Guess what? Anatomically, there is no such thing as an inner thigh.
That’s a term we would expect to see in Playboy, or similar—it’s reducing our workout to looking good, rather than to performing well, being strong, or being functionally adept.
And yet, when you go to the gym, it’s always called an “inner thigh” or a “booty” or a “butt” or a “tush.” These are slang names (not found in any anatomy book) that don’t help anyone move better, feel better, or function better.
All they generally do is create a sense of “flaw.” Because if you aren’t taught the function or even the proper name, it’s necessarily reductive to appearance: that’s all that’s left.
All fitness professionals have to go through anatomy training, and yet there’s a lack of education being passed on to clients, even in basic cueing. Why are we not teaching clients the proper names and functions of muscles? We all know them and we had to know them to get certified.
I am not sure where the disconnect is happening, because it’s not at instructor training (of which I have taken many). So that leads me to believe that it’s a cultural expectation at the gym or facility level.
And it’s time to change the culture.
Expect more from instructors.
Expect better education. Better cueing.
I personally use an anatomy book or a skeleton (or both) to teach my students where their muscles are. I have people palpate (or touch) their bodies to feel the specific muscles that I’m asking them to engage. I let them know what the anatomical function of the muscle is, and dialogue about sensations in the area. Does that muscle we just released now feel longer? Do you feel a change in the joint above the muscle, below the muscle, or anywhere else in the body?
How do we check if muscles are functioning optimally if we are only focused on what they look like in a bikini? Long-term, are we gaining any of the education an instructor has to share, or just hearing, “10 more, and burn, now 9, 8…feel it shake ladies!”
Stop supporting cueing and instructing that makes you feel like your legs are flawed. Because that’s all that those “think about those inner thighs on a beach. Let’s make them burn” cues are doing. Leave class, if necessary. I have.
Show a desire to learn and demand that you be taught.
Vote with your feet and your wallet.
I personally teach from the assumption that clients care to learn, that every class or session is an opportunity to offer at least one piece of knowledge someone can take away for themselves that they didn’t know before. After all, I am not responsible for someone’s physical health and well-being 365 days a year; they are, so the more tools I can stack in someone’s personal toolkit that they can use themselves, the better.
The next time an instructor cues “feel it in your inner thighs, that’s what every woman wants in a bikini,” ask them to explain what your inner thigh muscles are after class. If they can’t, I suggest you leave and don’t return. If they can, I hope it starts a revolution of change in gyms across the country.
And P.S., they are called your adductors.