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Squeezing a ball while doing wall squats works your inner thigh muscles.
Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images
A wall squat is an isometric exercise -- your muscles are contracted and held for a period of time without lengthening or shortening and with no joint movement. While isometric exercises don't build muscle, they are most effective in maintaining muscular strength, states MayoClinic.com. Wall squats work several lower-body muscle groups, and with a slight technique change -- squeezing a small, rubber ball between your legs -- you can increase the intensity of the exercise and focus on your inner thigh muscles.
Wall squats target the muscles in your hips and thighs, specifically those that extend your knees and hip joints. The primary muscles targeted as you move your body up and down against the wall are your quads, located at the front of your upper leg. The most significant assisting muscles are your glutes, adductors and the soleus. Your glutes are your butt muscles, your adductors are located on the inside of your thighs and the soleus muscles are in your calves. The hamstrings are the primary stabilizing muscles and are the group of muscles located in back of your upper leg.
The basic technique starts with you standing with your back to a sturdy wall. Lean back and put your shoulders and upper back against the wall. Place a small, 9-inch exercise ball between your knees and walk your feet forward, 16 to 20 inches. Then, slowly slide down the wall, lower into a squat and stop when your thighs are parallel to the floor. Next, squeeze the ball with your knees and hold the squeeze and your position for 30 to 40 seconds or as long as you can without losing your form. Take the ball out from between your knees and push with your feet to return to a standing position.
A slightly more challenging variation is done with two 9-inch balls. You start in a similar way, standing with your back to a wall and a ball between your knees. The second ball is sandwiched between the wall and the small of your back. With your feet 16 to 20 inches from the wall, lean into the ball and roll down the wall into a squat -- thighs parallel to the floor. Then, squeeze the ball with your knees and hold the squeeze. After five seconds, relax the squeeze, push with your legs, roll back up to the starting position and repeat.
With the basic technique, gradually increase your time as you become stronger. Proper form is important. Keep your head and chest up with your eyes looking straight ahead. Squats can be hard on your knees. To avoid undue stress to your knees, keep them aligned with your ankles and avoid bouncing at the bottom of the squat. With the two-ball variation, inhale as you lower into a squat and exhale as you stand. Roll up and down the wall until you can no longer hold the squat for five seconds or when your muscles become fatigued. If you experience any pain in your knees or lower back, stop and consult your doctor.
- Thomas Northcut/Photodisc/Getty Images