Aside from a groin stretch or two, adductors tend to be the most neglected component of training for most individuals, including high level athletes. A majority of the big lifts (Olympic lifts, squats, deadlifts, leg press, etc.) activate the adductors to assist the primary movers. They are rarely the target muscles. Yet these muscles still need attention outside the squats and deadlifts no matter what the individual is training for.
The adductors consist of a group of 5 muscles (Adductor Brevis, Longus, Magnus, Pectineus, and Gracilis) with the primary action of, you guess it, hip adduction. In other words, it brings your leg back to the midline of the body. If we lived in a world that only consisted of moving forward and back, then we wouldn’t really need to spend much time on this muscle group but that’s not the case. We live, compete, and function in 360 degrees, all the time.
These muscles do so much more than you realize. Think of these muscles as the interior walls of a house. Sure, the exterior and roof can still be put up and they might last a little while but what would happen if a strong gust of wind came along… the house would probably collapse inward because there was no structural integrity to the building.
These 5 muscles have an important relationship with the pelvis and in case you didn’t know, the pelvis is where the lower body and upper body connect. These key players assist not only with internal and external rotation of the hip, hip flexion, and hip extension but they allow the spine to articulate freely. Like with any supportive muscle, it is impossible to know how much they’re involved until they’re taken away from you. Those of you that have experienced a groin injury and tried to sit down know exactly what I’m referring to.
Neglecting to keep this muscle group strong and limber can cause changes in how you move and how you adapt to training, resulting in decreased muscle development, athletic performance and increases your risk of injury due to muscle imbalances and flexibility limitations. So, if you’re a professional athlete or a weekend warrior or just looking to get toned up a little bit then you must take action immediately. Don’t rely on the big compound movements like squats, deadlifts, lunges to develop your inner thighs but instead go with adductor specific exercises set up in a way that guarantees results. Stretching and strengthening these muscles is not complicated but it is scientific and cannot be randomized or approached lightly.
So, if you want to stay healthy, look your best, or perform like a world-class athlete then you must give this muscle group what it needs.