After working out at the gym, the last thing you want to leave with is a pulled muscle. One of the major ways to avoid a strained muscle is to take the time to stretch. Stretching your adductors, or inside thigh muscles, will not only help reduce your risk of a strain, but also your risk of a knee injury. You can perform adductor stretches standing, seated or lying on your back.
If you’re not comfortable getting down on the floor to stretch, an adductor lunge stretch and a standing spread or straddle are options to consider. For the adductor lunge stretch, think of yourself as a speed skater. Stand with your feet wider than your shoulders and toes pointed straight ahead. Bend one knee and lean forward slightly from the waist. Keep your back straight by pulling in your abdominal muscles. You’ll feel an inside stretch in your straight leg. After holding, reverse the stretch by sliding over as a speed skater would, bending the other knee as you straighten the leg that was previously bent. For the standing spread or straddle, straighten both legs in a wide stance, lean forward, and reach toward the floor.
Two options for stretching your adductor muscles in a seated position on the floor include the butterfly and the straddle. For the butterfly stretch, bring the soles of your feet together in front of your body. Open up your knees and gently lean forward. For a seated straddle stretch, straighten your legs wide apart in front of you on the floor, lean forward from your hips without rounding your back, and reach your hands out on the floor in front of you.
If you prefer stretching while lying on your back, try either the Dead Bug pose or Legs Up the Wall pose, two stretches commonly taught in yoga. For the Dead Bug pose, lie on your back and bring your knees gently to your chest. Flex your feet and hook your index fingers around your big toes. Gently pull your legs open with your hands, drawing your knees and elbows toward the ground. For the Legs Up the Wall pose, position yourself close to a wall, straighten your legs up along the wall, and open them wide. Your hips should be close to or up against the wall; your upper body and head stay on the ground. If you don’t have a wall nearby, use your hands to support your legs or place your hands under your hips to support your low back.
Check with your doctor or health-care provider before starting any stretching program. If you’ve never done adductor stretches before, working with a personal trainer the first time or two will help you learn how to do these and other adductor stretches properly. Stretch when your body is warm -- ideally both before your workout, after doing a few minutes of light exercise such as marching or jogging in place, and after your workout. Hold each stretch for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat two to four times.
- American College of Sports Medicine: Basic Knee Injury Prevention
- Beth Shaw's Yogafit, 2nd Edition; Beth Shaw
- Fitness Theory and Practice, 2nd Edition; Aerobics and Fitness Association of America
- International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy: Current Concepts in Muscle Stretching for Exercise and Rehabilitation
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