5 Best Adductor Exercises For Hip Strength & Mobility

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Published by James Cunningham, BSc, CPT | Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Last updated: January 4, 2024
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Athletes at large are prone to knee pain and injuries, or groin strain. Regular injuries might indicate that your adductor muscles are weak.

People have tendencies of only a handful of muscles like biceps, triceps, traps, lats, abs, glutes, hammies, and several other muscle groups in their workouts.

In this article, you will learn why you shouldn’t neglect your adductor strength and flexibility. Consequently, you will learn how to improve it safely and efficiently.

As a certified personal trainer, I will suggest some simple adductor exercises to incorporate into your training routine.

Quick Summary

  • To enhance hip strength and mobility, incorporating specific adductor exercises such as side lunges and cable adductions is essential.
  • The article emphasizes the importance of toning, strengthening, and stretching the hip adductors for maximizing athletic performance and preventing injuries.
  • According to StatPearls, muscle strain is a primary injury among athletes, with up to 31% of visits related to it; notably, 23% of these injuries among European soccer players involve the adductor muscles.
  • From my personal experience, consistently incorporating these exercises has been key in promoting not only stronger and more flexible hips but also in contributing to overall healthier and more fulfilling lives for my clients.

What Exercises Work the Adductors?

Exercises that work the adductors are the Copenhagen windmill side plank, cossack squats, sumo squats, ball squeeze, and adductor raise.

For the best results, perform at least three sets of each exercise weekly. And don’t forget to warm up for 5 to 10 minutes before you start.

You may also choose powerful pre-workout supplements to avoid pain and injuries, stay healthy, improve athletic performance, and enjoy your activities.

1. Copenhagen Windmill Side Plank

Copenhagen Windmill Side Plank

For this adductor side plank exercise variation, put the ankle, shin, or knee of your right leg on a bench, coffee table, box, or another similar surface.

Use it to lift your left leg, hips, and trunk off the ground, relying on your left hand while keeping the whole body in a straight line.

Your glutes and core should be engaged, and your right arm extended above you.

Hold yourself in this plank position, maintaining stability for at least 30 seconds or as long as you can. Then, switch sides and repeat.

Do 3 sets of 10 reps per side.

Related: How to Do the Windmill Exercise Properly

2. Cossack Squats

Cossack SquatsStand with your feet wider than your shoulder width, and your toes slightly turned outwards.

Keep the weight with both hands above your chest level for a better balance and stability (add no more than 10-15lbs if you’re a beginner).

Shift your weight into your right foot and lower into a deep lateral lunge with your right leg completely straight, foot fully planted, knee forward over your toes, and the chest up high, while moving your left heel to point the toes up.

Stand up (not necessarily all the way up unless you want to) and repeat the movement on the other side.

You can adjust your stance if necessary while you’re at the bottom of the squat.

Only go as far down as you feel comfortable to avoid tearing your groin muscle.

Perform 3 sets of 5-12 slow, controlled reps per leg.

It’ll be enough for strength and power athletes to improve their hip mobility and stability and enhance injury prevention of the knees, inner groin, and hips.

Other types of exercises:

3. Sumo Squats

Man doing a sumo squat

Stand with your feet wider than the shoulder width, and the toes turned out.

Keep your back straight and both arms fully extended in front of you at the shoulder level.

Bend both knees to lower your body into a squat position until your thighs get parallel to the ground.

Then, rise and repeat.

Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

4. Ball Squeeze

Lie on your back with your knees bent, both feet flat on the floor, head and shoulders raised from the floor, and both arms slightly lifted and straightened beside your body.

Place a small medicine ball between your legs and knees. Squeeze the squishy ball, drawing in your abs, and hold for 10 seconds. Then, relax and repeat.

Do 3 sets of 12-15 reps.

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5. Adductor Raise

Lie on your left side, leaning up on your left elbow and using your right hand for balance if necessary.

Bend your top leg, placing the right foot over your lower thigh.

From this position, lift your bottom leg and heel upward as high as comfortable, keeping it straight.

Hold for a few seconds, and return it slowly to the starting position. Then, repeat.

Do 5 sets of 10 reps with each leg.

Other types of exercises:

Why Is Strengthening the Adductors Important?

man doing squats

Strengthening the adductors is important because it can help improve your sports performance by enhancing your hip extension, flexion, and internal and external rotational power.

In my experience, these movements separate outstanding from average athletes, especially in sports like figure-skating and others already mentioned.

This is also equally important for squatting, sprinting, jumping, deadlifting, and many other similar everyday movements.

What’s more:

According to one of the studies from the PubMed website, strong hip adductors prevent groin strains, knee, and other common injuries. [1]

Injury prevention is crucial because these injuries may result in a decreased range of motion, chronic pain and muscle weakness, missed playing time, or even the inability to play sports again. [2]

Another study on the PubMed website on professional ice-hockey players has shown that the weaker your hip adductor muscles, the higher the risk of adductor and hip flexor strains and injuries. [3]

Here’s a quick and simple test to find out whether your adductors are weak:

“If your knees point outward during a squat then there could be an imbalance of hip strength with your hip adductors being weaker than the reciprocal hip muscles (hip abductors).”

- Kevin Laudner, Ph.D., Certified Athletic Trainer, Kinesiology Professor

Now, let’s find out how you can strengthen them easily.

Related: Best Mobility Exercises

What Are the Adductor Muscles?

ischial tuberosity

The adductor muscles are:

  • Adductor brevis
  • Adductor longus
  • Adductor magnus
  • Obturator externus
  • Gracilis
  • Pectineus

The primary function of these groin muscles is to help bring your hips and thighs to the body midline (adduct them) to support proper balance and alignment.

They’re responsible for enabling your:

For instance, adductors help you step to the side, get up from the squat, get out of bed, or the car.

They become increasingly activated when you’re running uphill, downhill, or when you’re performing explosive lateral and multi-directional movements.

FAQs

How Do Adductor Muscles Enhance Athletic Performance in Sports?

Adductor muscles enhance athletic performance in sports by providing crucial support for quick lateral movements, stability, and agility, particularly in sports like soccer, basketball, and track and field, leading to improved performance and reduced injury risk.

What Are Effective Adductor Exercises for Different Age Groups?

Effective adductor exercises for different age groups vary; younger individuals benefit from dynamic exercises improving flexibility and strength, while older adults gain more from low-impact, stability-focused movements, ensuring safety and effectiveness.

How Can Adductor Exercises Be Combined with Other Workout Routines?

Adductor exercises can be combined with other workout routines by integrating them into holistic programs like yoga and Pilates for flexibility or high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for strength and endurance, ensuring a well-rounded fitness approach.

What Are the Technological Advancements in Adductor Training?

Technological advancements in adductor training include innovative tools like virtual reality programs and specialized gym equipment, offering new, engaging methods to enhance adductor muscle strength and flexibility for a broad range of fitness enthusiasts.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25833903/
  2. https://www.statpearls.com/articlelibrary/viewarticle/17189/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11292035/
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About The Author

James Cunningham, BSc, CPT
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
James Cunningham, BSc, CPT holds a BSc degree in Sport & Exercise Science from University of Hertfordshire. He's a Health & Performance Coach from London that brings a unique blend of academic knowledge of health supplements and practical exercise experience to the table for his readers.
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Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC
Staff Writer & Senior Coach
Benedict Ang, CPT, PN1-NC is an ex-National Soccer player turned MMA and Kickboxing champion, with ACE CPT and PN1-NC certifications. His advice is rooted in education and experience, ensuring that readers receive scientific and battle-tested insights. His mission is to empower his clients and readers to realize their potential and become the best versions of themselves.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Dr. Harshi Dhingra, MBBS, MD is a published peer-reviewed author and renowned physician from India with over a decade of experience. With her MBBS from Bharati Vidyapeeth and an MD from Rajiv Gandhi University, she actively ensures the accuracy of online dietary supplement and medical information by reviewing and fact-checking health publications.
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