The quads, hamstrings, and glute muscles should be the focus of your leg training because training them will give you the most bang for your exercise buck. But there is one muscle group that is neglected from the usual leg day workout; the adductor muscles. Adductor exercises are often overlooked when it comes to the normal lower body workout routine but as many professional lifters will tell you when your adductor muscles become sore or tight, they will make their presence felt.
You don’t need to do anything special to target this important muscle group because only small tweaks are needed to mobilize and strengthen the adductors. Here we’ll go into adductor anatomy and function, the benefits of training them, specific warm-up exercises to mobilize them, and 3 great adductor exercises to reduce your chances of picking up the dreaded groin strain.
ANATOMY AND FUNCTION OF THE ADDUCTOR MUSCLES
The adductors or groin muscles are not one muscle but are 5 muscles which are:
- Adductor brevis
- Adductor longus
- Adductor magnus and minimus
These muscles originate in the pubis and ischium bones on the pelvis and insert mainly on the medial posterior surface of the femur. The adductor’s primary role is to adduct the hip and thigh towards the midline.
The adductors are involved in many other lower-body movements including:
- Hip flexion
- Hip external rotation
- Hip extension
- Hip internal rotation
- Knee flexion
The adductors combined with the quads and hips help get you out of the bottom of the squat and keep your knees in line with your toes. Ever felt your inner things after a heavy squat session? Now you know why. Plus, if the adductors are tight or weak it will have performance repercussions because the lack of hip flexion and extension will affect your gym and daily activities, and this is no fun.
BENEFITS OF PERFORMING ADDUCTOR EXERCISES
Strong and mobile adductors are required for a strong extension of the hip and better knee health. Here are three other important benefits of strengthening the adductors.
- Injury Reduction: Focusing on the adductors may reduce your chances of picking up a groin strain. A review in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2015 said that a lack of adductor strength was one of the most common risk factors for straining your groin. (1) So, it pays to pay attention to your inner thighs.
- Better Hip Extension And Flexion: Hip extension and flexion are important functions of the hips. The hips flex and extend during activities such as squatting, deadlifting, and sprinting. If your adductors are tight or weak, you’ll have problems fully flexing and extending your hips. Then you’ll be leaving gains on the gym floor.
- Improve Rotational Power: The adductors play an important role in rotational power because of their ability inwardly and outwardly rotate the hips. If you’re a rotational athlete (golfer, boxer, tennis, or baseball player) or you love training power, you’ll need to train the adductors.
HOW TO WARM UP THE ADDUCTOR MUSCLES
Warming up the lower body will mobilize the adductors because all your lower body muscles work in unison when performing bodyweight exercises such as lunges, hip extensions, and squats. But if your adductors need extra attention due to soreness or tightness, you cannot go past these two moves.
The foam roller adductor roll doesn’t tickle, so let pain guide you here. Apply less or more pressure as your pain levels permit. Doing 10 rolls of this works well before training.
Don’t mistake more is better with the adductor rock back. Overstretching the adductors may 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 the next rep. Doing 8-10 reps as part of your warm-up will mobilize this important area.
3 ADDUCTOR EXERCISES FOR STRENGTH AND MOBILITY
You don’t need to do any special to train the adductors, just a few slight modifications to exercises that should make up a part of your routine. Here are three exercises to strengthen and mobilize your adductors, to give them the attention they deserve.