In pilates, your inner thighs really get a workout because they are actually part of your core. They are just as important to connecting to your midline as your abdominals are.
Here are some exercises on the mat and on the equipment, that can be easier, smoother, and felt more deeply when using and thinking about your inner thighs.
Using the Magic Circle is a great way to help "find" the strength in the inner thighs, and to feel how the inner thighs pressing together actually helps to deepen the abdominal connection.
Many exercises can be done with the magic circle placed between the ankles or inner thighs. The magic circle is great because it can be used in a mat class or at home. There are many, many possible exercises with the magic circle!
If you have problems balancing with your legs up and out in exercises like the Teaser and Open Leg Rocker , try practicing with a Magic Circle between your ankles. Use your inner thighs to hug the circle, and imagine that its your abdominals holding the circle up there, not the front thighs. Then, take the circle away. Use your imagination in the same ways as if the circle was there, and you should see and feel more control over the exercise.
Horseback is easier to do when focusing on pressing the inner thighs into the box/chair/barrel and turning in slightly with the legs.
In Going Up Front/Side on the Chair, think of bringing the inner thighs together as your body and the mid-line moves up, even though your inner thighs are not actually parallel to each other. You can almost imagine a Magic Circle in between your inner thighs that you are squeezing as you grow up, up, up through the top of your head.
During Side Splits on the reformer, your inner thighs move together to bring the carriage in, as the midline moves upward, similar to Going Up on the chair. To keep the carriage from crashing in, imagine your upper most inner thighs drawing upward, not just together.
There is a Side Kicks exercise on the mat, when the top leg is bent in front of the body and resting on the mat, while the bottom leg lifts and lowers. The bottom leg can also make circles. Its important that you do not use your foot, or your inner knee, to lift the weight of the leg. If you see your inner foot turning up with your ankle bent funnily, then you are using your foot to do the work.
You should use your upper-most inner thigh to lift the leg, and to control the lowering. If you focus on this idea in your mind, you will really feel the inner thigh working.
Imagine a 10 lb weight resting on your inner thigh that you must lift and lower.
Lastly, Airplane on the tower is an advanced exercise because there are many components to it. If not totally coordinated, your airplane will drop from the sky! Your inner thighs are just waiting to rescue you.
Use the external rotation of your legs to your advantage, and be sure to keep this rotation throughout the movement. After you roll back and shoot your legs up to the sky, wrap the back inner thighs together strongly and stretch them away from your core as they lower to the mat. Don't even think of going down to the mat, think of stretching the inner thighs away, away, away... and your airplane will land safely.