Groiners primarily targets the adductors, hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings, helping to improve hip mobility and stretch out the groin.
They are beginner-friendly and can be included in both warm-ups and dedicated stretching routines.
You can also do alternating groiners as part of a HIIT workout too.
The stretch can also sometimes be referred to as the “spiderman” stretch.
This exercise guide provides a comprehensive overview of the groiners stretch, including how to perform them properly, benefits, common mistakes to avoid, and variations.
- Use groiners to stretch out the muscles around your groin, including the hip flexors, glutes, and hamstrings.
- The movement also activates your core and shoulders to support the stretch.
- Elevating your front foot or adding a resistance band are two simple way to increase the difficulty of the stretch.
- World’s greatest stretch, pigeon pose and frog stretch could be used as alternatives.
What are Groiners?
The groiners exercise is a dynamic movement designed to target key muscle groups around the hips, primarily those involved in hip flexion.
It’s a bodyweight exercise, meaning no additional equipment is required, which makes it a versatile addition to any workout routine.
To perform the groiners exercise, you begin in a high plank position (similar to the starting position of a push-up). The movement involves stepping one foot at a time up to the outside of the corresponding hand. This movement pattern stretches the hip flexors, hamstrings and glutes, and engages the quadriceps, shoulders and core muscles.
Enjoy Groiners? Try World’s Greatest Stretch
How to Perform Groiners
To do groiners:
- Begin in a high plank position, with your hands directly under your shoulders and your body forming a straight line from your head to your heels.
- Before you start moving, engage your core. This will help stabilize your body throughout the exercise.
- Step one foot up to the outside of the same hand. Your foot should land flat on the ground, and your knee should be bent at a 90-degree angle.
- Drive your hips forward to increase the stretch on the front of your hips and hold for 10 seconds.
- Step your foot back to the starting position, returning to the high plank.
- Repeat the movement with the other foot. This completes one repetition.
- Repeat for repetitions and sets.
Coach’s Tip – The key to the groiners exercise is control and quality of movement, not speed or quantity. It’s better to do fewer repetitions with good form than to rush through the exercise with poor technique.
The groiners stretch primarily targets the muscles around your hips and groin, including the adductors, hip flexors, glutes and hamstrings.
It also engages your core muscles, shoulders, and quadriceps, to a lesser extent, to maintain stability during the movement.
This exercise is excellent for improving the flexibility and mobility of your lower body.
Improved Hip Mobility
The groiners exercise is a dynamic stretch that can be a great way to improve hip mobility.
This is particularly beneficial for athletes involved in sports requiring a wide range of motion in the hip joint, as well as individuals seeking to alleviate the effects of prolonged sitting (which can make hip flexors tight).
The groiners exercise engages the core muscles throughout the movement, contributing to improved core strength and stability. After reach repetition, you’re returning to a plank position, so your core has to remain engaged to keep your body stable.
A strong core is essential for maintaining balance, facilitating movement in other exercises, and preventing injuries.
Better Athletic Performance
By improving hip mobility and core strength, the groiners exercise can enhance overall athletic performance. It promotes better movement efficiency, which can translate into improved performance in a variety of sports and physical activities.
The groiners exercise is a bodyweight movement, meaning it requires no additional equipment. This makes it a versatile exercise that can be performed anywhere, making it a great addition to any workout routine, whether at home, in the gym, or while traveling.
You can also ease into the stretch and slowly increase the level of difficulty over time.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Not Engaging the Core
One of the most common mistakes people make when performing the groiners exercise is failing to engage the core properly. This can lead to instability and reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
It can also put unnecessary pressure on the lower back/hips.
To avoid this, ensure you’re actively engaging your core throughout the movement.
Incorrect Foot Placement
Another common error is incorrect foot placement. Your foot should land flat on the ground next to the same hand.
This is fundamentally the difference between groiners and mountain climbers. If you don’t place your foot next to your hand, you won’t feel the stretch on the front of your hips.
Lifting the Heel
Lifting the heel of the forward foot will also mean you’re not opening up your hips as much. This is often associated with incorrect foot placement and not bringing your foot far enough forward.
Rushing the Movement
The groiners exercise is not about speed; it’s about control and the quality of the movement. Rushing through the exercise can lead to poor form and reduced effectiveness. Take your time, focus on your form, and make sure you’re feeling the engagement in your hips and glutes.
Alternating groiners will increase the intensity and provide a cardiovascular challenge. Instead of stepping one foot at a time, jump to switch your feet.
Only do this if you can confidently place your feet in the right position and bear in mind that the focus should still be on stretching the front of the hips.
Groiners with a Twist
Adding a twist to your groiners exercise can engage your obliques and add a rotational component to the movement. After stepping your foot forward, rotate your torso towards the same side, reaching your arm up towards the ceiling.
Groiners on an Incline
Performing the groiners exercise on an incline can reduce the mobility demands of the exercise, making it a great option for beginners or those with limited mobility. Use a step, bench, or incline trainer to elevate your hands.
By the same logic, you can also elevate your feet to increase the mobility demands of the exercise and make it more challenging.
Groiners with a Resistance Band
Using a resistance band to groiners will increase the resistance and make the exercise more challenging. Place the band around your ankles and maintain tension in the band as you perform the movement.
World’s Greatest Stretch
The world’s greatest stretch starts with the same movement pattern as groiners, but then adds a twist, and ends with a reach for the sky.
This means it works your legs, back, and arms all at once.
The additional twist and reach is a great way to target the thoracic region of the back.
Pigeon pose is a popular yoga pose known for its effectiveness in stretching the hips, glutes, and hamstrings.
Start in a high plank position, then bring one knee forward and place it behind the same wrist, with your shin diagonal to your body.
Extend the other leg straight behind you and lower your hips towards the ground. This pose can be held for several breaths to deepen the stretch.
If this puts too much pressure on your knees, try the reclining pigeon pose as an easier alternative.
The frog stretch is another great option for targeting the hips and groin.
To perform this stretch, start on all fours, then widen your knees until you feel a stretch in your inner thighs. Keep your shins in line with your knees and your feet flexed. Lower down to your forearms and maintain a neutral spine. This stretch can be held for several breaths, and you can gently rock back and forth to intensify the stretch.
The groiners stretch is a simple way to instantly stretch out the hip flexors and muscles around the groin.
Whether you do it to aid athletic performance and physical activity, or use it to break up long periods of being sedentary, the benefits of groiners are hard to argue against.
It’s a versatile exercise that can be incorporated into your warm-up routine or used as a standalone exercise to improve lower body flexibility and mobility.
As with any exercise, it’s essential to perform groiners with proper form to maximize benefits and minimize the risk of injury.
Featured image and video demonstration credit – NCFIT