Have you ever pulled or strained your groin? Or maybe you’ve simply felt burning along your inner thighs? These are all indications that you may have injured adductors.
Most people neglect this lesser known group of muscles. Yet by doing this you could be setting yourself up for further injury, discomfort and pain sometime in the future. It’s important to pay your adductors the attention they need.
In this complete guide to adductor stretching techniques, you’ll discover how to take care of your body through a variety of handy activities. While some of the methods also function as a lower back or hip stretch, the focus is on adductors. For an overview of the article, check out the table of contents complete with quick links for if you want to skip ahead to a specific exercise.
What are adductor muscles?
Adductor or groin muscles, are the group of primary muscles located in the area of your inner thighs.
Adductors are attached to both the pelvis and femur (the thigh bone) at various points.
The job of adductors is to help pull the thigh in towards the body. This shouldn’t be confused with abductor muscles which function to push the thigh away from the body.
Adductor muscle group breakdown
This muscle is short and flat and sits at the front of the hip and pubic bone near the pelvic girdle.
This originates at the pubic bone as well and is a deep muscle on the underside of the femur.
The adductor longus is the most anterior of the group, meaning it’s the one most in front.
The adductor magnus is the largest muscle of the group.
This muscle functions much like a strap along the thigh’s inside.
The Top 10 Adductor Stretches:
Sitting, standing, with equipment, without equipment… There are all different types of adductor exercises. Some take a few minutes and others can be completed in 30 seconds but all can work wonders in their own way.
For the adductors release you’ll need a foam roller.
Face down on the floor and place the roller under your inner thigh. Then, using the weight of your body, roll from the top of your knee inwards towards your thigh. Slide back and forth slowly over the course of 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat the process of sliding back and forth on the other leg.
If you notice spots that are tight, then stay on that spot for a second or two more and apply pressure against the roller.
This exercise can also be used with a massage ball instead of a foam roller or utilising a bench. There are even custom adductor stretch blocks available from specialist exercise stores as well.
General Adductors Stretch
In this activity, you’ll engage all of the adductors generally.
Spread your feet wider than your shoulders and step forwards with your left foot. Ensure your pelvis is in posterior tilt. Move gently in the direction of your forward foot, bending your knee and applying weight onto the foot. Do this gently and as deep as you need to in order to feel the adductors along your inner thigh stretch. Then swap sides, this time bending your right knee out and repeat the exercise.
Make sure to keep your other leg straight: don’t bend the right knee or lift your left foot! (Or vice versa when repeating the exercise.)
In this technique you need to get down on your knees and lean forwards with your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders. Keep your knees below the hips. Once in position, slowly ease your right and left knee out to the side.
Move your knees out further and further until you can feel the stretch. While the extent to which you can complete this exercise will depend on your flexibility, take care not to push yourself too hard. You’ll improve over time by continually and consistently doing the frog stretch.
For this technique, sit with your legs split out in front of you. Keep your toes pointed up and the soles of your feet pointed out. Your lower back should be straight and your spine should be long.
Gently ease your outstretched arms forward across the ground as far as you can to feel the stretch in your adductors or attempt to touch as far down your leg towards your toes as much as you can.
The pancake will focus on the stretching of your long adductor muscles.
The gracilis stretch starts in the same position as the pancake one, but instead of having your feet spread out, bend your knees and sit with your feet together in front of you, sole to sole.
This time gently ease your body and back down and your chest towards your toes. Use your elbows and push your legs out and your knees down.
Be gentle and go slowly, as far as you can until you feel the pull along your inner thighs.
Standing Lateral Stretch
Similar to the general adductors exercise, the standing lateral move doesn’t require you get down on the floor. Simply stand in a wide stance with your feet not too close that it will impact your ability to stretch and keep your back straight.
Bend one knee and slide your hips to that side until you feel the pulling sensation on the opposite side’s inner thigh. Hold this for a few moments and then slowly return to your standing position.
Repeat this a few times and then swap sides and do it again.
Side Leg Raises
In this activity you simply lie on your side, back straight, and stick your legs out. Use your hand or a cushion under your head and raise your leg as high as you can.
Lift your leg slowly so as not to overly strain or pull anything. Hold the position of your leg in the air for a few seconds. Repeat this side leg stretch 10 or so times and then swap sides.
The wide squat is a popular stretch for its ease and simplicity.
Stand in a wide stance and ensure your feet are wider than your hips. Slowly lower your body down by bending your legs until you can feel your adductor muscles being engaged. Then return to the starting position and repeat a few times over.
This stretch can also be done using a resistance band.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do you loosen tight adductors?
Regular, consistent adductor stretches are an excellent way of loosening tight adductor muscles and improving flexibility, mobility and strength. We recommend you try the Adductors Release as a starting stretch before moving on to our other Top 8 Stretches above. When beginning these exercises, start with brief sessions of 30 seconds or so.
What happens when your adductors are tight?
Tight muscles can be uncomfortable or painful. They may restrict your movement and motion, and sometimes even your balance. Tight muscles can occur when they are strained suddenly or too far, often while playing sport or exercising. To help prevent this, always warm up before playing sport.
How do you tell if you have tight adductors?
If the muscles along your inner thighs feel tight, are painful or simply feeling uncomfortable you could have tight muscles. Experiencing more difficulty than usual stretching or moving is also a symptom.
How do you stretch your inner thigh tightness?
There are a lot of activities and lunge-like exercises to help you with your inner thigh tightness and exercises that function to stretch hips and lower backs. Have a read of our comprehensive guide to the top 8 stretches for adductor muscles.
Whether you’re looking to prevent injury, improve flexibility or simply strengthen your adductor muscles we’re sure you’ll find one or more stretches that’ll work wonders for your health and wellness.
Take care to not strain yourself too hard during your workout. Remember: if you experience serious or persistent pain, it’s important you seek medical attention.