The quads, hamstrings and glutes should be the focus of your leg workouts because training them will give you the most bang for your buck. But there is one muscle group that is neglected in standard leg training; the adductor muscles. Adductor exercises are often overlooked when it comes to regular lower body training, but as many professional lifters will tell you, if your adductor muscles are sore or tight, they will make themselves known.
You don't have to do anything special to target this important muscle group, as only small movements are needed to mobilize and strengthen the adductors. Here we go over the anatomy and function of the adductors, the benefits of training, specific warm-ups to mobilize them, and 3 great adductor exercises to decrease your chances of getting that dreaded groin strain.
ANATOMY AND FUNCTION OF THE ADUCTOR MUSCLES
The adductors or groin muscles are not one muscle but 5 muscles which are:
- adductor brevis
- adductor longus
- Adductor magnus and minimus
These muscles originate in the pubic and ischial bones of the pelvis and insert primarily on the medial posterior surface of the femur. The primary role of the adductor is to adduct the hip and thigh toward the midline.
The adductors are involved in many other lower body movements, including:
- hip flexion
- external rotation of the hip
- hip extension
- internal rotation of the hip
- knee flexion
The adductors combined with the quads and hips will help you get off the bottom of the squat and keep your knees aligned with your toes. Have you ever felt your inner things after a heavy squat session? w you know why. Additionally, if the adductors are tight or weak, it impacts performance as the lack of hip flexion and extension interferes with your gym and daily activities, and it's no fun.
BENEFITS OF PERFORMING ADUCTOR EXERCISE
Strong and flexible adductors are required for strong hip extension and better knee health. Here are three other key benefits of strengthening your adductors.
- Injury Reduction: Focusing on the adductors can reduce your chances of a groin strain. A 2015 review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine states that a lack of adductor strength is one of the most common risk factors for a groin strain. (1) So it pays to take care of your inner thighs.
- Better hip extension and flexion: Hip extension and flexion are important functions of the hip. The hips flex and extend during activities like squats, deadlifts, and sprints. When your adductors are tight or weak, you have trouble fully flexing and extending your hips. Then leave profits on the gym floor.
- Improve rotational power: The adductors play an important role in rotational strength due to their ability to rotate the hips in and out. If you're a rotary athlete (golfer, boxer, tennis, or baseball player) or love strength training, you need to work your adductors.
HOW TO WARM UP THE ADUCTOR MUSCLES
Warming up the lower body mobilizes the adductors as all of your lower body muscles work in unison when you perform bodyweight exercises like lunges, hip extensions, and squats. But if your adductors need extra attention due to pain or tightness, you can't go beyond these two movements.
The foam roller adductor roller doesn't tickle, so let pain be your guide here. Apply less or more pressure as your pain level allows. 10 rolls of these work well before a workout.
Don't confuse more is better with the adductor rock back. Hyperextending the adductors can round the lower back, so keep it in a ROM you can control. When you feel a stretch, stop, return to the starting position, and try to get a little deeper on the next rep. Doing 8-10 reps as part of your warm-up will mobilize this important area.
3 ADUCTOR EXERCISES FOR STRENGTH AND MOBILITY
You don't have to do anything special to work the adductors, just a few slight changes to exercises that should be part of your routine. Here are three exercises to strengthen and mobilize your adductors to give them the attention they deserve.