Day-to-day travel and most sports involve an often forgotten leg muscle group: adductors. Too weak and too stiff adductor muscles can cause annoying pain. Here is a stretching routine to soften its adductors.
Where are the adductors?
The adductors are a set of five muscles located at the level of the lower limbs, in the internal compartment of the thigh: the long adductor, the short adductor, the great adductor, the slender and the pectiné. When they contract, the legs move closer to each other; this phenomenon is called "thigh adduction". And when they stretch, the legs move apart from each other; this is called "abduction". They also allow internal and external rotation of the thigh and help to balance the pelvis. Adductors are muscles used in numerous movements such as lateral movements.
Adductors, fragile muscles
Often overlooked in muscle building, the adductor muscles are often poorly developed and lack strength. By forcing them to contract harder and more often to effectively perform a movement, pain or muscle contracture may appear.
No longer fulfilling their function properly, too weak adductors expose us, among other things, to a risk of knee sprain, while their stiffness can lead to other injuries: from simple inflammation to rupture, via the elongation, breakdown or tearing. Hence the importance of not only strengthening but also stretching these muscles through specific stretching and strengthening exercises.
My stretching routine to soften my adductors
If, after your sports training, you think about stretching your quadriceps and hamstrings, adductors are very often the big forgotten in the stretching session.
Some stretching guidelines:
- Stretch gently, gradually, and never force, or you may injure yourself.
- Breathe slowly and deeply, to oxygenate your muscles.
- Listen to your body. If you are in pain, this is not normal!
- Allow about 30 seconds for each stretching posture. Then release and start again.
- Drink it! Your body needs to hydrate before, during and after exercise.
Standing adductor stretching exercise
Starting position: Standing, spread your legs about a meter. Right bust, bend your left leg keeping your foot on the ground and straighten your right leg, toes off.
Movement : Inhale. On exhalation, lower your hips to the floor, keeping your right leg straight. Accompany with breathing, hold the position for 30 seconds and let the muscle relax. Release the position and repeat the operation, before changing sides.
Adductor stretching exercise: the open angle
Starting position: Sit on the ground, legs outstretched, move your legs apart from each other. Keep your chest straight: for this, do not hesitate to place a rolled up cushion or towel under your pelvis in order to gain comfort for your back and hips.
Movement : Inhale, and on exhalation, tilt the chest forward. Accompany with breathing, hold the position for 30 seconds and let the adductors relax. Release the position and repeat the operation.
Option: If the stretch is too intense or you cannot keep your chest straight, place your hands behind the glutes and push the pelvis slightly forward.
Variant: the open side angle
Starting position: Sitting on the floor, spread your legs straight. Keep the bust straight; little tip: by positioning a cushion or a folded towel under your pelvis, the position will prove more comfortable for your back and hips. Bend the left leg, foot inside the right thigh. The right leg remains stretched.
Movement : Inhale, and on exhalation, tilt the chest toward your outstretched leg. The left arm rises to the sky to take advantage of the waist stretch; place your right hand on the thigh or shin, depending on your flexibility. Accompany with breathing, stay in the 30 second position and let the right adductor relax. Release and start again, before changing sides. This stretch also softens the hamstring.
Adductor Stretching Exercise: The Seated Butterfly
Starting position: Sit on the ground, place your soles against each other, knees open to the outside. Keep your back straight, to help you, you can place a cushion or a towel rolled up under the buttocks, to gain comfort. Place your hands on your ankles.
Movement : Inhale, then on the exhalation, tilt the bust (not the head) towards your feet, keeping your back as straight as possible. Accompany the breath, and stay in this position for 30 seconds. Then let the inner thigh muscles relax. Release the position and repeat the operation.
As in yoga, the posture of the happy baby
Starting position: Lie on the floor, inhale and grab your feet or the back of your knees (depending on your flexibility) with your hands.
Movement : Exhale. Release the knees on the outside towards the bust and let the back spread out on the mat. Accompany with breathing, hold the posture for about 30 seconds and let the adductor muscles relax. Release and try again.
The pose of the child
Starting position: Sitting on heels, legs apart. Place your bust on the floor, between your knees, and your forehead on the mat.
Movement : Inhale, let the back ribs open. Exhale, release your hips to the floor. Accompanied by breathing, hold the position for 30 seconds to 1 minute and let the whole body relax in this pleasant posture.
Pubalgia, a common inflammation of the adductors
Adductor injuries are common in athletes. But be aware that they are not just for footballers and judokas. Runners can also notice pain in the pubic area, at the insertion of the abs and adductors. With wiper syndrome (fascia lata tensor tendonitis, also known as TFL), pubalgia is a very common inflammation in runneu.r.se.s and other sporti.f.ve. s. In the event of inflammation in this region of the pelvis, consult a health professional (sports doctor and / or physiotherapist) without delay.
In prevention, here is an exercise to integrate into your training routine to strengthen your adductors as well as your abs.
Starting position: Lying on the floor, column stretched, bend your knees and put your feet flat on the floor. Place a small gym ball between your knees.
Movement : Inhale, on exhalation, engage the pelvic floor (a set of deep pelvis muscles that includes the perineum) as well as the abdominals, and squeeze the ball with your knees. Do the exercise 10 to 12 times. Muscles used: Deep abs and adductors.
Additional difficulty: Inhale, take off the pelvis from the ground, the horn forming a straight line. Exhale, press the ball, with the center of the body engaged. Inhale, replace the basin on the ground.
Muscles used: Deep abs, adductors, hamstrings and glutes.
Your bibliography to go further
- For more stretching, find many movements in the work of Elodie Sillaro, sports coach, Stretching Express, Amphora Editions. € 9.95 on the Fnac website.