Adductor release exercises can be crucial in building and maintaining long term mobility through the hips. Tight adductors can impair hip range of motion, making common movements and exercises like squatting, lunging and even walking uncomfortable or unattainable. They can also lead to chronic hip and lower back pain.
As such, adductor stretches and mobility routines often form a cornerstone of rehab programmes for the hips and lower back.
They should also form a large component of your regular mobility drills. If you perform them just once or twice a week, you will be saving yourself a lot of grief later on. You will also find your ability to squat deeply will be improved, as will your ability to maintain good posture and form under load. Your lower body strength movements will all improve accordingly.
Here are some common adductor release and mobility exercises for you to try out.
Adductor Release Stretches And Exercises
Adductor lunge stretch
Let’s begin with the basics. Hip flexion and abduction can be very badly impaired by tight adductor muscles, especially the adductor magnus. The adductor lunge is a perfect stretch to either improve or restore this motion, or to prevent it from tightening in the first place. It should form a staple static stretch at the end of any lower body training session.
You may want an exercise or yoga mat for this. As you’re kneeling on the ground, you may additionally want a pillow.
To perform the adductor lunge stretch:
- Begin kneeling on the floor in a lunge position, with one knee out in front.
- Bend your trunk forwards, bringing the outside of your shoulder towards the inside of your lead knee.
- From here, lunge forwards, pushing your hips into the motion.
- This should give you a stretch along the inside of your forward leg and along the hip of the rear leg.
- Hold for 30-60 seconds on each side.
Standing lateral lunge
The lateral lunge is another perfect classic adductor stretch. It’s easy to perform, can be done anywhere, from standing, and takes no equipment. This means both that you can perform it workouts, after a long run, or simply wherever you are, several times throughout the day.
To perform the standing lateral lunge:
- Begin in a standing position with a wide stance. Not going wide enough will leave your adductors out of it. You want to bring pretty much all of the slack out of them so that minimal movement will elicit a stretch response.
- From here, hold a posterior pelvic tilt and brace your core. This will stop your tight adductors from pulling your pelvis out of position.
- Then, when you’re comfortable with your starting position, bend one knee and slide the hips over to that side, creating a stretch on the inside of the opposite thigh.
- Hold the stretch for a breath and then switch sides. Repeat on each side 10 times.
- Alternatively, for a dynamic warm up before training, don’t hold the stretch. Go into position fluidly, then fluidly come out of it and change sides, pushing a little farther each time.
Adductor roller release
Though there is a fair amount of debate over the efficacy of self-myofascial release, it does appear to improve mobility. Many athletes have experienced benefits from performing them, using either foam rollers, lacrosse balls or massage sticks, or a mixture thereof. Results seem to be best when used in conjunction with large range of motion exercises, regular mobility work and stretching.
Let’s look at how to use a foam roller. It’s far less intense than using a lacrosse ball or massage stick, is far easier to get right, and is thus far more accessible to most people, at least at first. Use a foam roller for self-myofascial release in your adductors either pre-training, on recovery days, or as part of a regular mobility drill.
To do so:
- You will need a foam roller, obviously, and either a yoga mat or comfortable surface on which to perform the exercise.
- Begin on the ground. Flex one leg to the side and bring your opposite inner thigh to rest on a foam roller. Try to keep yourself relaxed throughout, especially through your leg muscles, to enable the roller to sink into the deeper tissue.
- Roll yourself back and forth along the roller, so that the roller moves up and down along the inner thigh. Move slowly, really taking your time, and pay particular attention to any particularly tight or sore spots.
- This should take a minute or two, though feel free to go for as long as needed or comfortable. Repeat on both sides.
Once you’ve got comfortable with this, try using a lacrosse ball. It will penetrate into the deep tissue more effectively. Beware, though- it will elicit an incredibly intense sensation.
Adductor AIS release
Active Isolated Stretching (AIS- in which the contraction of opposing muscles groups in combination with passive assistance is used to achieve a deeper stretch) is perfect for adductor release, especially where they are overly tight and the glutes are weak.
To perform an AIS adductor stretch:
- Lie on the floor with a strap around the foot, holding the other end of the strap in one hand.
- Actively slide the foot outwards- don’t lift the foot off the ground at all, as this will cause the hip flexors to contract.
- When you reach the end of your range of motion, gently pull the foot out further using the strap. Move slowly and very carefully, here.
- This should cause a stretch in the adductors and a contraction in the abductors.
- Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side.