Having optimal mobility in your hip adductors can increase the range of motion your hips can move and reduce your risk of straining these muscles. A review published in the 2009 issue of "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" states that there is a strong correlation between a lack of hip adductor flexibility and an increase risk of hip injuries among soccer players and other athletes. If you engage in any kind of sport or gym activity, it is to your benefit to incorporate stretches for adductor muscles into your workout.
Your adductors comprise most of the muscles of your inner thighs, including the gracilis, adductor magnus and minimus, adductor longus and brevis, and pectineus. Functionally, these muscles don't do a lot of actual adduction. Because most of the adductor muscles attach from the bottom and front of the lower pelvic bone to the back of your femur, they assist in extending and stabilizing the hips and legs when you walk or run, according to certified fitness coach Lisa Bonang. When you stretch your adductors, incorporate hip extension, flexion and rotation to the standard adductor stretches.
Static Vs. Dynamic
Static stretching and dynamic stretching should be performed during different parts of your workout. Static stretching involves holding a muscle stretch for 20 to 30 seconds while dynamic stretching involves moving your hip adductors within your range of motion repetitively. Although some schools of thought still advocate stretching before you train, studies have shown that dynamic stretching works best to improve performance, while static stretching may actually hinder it. Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that subjects who performed dynamic stretching exercises showed improvements in their leg strength and power, while those who just did static stretching had no positive or negative changes in their strength and power.
Static and dynamic stretches can be performed in the kneeling or standing position, or on the floor. Static stretches include the seated groin stretch, lying groin stretch and kneeling or standing hip flexor stretch. In these stretches, your legs and hips are spread apart and the position is held for 20 to 30 seconds. This method is ideal for recovery after your workout to enhance relaxation. Use dynamic stretching to get your body warmed up before your workout, including front and lateral leg swings, clockwork lunges and lateral lunges. Develop a steady rhythm to control the speed and range of motion. As your body warms up, increase the distance between your feet in the lunges or the range of motion in the swings. Don't stretch too fast or too much. Doing so can cause a painful stretch reflex in which your muscles and tissues quickly contract to protect themselves from overstretching, which can cause your adductors to become tighter and less responsive to stretching.
Rather than randomly perform several adductor stretches, pick the ones that are similar to how you move in the sport or recreational activity that you play. For example, if you run or play tennis, do adductor stretches that are in a standing position rather than in a seated or supine position. Likewise, wrestlers and break dancers would most likely benefit more from doing stretches on the floor than in a standing position. This is based on the SAID principle, which stands for "specific adaptation to imposed demand." It states that your body gets better and adapts to specifically what it's trained to do. A study published in the April 2013 issue of "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" showed that men who performed passive or assisted hip and leg stretching exercises for six weeks had no improvement in the functional tests, such as lunges and trunk twists. Researchers concluded that improved hip flexibility does not carryover to functional movement patterns.
- IDEA Fitness Journal: Stretching -- A Research Retrospective
- Bonang Athletic Performance: Training the Groin – What You Don’t Know, But You Should! Part I
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Hip Adductors' Strength, Flexibility, and Injury Risk
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: A Dynamic Warm-Up Model Increases Quadriceps Strength and Hamstring Flexibility
- NeuroSoma.com: The Stretch Reflex Mechanism
- KenHub.com: The Hip Adductors
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Improvements in Hip Flexibility Do Not Transfer to Mobility in Functional Movement Patterns
- Better Movement: The SAID Principle