Many athletes neglect their abductors. Weightlifters often focus on their quadriceps, flutes, hamstrings, and, to a lesser extent, their twins.
But when your inner thighs are sore or tight, your abductors make its presence felt. Why put up with those potential physical ailments when you could just pay more attention to your abductors instead?
What are abductors?
The abductors are a group of muscles on the inside of the thighs, and their main function is to bring the legs together and rotate the hips towards the midlife of the body.
The abductor muscle group is made up of these muscles:
- Short abductor
- Long abductor
- Major abductor (including minimal abductor)
- Unsuspecting: the most anterior abductor of the hip, allows flexion of the hip.
- Gracilis: The thin, flat muscle on the medial surface of the thigh.
- External abjuratory: The muscle that covers the external surface of the anterior wall of the pelvis.
The abductors originate from the pubis and ischium bones (lower part of the pelvis) and are inserted into the medial posterior surface of the femur (thigh bone).
What are abductors for?
The main role of the abductor muscles is to addict (move to the midlife of the body) the hips and thighs. In other words, if your legs are open, they help reattach them. They are also prime movers to help you get out of a deep squat.
Abductors are often trained in the abductor / abductor machine, and other important functions of the abductor muscles are:
- Hip flexion
- Internal and external hip rotation
- Hip extension
- Stabilization of the pelvis
- Knee flexion
Why are abductors important?
Training the abductors directly can better prevent strain on the groin. And if you are an athlete competing in a sport that requires you to run or change direction, the strength of the abductor must be one of your priorities.
A review published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine in 2015 concluded that the strength of the hip abductor was one of the most common risk factors for groin injuries in sports.
A study of professional ice hockey players found that they were seventeen times more likely to have a groin injury if their adductor strength was less than 80% of their abductor strength.
Hip extension and flexion
Although this may be obvious, your hips flex and stretch during many common movements such as jumping, running, squatting, and dead lifting. Having an explosive hip extension is one of the differences that separates good athletes from great athletes.
The flutes and hamstrings are the primary ex tensors of the hip, but the abductor major (largest abductor muscle) also helps with hip extension. If you”ve ever felt like your abductors are sore after a heavy leg day, now you know why.
Improve rotational power
The ability of the abductors to rotate the hips internally and externally is directly related to the power of rotation. Therefore, athletes whose sports require rotational power to perform well will greatly benefit from strengthening their abductors.
Here is a short list of sports where the main movement is a swing or pitch movement, both of which are inherently rotational:
- Tennis (and any other sport that uses a racket)
- Hockey (both ice and field)
4 exercises for strong abductors
Here are four accessory exercises to make sure your abductors get the attention they deserve:
One-leg Lute Bridge with compression
This exercise trains the abductors of the straight leg while training the hip extension on the other. Squeezing the foam roller in this case or a medicine ball ensures that the buttocks engage the hip extension instead of the lower back.
Try doing 3 sets of 8-12 reps on each leg after your main strength move for the day.
This type of squat trains the abductors and abductors while working in the frontal (horizontal) plane. It is great to train the body to move in different directions, as most strength exercises work along the Sagittarius (vertical) plane.
This move is a perfect warm-up exercise before leg day. If you feel strong and comfortable enough, feel free to add weight.
This is not an exercise maximum force, so do not go crazy with the load. Do 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions to feel your inner thighs when you wake up the next day.
Copenhagen side plank
This variant of the table side in soil involves maintaining a side table where the upper leg tries argued against a bank. You must feel your oblique involved and more active to maintain stability while maintaining the stability of the abductor.
Instead it for a certain time, do 3-5 breaths on both sides.
Rotating launch medicine ball against the wall
Any throw medicine ball rotating serve you here; spoon launch is an example of many. This exercise is an excellent starting point if you”ve never made rotary releases.
Medicine ball throws are a lot of fun and can add power to your workout.
Choose the size of the medicine ball with your head because if you weigh too, end up training strength, no power. Make sure to generate power from the hip of the back (internal rotation) and not from the arms.
Do this before your strength training during the day for 2-3 sets of 6-8 reps on both sides.
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