment, you will have problems getting the knee joints to track properly and this can be a contributing factor to knee pain.

Seated Inner & Outer Thigh Exercise (TV Knee Series – Exercise #3)

How-To Instructions: (TV Knee Series Exercise #3)

Use this seated knee exercise to help the Inner & Outer Thighs get stronger in a non-weight bearing position to support good functional movement at the knees.

  1. Sit upon the edge of a chair or stool.
  2. Use a taller chair to make the exercise easier.  Use a  lower chair for more of a challenge.
  3. Maintain good tall posture throughout the exercise.
  4. Keep your hips and shoulders square, level, and even while moving the leg.
  5. Inhale, sit tall & pull your stomach in.  Exhale, continue zipping up your Abs and lift one knee up.
  6. Inhale to hold the knee up and engage the outer thigh (Abductors) to open the leg.
  7. Exhale to keep the knee up and use the inner thigh muscles (Adductors) to bring the leg back to center.
  8. Inhale & exhale to lower the leg with control, and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
  9. Continue Alternating sides for 5- 8-10 repetitions.

What to Watch For:

  • Make sure that your belly stays in, and your hips stay evenly weighted on the chair.
  • ONE leg is all that moves, not your whole body.
  • Pay attention to the standing/supporting leg.  Keep it still as you lift and move the working leg.  If the standing leg wobbles, you lost the support of your outer thigh on the standing leg.
  • Keep your shin perpendicular to the floor while moving the leg, to be sure there is no internal or external rotation of the leg happening as you open & close the leg.

This exercise seems simple and easy, but you will be surprised how much work it might be.

Use this exercise and the other exercises in this “TV” Knee Series to help strengthen your legs, inner & outer thighs, and stabilize your knees to support your whole-body when you move.  Knee strength and stability exercises are an important part of every workout for functional movement to keep your legs and knees strong, healthy, and pain-free.


To see the first 2 Knee Strengthening Exercises in the TV Knee Series click on the links below:

There are 5 exercises in the “TV” Knee Series – sign up for the Centerworks Wellness Success Newsletter today to get updates for the rest of the exercises in this knee strengthening series, as well as other helpful Pilates, foot fitness & functional movement tips and resources to keep you strong, fit, and active!


Aliesa George: Over the past three decades, Aliesa George has helped assist people with their personal health journeys by sharing, teaching, and developing Pilates, Foot Fitness, and other Mind-Body programs.


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