A few weeks back I posted an article about the abductor muscles, the muscles that are responsible for moving your leg out from your side and away from the body, hence the name. I thought it would only be fitting to write an article about its antagonist, the adductor muscles.
The adductor muscles are a group of muscles, five to be exact, that are responsible for bringing your leg back to the centre of your body. The five muscles have an origin point of the pelvis, and an insertion point of the medial posterior suface of the femur.
Want to be especially explosive with side to side motion? Increase your running performance? Of course you do! Working your adductors will help with that.
Another benefit of strong adductor muscles is increasing hip mobility which helps in preventing injuries.
With that, let’s get into what can be done to strengthen our adductor muscles.
To work your adductors all you need are fitness bands, and yourself. Technically you don’t even need bands, but it does help. If you think of what adductors do, bringing the leg back to centre, you can probably imagine what you would need to do to work them. Let’s get started.
Sumo Squat: There is a misconception that sumo wrestlers are just fat and out of shape. No so. Yes, they are mostly huge, but very explosive and powerful, with a lot of that power coming from the legs.
Start in a standing position feet a bit wider than your hips, feet rotated outwards a bit to open the hips. Squat down to the point your upper legs are parallel with the ground, or if you can’t make it that low, go as low as you can. Now, bring yourself back up by trying to push the ground away from you. Feel your muscles engage: adductors, glutes, and straighten up until you are almost at the top. To add intensity do not straighten up all the way locking out the legs. Keep a bend in the legs to keep the muscles engaged.
Aim for 3 – 4 sets, 10 – 12 reps a set.
Standing Adductor with Band: Using a band that will give you enough resistance to perform 10 – 12 reps, secure one end around something fixed to the ground such as a squat rack, or anything you can that you are sure won’t move when performing the exercise. Attach the other end around the foot of the leg you are working.
Now move away from the stationary object you have the band secured to until you have a good amount of tension. You are going to do this exercise exactly the way adductors function, bringing your leg back next to the other leg while under tension. Do this using a full range of motion and the tension being at the point where you are struggling a bit to bring the leg back 100%.
Do one side 10 – 12 reps, then do the other side. Try to get in 3 – 4 sets, one set being both legs.
Side Adduction: With this one, you’ll be in a similar position as to when you are doing side planks. Start on your side like a side plank but with your hips on the floor, your head resting on your arm which is on the floor also. Kind of like you are having a nap. The other arm should be in front of you, bent at the elbow, forearm just below your chest, resting the palm of the hand on the floor. This helps to keep you stable as you do the exercise. Now, take the leg that isn’t touching the ground (the top most leg) and bending at the knee, bring the foot closer to your bum. Place the foot on the ground in front of the knee of the leg that is against the floor. At this point you should look like you are ready for a nap, the upper leg bent at almost 90-degrees with that foot in front of the knee of the lower leg. Here comes the work.
Bring the lower leg up as high as you can. If you think about the motion needed to work the adductors, this is what we are doing. When bringing the leg back down, don’t let it rest on the floor. Keep it just above the floor keeping the resistance on the muscles. Using your full range of motion, squeeze out 10 – 12 reps, then do the other side. Repeat for 3 – 4 sets, each set being both legs.
If you have not worked your adductors in a while, or are at the beginning stage of exercising, don’t go too hard with these. Don’t overextend yourself trying to get as much range as possible. You’ll get there eventually, but let’s be safe until the experience is there. Nothing worse than having to walk with an extremely sore groin.
Give these exercises a try. I am a proponent of full body exercises such as squats, pull-ups, where you are working many muscles during the exercise, but it’s always a good idea to isolate and work those muscles every so often.
Yours in health,