Inner Thigh Workouts Won’t Give You a Thigh Gap

Sharing some truth bombs about the current obsession with having a "thigh gap".

^Anyone else’s’ Mom have a Suzanne Somers thigh master back in the day?? LOL

One of the most frequent workout requests I get is for one targeting inner thighs. Normally with workout requests, I add them right to the list and do my best to have them created and posted within the month. I find myself putting off the inner thigh workout, however, because I get the feeling the popularity of the request has something to do with this thigh gap craze.

I don’t want to make assumptions, and am sure some people just genuinely are looking to strengthen this muscle group. And for that reason, I’m absolutely going to put together some adductor workouts. But for those who are thinking inner thigh workouts = thigh gap, I just want to share my thoughts and some facts about the topic that I hope are helpful.

In sharing the info below, I’m in no way suggesting you should strive for a gap between your thighs (as will become clear as the blog post goes on). The term honestly makes me cringe a little. Yet here I am. Writing an entire post about it.

The Truth about “Thigh Gaps”

Not everyone can achieve a thigh gap.

Whether we like it or not, not everything is within our control (hi, genetics!). You can be the most petite of petites and still not have a gap between your uppermost thighs if your hips are narrow. So the idea that this would be a beauty standard to which we all try to aspire is just ridiculous. Who even decided this was a thing?? We come in different shapes and builds; we store excess weight in different areas of our body; and we use our bodies in different ways depending on the activities we love.

I'm sharing some facts about the thigh gap craze.

And with all that being said, let’s also not forget that some thigh gaps in pictures are just there because of the way the person is posing. If I stand regularly with my ankles touching and good posture, I don’t have a thigh gap. But if I stick my butt out, tilt my pelvis forward and internally rotate my thighs … boom. So maybe that Insta-famous chick whose legs you’re coveting is just posing at a drastic angle–you have to take social media with a grain of salt and can’t let it make you feel bad about yourself.

Working out is an important piece, but the fix you’re looking for probably lies in your diet.

I don’t think a thigh gap should be your goal, but it’s helpful to talk about the general way in which we approach body parts that we’ve deemed “problem areas”. My intent in sharing the below information isn’t to be like “Hey guys, this is how you get a thigh gap!” but to explain in general how weight loss works, should that be a *healthy* goal of yours.

So let’s break down a “thigh gap” and assume it’s not due to an anterior pelvic tilt (a postural muscle imbalance that can often happen if you have tight hip flexors): It’s a combination of thin (ish) thighs and wide (ish) hips. So reducing the size of your thighs (aka losing weight) would be the way to get there. Now, don’t get me wrong, working out is an integral part of the process, but the biggest influencer is what you’re eating. Any time you’re talking about losing weight, it’s about 70% diet and 30% exercise (that’ll vary by person).

Muscle is more dense than fat (weighs more, takes up less space), so you absolutely want to do strength training, but that needs to be paired with a healthy diet of nutrient-dense foods eaten in reasonable portion sizes. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to see the majority of that hard work you’re putting in at the gym.

So if you see some bullshit clickbait workout on Pinterest titled “Thigh Gap Workout” or “The Best Workout for a Thigh Gap” please regard it as garbage.

I get questions like this a lot: “Will this core workout help me lose my love handles?” or “Will this quad workout give me thinner thighs?” And it doesn’t exactly work like that. Yes, exercise plays a role. But I can’t overemphasize how important food is.

You can’t spot reduce.

Working out your thighs doesn’t mean you’re going to lose weight specifically from your thighs. Doing a million crunches won’t make you lose weight just from your stomach. You can target where you build strength, but not from where you lose fat.

Let’s say you burn 3,500 calories in a week during your workouts. That’s equal to about a 1-lb weight loss. That one pound isn’t going to be lost from the area which worked the hardest. If you burned the entire 3,500 calories doing glute work, you’re not going to lose one pound of fat directly from your butt. You might lose some from that area, but it really just depends on our individual bodies and how our weight tends to be distributed.

Don’t let beauty standard trends affect how you feel about your body.

I know, I know. Easier said than done. But beauty trends are just that: trends. And like all other trends, they come and go. Being waif thin was “in” then J. Lo burst on the scene and having a big butt was “in”. Remember in the early 2000s when everyone would over-pluck the shit out of their eyebrows because that was “in”? Now we’re all penciling and even tattooing on more brow because the bigger and bolder the better. Already, I see the thigh gap talk growing quieter (thank the lord), and while I’d idealistically love for our society’s idea of beauty to just revolve around things like kindness, health and happiness, I’m sure some other physical trend will take its place.

I'm sharing some facts about the thigh gap craze.

Even if you can and do achieve certain physical markers deemed beautiful by society, I promise you those alone can not make you feel fulfilled. If you’re unhappy with yourself when your thighs touch, you will not suddenly radiate joy with a gap between them. There’s nothing wrong with caring about your appearance–I care about mine!–the issue lies when your self value is completely defined by it.

I realize that as a thin white woman, I’m not exactly the most powerful messenger for championing body diversity, but it’s still important to me that I talk about it on the blog. The distance between your thighs has absolutely nothing to do with your worth. Just focus on being the best version of you. Maybe your thighs touch because they’re strong AF and you’ve been training them consistently for years. That’s something to be celebrated!

So with all that being said, I am going to share a workout targeting the inner thighs soon. Not to help anyone achieve a thigh gap, but to help us strengthen our adductors. Let’s focus more on what our bodies can do and less on what they look like.

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Comments

  1. Yes! Being in the fitness industry I forget that many people don’t know these things, but they’re so important to understand. Thanks for talking about it!

  2. Thank you! Love this article! I’m glad I could find a fitness oriented blog that shares my perspective 🙂

  3. Angie K says:

    Great post and great to hear the honest opinion! I’m super petite and lean and didn’t have a thigh gap at all until I had a baby and my hips got wider (haha!). Butttt now my hips are wider … oh well, can’t win them all right?? 😉

  4. Thank you for posting about this. So important!

  5. Well said, thanks for writing about this! 🙂 xx

  6. Amen Nicole, what a great post! This whole thigh gap thing is soooo ridiculous, I can’t wait for it to be replaced by the “close the gap” trend, haha!

  7. YES! Thank you for this. It’s easy to get caught up in the media’s idea of beauty and focus on the wrong things.

  8. Totally agree! Also, really looking forward to the abductor workouts. As a runner, I’ve had a lot of knee issues because my abductors are so weak compared to everything else.

  9. graciejem says:

    Thank you for your candid thoughts here! It’s important to have these callouts about natural body size, and valuing strength / function over looks. I also appreciate your vulnerability in accepting yes, I am a thin white woman, but I am an advocate for body positivity & health — something I am also still learning the best way to do!

  10. Yes to everything in this post! We talked about thigh gaps in my anatomy class, and for the most part unless you have the perfect BONE set up, you most likely won’t have a thigh gap.

  11. Oh I LOVE this post!!! Such a silly standard and I wish everyone understood it’s not always realistic!

    Laura
    http://www.blackcoffeebeautiful.com

  12. Love this post!! There are so many blogs/sites that have so many negative connotations with their workouts. If I want a bikini body, I’m gonna put on a bikini! So happy for a body positive fitness inspiration from you 🙂

  13. Yes! This is why you are my favorite fitness blogger.

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