Your adductor muscles extend from the lower part of your pelvis to various parts of the femur and inner knee. Although these muscles work together to adduct your legs -- or move your legs closer to the midline of your body, they also assist your legs and hips in flexion and extension and stabilize the pelvis and legs when you move. The type of stretching you do to improve the adductors' mobility depends on the sports you play and the activities you take part in.
Static vs. Dynamic Stretching
Old-school fitness handouts may tell you to stretch before you exercise, but this advice can decrease your exercise performance. A study published in the "Scandanavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports" in 2010 showed that participants who performed static stretching -- holding a stretch for 20 to 30 seconds -- had a 5.4 percent decrease in their strength before they exercised. In another study published in the "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" in 2005, participants who performed static stretching before exercising showed no improvement in leg extension power. However, those who performed dynamic stretching -- moving your muscles and joints within their full range of motion repetitively -- improved their leg extension power. This concept can be applied to any muscle group in your body, including your adductors. Therefore, you should perform dynamic stretching before a workout, which stimulates your nervous system to activate your muscles. Save static stretching for after your workout.
Stretching on the floor places less pressure on your spine and hips and allows you to relax more, especially if you're in the supine position. Although most stretches in this position focus more on hip abduction -- moving away from the midline of your body -- rather than adduction, there are a few stretches you can do to work on hip adduction. For static stretching, lie supine on the floor with your left outer knee touching the doorway. Raise your right leg up to about 90 degrees without moving your left leg and bring your right heel to rest against the edge of the doorway. As you hold the stretch, flex your toes toward your face and turn your knee out and away from you slightly, emphasizing the stretch in your adductors. For dynamic stretching, lie supine on the floor and put your feet together. Bend your knees, bringing your heels close to your groin. Inhale as you bring your knees up and in and exhale as you lower your knees toward the floor.
Dynamic stretching in the standing position provides a quick way to loosen up your hips and legs while stretching your adductors. The lateral leg swing is one such exercise that works on core stability in your torso while working on your hips' range of motion. With your hands against a wall for support, swing one leg side to the side in front of you like pendulum, but without excessive torso rotation. Static stretching with hip adduction can be performed by putting one leg up on a table and moving your leg toward the center of your body until you feel a stretch in your butt.
Be Specific With Your Stretches
To improve your athletic performance and reduce your risk of injury, choose adduction stretches that closely mimic that movement patterns for your particular sport or activity. This concept is based on the SAID principle -- specific adaptation to imposed demands -- which states that "your body will adapt specifically to whatever you train it to do," according to physical therapist Tony Ingram. If you have good range of motion in adduction from a supine position, it doesn't mean that you will also have the same amount of flexibility in the standing position. Therefore, runners and ballet dancers should perform hip-adduction stretches in a standing position, such as leg swings, for their warm-ups,. Likewise, wrestlers and floor gymnasts should perform ground stretches in their warm-ups.
- KenHub: The Hip Adductors
- Scandanavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports: Does Pre-exercise Static Stretching Inhibit Maximal Muscular Performance?
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Effects of Static Stretching for 30 Seconds and Dynamic Stretching on Leg Extension Power
- Exercise Biology: Types of Stretching: Static, Active, Dynamic, PNF & Functional Stretching
- Bboy Science: The S.A.I.D. Principle
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