Any athlete who competes in a sport that involves dynamic cutting and change of direction is susceptible to groin injuries. Strength coaches have learned the importance of building the posterior chain and gluteus medius to improve lateral change of direction. However, that will only do so much to prevent adductor strains (aka, groin strains). Some direct isolation and rep work can and should be thrown into warm-ups and lower-body days.
Beyond groin injuries, weak adductor muscles can have a negative impact on your biomechanics, causing a ripple effect throughout the body. Not just that, but stronger adductor muscles have also been connected with better sports performance. One of the most obvious benefits is improved agility, but one study found greater adductor strength was associated with harder shooting velocity in university soccer players.
If you want to become a better and more durable athlete, try these 3 adductor-strengthening exercises.
This is a great bang-for-your-buck exercises, as it hits the adductor of the straight leg while the working leg gets great glute activation. I also find that squeezing the med ball ensures hip extension is deriving from glute contraction and not the lower back. Try 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps on each leg.
The adductor plank is a great exercise that has a number of progressions to make them increasingly difficult. To perform this exercise you need a bench or box (such as the metal ones with open space underneath).
For some with knee issues or weak adductors, you can bend your top leg so your knee is resting on the box instead of your foot. This decreases the movement, making the exercises easier. For progressions, the bottom leg can squeeze the bench or box as well (working in an isometric fashion) or you can perform reps of adduction. We like to add these into our warm-up on lower-body days.
The Cossack Squat is a great exercise to hit the adductors and abductors while working the frontal plane. It is a perfect bodyweight exercise to perform during warm-ups, but to really hit the adductors we will add external load through a dumbbell or kettlebell.
The adductor muscles are a group that often gets lost in the shuffle. Training them on a consistent basis will help shore up weaknesses and create a strong, healthy athlete.