Can Strengthening the Adductor Muscles Help Improve Your Power and Prevent Injury?

Build strong adductors and improve your power, and prevent injury.

adductor workout
Photo by Lena Helfinger on Pexels.com

There are over 650 skeletal muscles in your body. Skeletal muscles are responsible for enabling movement of the body, provides structural support, and maintains posture. Think now if you had to work each muscle separately. Overwhelming isn’t it. Fortunately, when we work out we are working a number of combined muscles, and not individualizing them. For example, when working your quads, you are actually working the 4 individual muscles that make up the quadriceps: Vastus lateralis, Vastus medialis, Vastus intermedius, and Rectus femoris.

But even that can require a lot of time, working all of our muscle groups: upper and lower legs, upper and lower arms, upper and lower core. If you break up the upper core you have shoulders, chest, back. You can take this further: back can be broken out to outer back, inner back, lower back. Shoulders can be separated by delts which can then be broken out to anterior, lateral, and posterior delts. Then you have the Trapezius, Rhomboid major. And of course, you have the 4 muscles that comprise the rotator cuff.

Unless you’re a bodybuilder I wouldn’t delve that deep into your workouts and focus on each small group of muscles that comprise the larger group. I would make one more exception: if you are addressing a muscle imbalance it may require focusing on an individual muscle.

However, having said all that, what if you want to excel at a certain sport. Let’s take cycling as an example. Most cyclists’ legs are disproportionate to the rest of their body. Huge upper legs, strong calf muscles, and a somewhat fit, average-sized torso. It makes sense in that your focus will be training to win. A cyclist’s training will be targeting the muscles that will give them what is needed to win.

So let’s get to the adductors and why you would want to train them if you are a martial artist. Adductors play a role in hip rotation and strong adductors will increase your hip rotational power. If you have a difficult time rotating your hips ahead of your shoulders, you’ll lose power in your strikes. Strong adductors will generate huge amounts of power from the lower body by aiding in internally rotating the hips.

Having strong adductors will provide strong, stable hips and could be the difference in completing a takedown, a sweep, as they play a key role in the ability to generate the power needed to execute these.

Most importantly, in my opinion, is weak adductors = weak, unstable hips which can lead to injury. It’s common for people to think lower back pain is due to spinal issues and end up booking a number of appointments with their chiropractor. Having an unstable pelvis due to weak adductors can lead to injuries in other areas of the body, including the lower back.

So let’s see what can be done to strengthen the adductors:

  • Straight Leg Ball Squeeze: Laying on your back, place your exercise ball between your feet, having your legs straight. Squeeze the ball with your feet and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 6x. Bonus: to strengthen hip flexors, and strengthen your core, while you squeeze the ball raise your legs straight up until vertical and then lower. Do this as you execute each rep.
  • Knee Ball Squeeze: Much like the straight leg ball squeeze, we will be putting our exercise ball between our legs, but this time the ball will be between the knees as we will be on our back, legs bent, feet on the floor. Squeeze the ball with your knees and hold for 15 seconds. Repeat 6x.
  • V Cross Scissors: While sitting on the ground, legs straight, together, and out in front of you, put your arms behind you so you are supporting yourself for when you raise your legs off of the floor to a 30 degree angle. With your legs up, cross them back and forth alternating each time which leg is the upper and which is the lower. When crossing your legs, extend as far as you can to make a big V. If you would like to also work your core, keep your body in a V position without using your arms to support your upper body.

Try to mix in adductor exercises into your weekly routine 2x a week. Having strong adductors will help in your performance and also prevent injuries such as groin pulls.

Yours in health,

Darryl

Stronger, better, more explosive hips

As I mentioned in my last post, Keeping your hips strong, here is the follow up article with additional, more advanced exercises you can do to build stronger hips. Having strong hips help us in many ways as the hip muscles are necessary for almost all the movement that involves the lower body.

Keeping the hips flexible

If you are an athlete, or very active person strong hip muscles are especially important.

the exercises

Supine Position Hip Flex: You’ll need exercise bands for this one. Sit on your floor with your legs together, out in front of you. Now put the band around both feet close to the ankle. Lay on your back, and keeping one leg straight, bring the knee of the other leg towards your chest. Carry out 10 – 12 reps on one side, then switch to the other side. Try to do this for 3 – 4 sets.

If you find this too easy, you need to switch out your band for a more resistant one.

Knees to Chest: For this exercise, you’ll need an exercise ball. I’m going to do my best to explain this exercise so I hope this comes across clear and concise.

Lay on the exercise ball and with your body in the push up position, position yourself on the ball so the ball is right around the knees. Keeping your legs on the ball, bring your knees towards your chest. Now move them back to where you started, flattening out your body. Keep repeating this. It’s kind of like doing mountain climbers on an exercise ball, but both legs move together.

Feel like making this even tougher? Straighten out one leg (kind of like the bird dog position, but only the leg) and carry out the same movement of bringing the knee of the opposite leg to your chest. This is the same movement as above but using only one leg, as the other leg is held out and above the ball. 10 – 12 reps, 3 – 4 sets.

Even tougher? If you want to make this exercise even more challenging, keeping the opposite leg up and off of the ball, bring the knee of the leg on the ball towards your chest. Stop when the leg has a 90 degree bend and when in that position move the leg side to side for about 10 – 12 reps. Now do the same using the other leg. Try to squeeze out 4 sets.

Seated Leg Raise: Sit on the floor and have one leg extended out in front of you, and straight. Bend the other leg bringing the knee towards your chest, hugging the leg to keep it close. With the other leg that is straight, slowly lift it off of the ground and hold for 1 -2 seconds then slowly lower back down to the ground. 10 – 12 reps, then switch sides and do the same. Try doing this for 3 – 4 sets.

finally

These exercises are deceptively hard. Try them out and see what you think. As always, pay close attention to technique as you execute the movements, Don’t rush it either, slow and steady wins the race.

Yours in health,

Darryl