The gracilis is a long, thin muscle that runs along the inside of your thigh. Along with three other muscles near the same location, the gracilis helps adduct your thigh at the hip joint, moving it toward and across the center of your body. Perform stretching and strengthening exercises that target the gracilis regularly to help keep the muscle healthy and strong.
Lying Groin Stretch
Stretching the gracilis both statically and dynamically can help the muscle function effectively and may help prevent injuries. The lying groin stretch is of the static variety. Lie on your back with your legs extended vertically above your waist, placing your buttocks and the back of your legs flat against a wall. Move your legs away from each other, sliding them along the wall, until you feel a gentle stretch through the inside of your thighs. Hold this position for 10 to 30 seconds, then slide your legs back together and relax. Repeat the stretch multiple times.
Walking Knee-Over-Hurdle Exercise
The walking knee-over-hurdle exercise is a dynamic stretch that targets the gracilis muscle. Stand upright with your feet about 6 inches apart, your toes pointed forward and your hands together behind your back. Lift your left foot and draw your knee toward your chest, then kick your knee sideways until your thigh is parallel to the floor, allowing your torso to tilt slightly in the opposite direction. Hold this position briefly, then move your knee forward as if you're stepping over a hurdle, and return your foot to the floor. Perform the same movement with your right leg and continue alternating sides, trying to lift your knee slightly higher with each repetition.
Isometric Butterfly Exercise
The gracilis muscle contracts statically -- without shortening and lengthening repeatedly -- when you perform the isometric butterfly exercise, which helps strengthen the muscle at whatever position you hold the contraction. Lie on your back, flex your knees and bring the bottoms of your feet together on the floor, a few inches in front of your torso. Have a partner kneel in front of you and place his hands on the insides of your knees, then press into them for at least five seconds. Tell him to resist so no movement actually occurs. Perform the exercise with your legs positioned at multiple angles.
Seated Hip-Adduction Exercise
Perform the seated hip-adduction exercise on a weight machine that is designed specifically for the exercise, which includes a reclined chair and two padded platforms for your legs that are attached to a stack of weights. Set the platforms at your desired width, then sit on the chair and place your legs on them with your toes pointed upward. Hold the sides of the chair to secure your torso, then press the platforms together in front of your body to lift the weights. Spread your legs back apart slowly to lower the weights, then repeat.