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,