When it comes to your adductors, or groin muscles, stretching is one of the most common go-to interventions to keep you from straining or pulling your groin. Stretching is one of the tools we use, but how do we strengthen your groin and adductor muscles?
This article will breakdown additional ways to help you strengthen and keep your adductors healthy.
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What Are Adductors
The adductor muscles (inner leg) are a group of 5 muscles that attach to the pelvis. The adductor muscles play a crucial role when it comes to performance, especially for baseball players. The adductors assist with back leg drive, separation, and hip extension. This includes explosive movements such as jumping, sprinting, and throwing.
For example, pitching requires the adductors of your stance leg to eccentrically stabilize while you drive towards the plate. Then the stride leg adductors have to stabilize as you drive your stride foot into the ground and transfer energy from the ground up to the pelvis, torso, and arm. Once you release the ball, your adductors must eccentrically slow your body down.
Slowing down one of the most violent movements in sports like throwing a baseball is a total body movement. When an area of the body is compromised, other locations will pick up the slack such as tendons and ligaments.
How to Stretch Your Adductors
Groin strains often happen with a sudden lengthening of the groin muscles when they are pushed past their limits of range of motion. This can occur in baseball and rotational sports, as well as other sports that involve cutting, reactive and quick stops and starts. Groin injuries are less frequently studied than upper extremity injuries in baseball, but they are still important to consider when training.
Here are a few examples of when this occurs in baseball:
- Pitchers/thrower strides
- Hitter’s back leg movement
- Reaction and drop steps that occur in the field
- Catcher drop and blocks
The Split Stance Adductor is a great stretch for the groin and adductors. This allows the athlete, to find their available range of motion and work within that range. This stretch allows athletes to maintain the length needed in their adductors to keep performing at a high level on the field while reducing injury risk.
Improve Rotational Power
The adductors play a huge role when it comes to rotating the hips. Transferring kinetic energy from your lower half to upper half will help lead to more potential velocity and power to your swing.
This shuffle is focused on bringing as much speed and momentum as possible into the Med Ball Scoop. We still want to stay loaded onto your back hip to allow your adductors to lengthen. This will help create more force into your rotation and get good separation from the upper half and lower half.
This “separation” works together to transfer force between the upper and lower body. This is why you see elite athletes, such as baseball hitters or tennis players, rotate explosively through their hips and torso when making contact with a ball.
This med ball rotation exercise specifically targets your ability to powerfully rotate, which is needed for several sports skills, including hitting, throwing and changing directions.
Lateral Force Production
Adding bands to some of your jumps, like lateral bounds are a great way to increase your force production. The lateral bound is a great measure of pure power output in the frontal plane and developing power from your groin and adductors. The lateral bound is often tested inside gyms, combines, and athlete intakes.
If you have cranky knees, the band resisted lateral bound also helps decelerate your body at landing.
- Secure a light or thin band to a post, rig, or sturdy surface around waist height.
- Toss the band around your waist, step out to the point where there is some tension on the band and set up in an athletic position.
- Perform a lateral bound
- Walk back to your starting point and repeat.
If you are a beginner, work on your jump mechanics first, and progress into these.
Eccentric Strength Development
Baseball players can experience high amounts of eccentric stress in their adductors. This is more than likely due to the amounts of high intent throws, swings and the quick reactions that occur in games and practices.
Your groin and adductor muscles help you absorb force when changing direction laterally. Seeing as baseball is played mostly in the frontal and transverse planes, you are asking a lot from your groin and adductors!
So how do we gain eccentric strength for your adductors and groin?
The Copenhagen Plank
For those unfamiliar with the Copenhagen Plank, this plank is no joke! For starters, you are getting a great core exercise but on top of that, your adductors are engaged to hold you in that plank position. There is also research supporting the eccentric strength increase while performing the Copenhagen plank.
See the video below for a great demo and breakdown on how to perform and progress the Copenhagen Plank: [H3]
Strengthen Your Adductors
For baseball and rotational athletes, we need to make sure we also have plenty of strength to be able to support the force absorption and production that occur every day in the sport.
The Bottom Hold Lateral Lunge
The bottom hold lateral lunge is a great frontal plane strength exercise you can add into your workouts. I personally like the bottom hold as I feel it allows you to find a good lateral position without trying to wrestle the weight into a goblet. Your arms are allowed to stay long like a deadlift letting you get into a similar hinge position. The bottom hold allows you to load this position more so than a goblet, so the strength aspect is slightly higher in this variation
The Set Up:
- Start by holding the kettlebell or dumbbell underneath you.
- Step laterally and hinge into your landing leg.
- Bring the weight toward the inside of your shoe/foot
- Return back to your starting point and repeat on both sides for the desired reps.
The adductors play a crucial role in athletic performance and development. Yes, we can stretch them, but that is just one piece of the puzzle.
I hope this post helped you learn additional ways to strengthen and support your adductor muscles to help reduce the chance of a groin strain.