Hip adductor stretching may not be the most glamorous side of fitness, but the impact can be monumental.
Tight hips are a recipe for disaster when it comes to mobility and lower body range of motion. They can also lead to common issues such as lower back pain and create muscular imbalances as your body adapts to the limited movement and range of motion. Adductors that aren’t warmed-up and stretched properly may also increase the risk of groin strains, a common sports injury.
As a result, improving hip range of motion is an easy win for improving overall athletic performance and the ability to do basic movements like squats. If you’re wondering if you have tight hip adductors, we’ve got a tool within the fitness drum app that helps you assess your current hip flexibility.
The adductors are the muscles of the inner thigh, used to bring the thighs together (adduction). Age and a sedentary lifestyle are often culprits for adductors feeling tight, limiting and inflexible. The goods news is that with some simple bodyweight stretches, you can actively decrease this tightness in the adductors and be on your way to newfound lower body mobility.
We’ve listed 7 beginner friendly adductor stretches you can do at home below. These exercises are all featured in one of this month’s new virtual fitness challenges here at fitness drum. Sign up for free to start following along.
Adductor Stretches for Better Hip Flexibility
The side lunge is a great way to get started with adductor stretching. You’ll instantly feel it in your inner thigh.
This stretch is a fantastic warm-up movement before any sort of lower body workout, as well as a great addition to an evening yoga or stretch routine.
Only go as far as feels natural and do not try and overstretch. The movement should not feel painful. Over time, you should hopefully notice the difference and be able to get lower.
- Stand upright with your legs in a wide stance.
- Bending your left knee and keeping your right leg straight, slowly lower yourself to stretch out your groin. Stop when it feels natural to do so.
- Hold for a specified duration – 10 seconds is perhaps a good starting point.
- Rise up from the lowered position back into the starting position.
- Repeat on the other side.
Wide Squat Ankle Taps
Wide squat ankle taps are a great dynamic movement. Not only will they help stretch out the inner thigh muscles but also help strengthen the quads at the same time.
This stretch will also require good balance.
The aim is to stretch out the adductors, so don’t turn it into a HIIT workout, and instead, focus on really slow and controlled movements.
- Stand upright with your feet in a wide stance.
- Lower yourself into a squat so your quads are parallel to the floor. Keep your back straight.
- Your groin should be opened up with your feet pointing outwards.
- Tap your right ankle with your left hand, moving your arm diagonally across your body.
- Repeat with your left ankle and right hand.
Standing Hip Rotation (Gate Stretch)
Standing hip rotations are a great way for Physical Therapists to instantly spot issues with hip range of motion or movement.
As the aim is to stretch out the adductors, if standing on one leg is proving difficult, simply hold a wall or table to provide support. If you can balance on one leg during the movement, it will also help improve your stability as you stretch out the hip adductors.
- Stand in a upright position with your feet shoulder width apart.
- Lift your leg foot off the ground, bending at the knees.
- Your thigh should be parallel to the floor.
- Rotate at the hips to bring your thigh out to the side and back around to the starting position.
- Do this movement for a specific number of reps – 5 is a good starting point.
- Repeat on the other side.
The fire hydrant exercise is a great way to open up the hips and improve range of motion. We’ve got a detailed guide on how to do the fire hydrant exercise, including the muscles worked and benefits.
It will also engage the core and help strengthen up the abs and improve overall stability.
- Start in table top pose (on all fours).
- Lift your right leg off the floor and outwards, transferring your weight to your other side for stability. Keep your knee bent during the movement and focus on a hinging motion from the hip.
- Bring your leg back towards your body and repeat for the desired amount of repetitions.
- Repeat with your left side.
A popular beginner yoga pose, the butterfly stretch is great way to stretch out the groin.
It’s a very calming pose too, so a great way to finish the day with a few minutes of adductor stretching.
- Sit on the floor with your back straight.
- Bend your knees so your feet are together in front of you. If this is difficult, place your feet further away from your body (as this requires less range of motion in the hips).
- Hold for a duration of time.
- To increase difficulty, lean forward slightly.
Another popular yoga pose, the Pigeon stretch provides a deep stretch for the hips and glutes.
- Start in table top position (all fours).
- Stretch your left leg out behind you, at the same time as folding your right leg under your body.
- Your right thigh should be aligned with your body, with your shin at a 90 degree angle. Depending on your flexibility, you may need to adjust how this leg is positioned.
- Lean forward and feel the stretch in your adductors and glutes.
- Repeat on the other side.
The forward bend provides a hinging movement to test and stretch out the hips. Struggling to do this movement may suggest exercises like squats could be negatively impacted, as there is limited range of motion around the hips.
- Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.
- Hinging at the hip, lean forward so your back is parallel to the floor. As you do so, stretch your arms out over your head.
- Hold for a specified duration and return to the starting position.
Adductor stretches should be on everyone’s weekly schedule. Working at a desk all day, ageing, or muscular imbalances can all lead to tight adductors. Stretching helps to keep them strong and supple, whatever your age or athletic ability.
Frequent stretching helps to avoid these muscles becomes tight and inflexible, and thus, helps to keep you moving with joy.
None of these stretches need equipment or much space, so are great for anyone looking for some at-home stretching ideas.