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The gracilis is part of the inner thigh.
Deriving its name from its slender form, the gracilis muscle runs along your inner thigh. Also known as the hip adductor, the gracilis extends from your pubic bone and connects via tendons to the tibia bone in your shin. Because this and the other inner thigh muscles play a role in supporting the knee, a weak gracilis muscle can lead to problems in that area. Strengthening and stretching this area not only creates toned inner thigh, but can also help prevent and alleviate creaky knees.
Leg scissors can be done with the added resistance of a cable machine or without equipment anywhere you have space to lay down. Lie face up on the floor. To support your lower back, either tilt your pelvis and engage your abs to press the lower back to the floor or place your hands under your tailbone. Extend your legs straight up into the air. Slowly open your legs out to the sides so you form a V with your legs. Pause and then slowly bring your legs back together. Repeat the opening and closing 10 to 12 times.
Although they're called leg swings, get the most out of this exercise by making all your motions slow and controlled. Stand with your feet facing forward. Raise your right leg out to the side, then slowly bring it back to center and continue swinging the leg beyond the center line and across the left leg. Repeat the swing 10 to 12 times, then switch sides. To make this exercise more challenging, add resistance by using ankle weights, resistance bands or a weight machine with a lever fulcrum.
Inner Leg Raise
This exercise is similar to side-lying raises, but you lift the lower leg instead of the upper leg and the movement is much smaller. Lie on your right side on the floor and rest your head on your right arm. Your legs should be in a straight line with your right leg slightly in front of the left leg. Both feet will be resting on the floor to start. Slowly lift the right leg 3 to 5 inches off the floor or until you feel your hips start to tilt. Slowly lower the leg. Repeat raising and lowering the leg 10 to 12 times and then switch sides. Throughout the exercise, your abs should be engaged to keep your body stable.
Stretching It Out
Stretching the gracilis muscle relieves tension in the groin and keeps your inner thighs supple. If you haven't already warmed up, perform light activity that involves the legs for at least five minutes. Sit on the floor, with your feet together so the soles of your shoes or feet are touching. Your leg should form a diamond shape. Hold onto your feet as you gently bend forward at the waist. For a deeper stretch you can lean forward more or your can press your elbows into your knees. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds.