Best Hip Adductor Stretches

Trainer’s Top Stretches for Loosening Tight Inner Thighs

By: Jeremy Fox, CNC, CPTPublished: August 4, 2022

Pain in the groin or inner thigh area can be very uncomfortable. And it can prevent you from training or doing other activities you enjoy.

Most of the time, groin pain results from tight hip adductor muscles. Luckily, it can usually be resolved with simple adductor stretches and strengthening exercises.

Hip Adductor Stretch

What Are Hip Adductors?

The hip adductors are a group of five muscles, including the adductor longus, adductor brevis, adductor magnus, gracilis, and pectineus. These are the muscles located on the inner thigh and are responsible for pulling your upper leg inward.

The hip adductors can get strained from overuse, causing tightness and pain. When this happens, stretching and exercising the adductor muscles is critical to keep them loose and strong.

Hip Adductor Muscles

Adductor Stretch FAQ

Before we get into adductor stretches, let me answer some of the most common questions surrounding the hip adductor muscles.

How do you tell if you have tight adductors?

The most common symptom of tight adductor muscles is pain in the groin or upper and inner thigh. At first, the pain may be sharp and localized. But over time, it tends to get dull and more widespread.

What causes tight adductors?

Tight adductors and pulled groins are typically caused by overuse or sudden lateral movements. This strain is most common in sports like hockey and soccer, where athletes make abrupt sideways movements with their thighs.

However, tight adductors can happen to anyone, especially if you’re starting a new exercise program or training your legs more frequently than usual.

What happens when adductors are tight?

Tight adductors may limit your range of motion in movements where your thighs move apart. And they will also weaken your ability to squeeze your thighs together.

Practically speaking, you would notice pain and reduced performance in activities where you use your legs. So it’s essential to stretch your adductors for maximum performance and prevention of future strains.

Hip Adductor Stretches

This section shows you several ways to warm up your hip adductors, including static and dynamic stretches. Plus, myofascial release techniques to relieve pain and loosen tight adductors.

Static Hip Adductor Stretch

static stretch is where your body doesn’t move during the stretch. Instead, stretch the muscle as far as possible and hold for 10-15 seconds.

Here are some examples of static adductor stretches.

1. Standing Side Lunge Stretch

The standing side lunge is a classic stretch used as a warmup for running or training sessions. You start by taking a wide stance, then slowly lunge to the side by bending one knee.

Hold the side lunge position for 10-15 seconds before performing the stretch to the other side. Repeat 2 or 3 times until your inner thighs feel loose.

Standing Side Lunge Adductor Stretch

2. Kneeling Side Lunge Stretch

You can also do the side lunge on your hands and knees. Start by kneeling on the floor with your knees wide apart, then lean your weight to one side.

With the kneeling adductor stretch, you can lean forward on your hands to hit different parts of your inner thighs.

Kneeling Side Lunge Adductor Stretch

3. Standing Front Lunge Stretch

The standing front lunge involves taking a medium step forward with one foot. Then drop your hips until you feel a stretch in your thighs and glutes. Hold this position for 10-15 seconds before switching sides.

4. Kneeling Front Lunge Stretch

The kneeling front lunge starts like the standing version. But then drop your hips down until your back knee touches the floor.

You can work your hips around from this position to find tight spots. Also, you can push your knee out with your elbow to feel a deeper stretch in your adductors.

5. Sitting Butterfly Stretch

The butterfly stretch is another warmup movement commonly used before sporting events or training. For this stretch, start by sitting on the ground or floor with your legs in front of you.

Next, bend your knees and pull your ankles towards your groin with the soles of your feet touching. From here, push your thighs down with your elbows to stretch your adductors.

Butterfly Adductor Stretch

6. Lying Butterfly Stretch

A more advanced butterfly movement involves laying back, so your shoulders touch the floor while keeping your butt and legs planted.

7. Yoga Squat Pose

The yoga squat pose starts in a standing position with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Then you squat straight down as far as you can until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs and glutes.

For balance, you may need to extend your arms in front of you or hold onto something as you hold this stretch.

Squat Adductor Stretch

Dynamic Hip Adductor Stretch

Dynamic stretches involve controlled, low resistance movements to stretch and warm up a particular muscle group. An example of a dynamic stretch is arm circles.

Dynamic stretches for the hip adductors could be any exercise that moves your upper legs. But the key is using very light weights and focusing on stretching your inner thighs.

8. Light Jog or Walk

A light jog or walk is a great way to stretch your adductors by swinging your legs and engaging the stabilizing muscles of the hips. The repetitive motion also increases blood flow to the area, which can help your tight muscles loosen and relax.

However, it would help if you avoided intense jogging or sprints until you’re sure your groin is recovered, or you risk reinjuring the muscles.

9. Bodyweight Walking Lunges

Walking lunges are another excellent adductor stretch that creates more range of motion through the hips than traditional walking or jogging. Try taking longer and wider strides to target the inner thighs.

10. Machine Adductor Exercise

Most gyms have a hip adductor machine designed to strengthen your inner thighs. And you can also use this machine to stretch your adductor muscles.

When using the adductor machine for stretching, use a very light weight and focus on holding your thighs open in the stretched position.

11. Hip Flexor Machine Adductor Exercise

The hip flexor machine is a less familiar piece of gym equipment. It consists of a padded pendulum attached to a weight stack.

You can use this to stretch your adductors by facing the machine and allowing the pad to push your inner thigh up and out while your opposite leg stays planted.

12. Sumo Goblet Squat Exercise

The goblet squat is a perfect exercise for strengthening your legs and building your quads. Plus, this movement stretches your adductors when you use a wide “sumo” stance and drop your hips low to the floor.

Again, use your bodyweight or very light weight to stretch and warm up your adductors. You can even hold the squat at the bottom to get a better stretch.

13. Light Sumo Deadlifts Exercise

The sumo deadlift is another exercise where you utilize wide foot placement. This exercise effectively stretches and strengthens your adductors with the extra resistance of a barbell or a light dumbbell/kettlebell.

Sumo Deadlift Adductor Stretch

Hip Adductor Release Techniques

Myofascial release involves working muscle tissue with foam rolling or hand techniques. While this may be slightly different from traditional stretching, it is very effective for loosening tight muscles.

14. Foam Roller Adductor Release

For adductor foam rolling, begin on the floor in the prone position. Then angle one leg out and place your inner thigh on a foam roller that is roughly parallel to your body.

Now slide your inner thigh across the foam roller, feeling for tight spots. When you hit a sensitive area, hold the roller there and allow it to press into the muscle.

15. Active Release Technique for Adductor

The active release technique (ART) is like foam rolling, except it involves pressing on the adductor with your hand while moving your thigh from the front to the side.

This technique puts pressure on the tight fascia while the muscle slides underneath. And that sliding motion is what helps release the fascial tissue.

My physical therapist used the active release technique on my chest after I had surgery on a torn pectoral muscle. It can be very uncomfortable, but this technique is great for loosening tight and sore muscles!

More Stretches

Now that you know how to stretch out your inner thighs and hip adductors, you may want to learn how to stretch other muscle groups. And the lats can be another tricky muscle to stretch.

So let me show you 13 easy lat stretches to relieve soreness and increase overhead mobility.

With this information, you’re on your way to loosening tight muscles and preventing future discomfort. If you found this article helpful, check out some of my other great content below!

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By |August 4, 2022|Workouts|0 Comments
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