Despite their name, the adductor muscles work primarily as strong sagittal plane hip flexor or extensors. For example, if you are walking (or running) and the right leg is forward, the right adductor works as an extensor and the left as a flexor and then they switch as you alternate legs in the cycle. Have you ever went out and ran or sprinted for the first time? Where did you feel sore? Right, in the groin and inner thighs (as well as the rest of your body if was your first time).
The adductors (generally) attach proximally to the pubic bone and distally attach to the posterior medial aspect of the femur, giving them their mechanical advantage in the sagittal plane. In single leg stance or the single leg phase of gait running or kicking they work with the gluteus medius and the quadratus lumborum to stabilize the pelvis and limb in the frontal plane on the stance side. Now, in activities such as gymnastics, ballet, and karate where the leg is lifted or rapidly “thrown” out to the side the adductors will actually adduct the leg to bring it back into position to hit the ground.

Due to its atachment to the pubic bone, the adductors when activated, can stimulate (turn on) the pelvic floor muscles.  So, squeezing something between the legs while doing a bridge or squat for example can increase pelvic floor activity, which is important for women who have had multiple childbirths and people with core stabilization issues.

Some examples of functional exercises that activate the adductors include:  lunges – forward, lateral and posterior lateral w/ rotation, step up w/ opp. leg hip flexion (w or w/out resistance from cuff or cable), single leg balance w/ opp. leg reaches, and resisted walk, jog or running (cable, bungie, sled).

Once you understand what the bones are doing in all 3 planes (against gravity, ground reaction forces and momentum) and you know where the muscle attaches proximally and distally, you can begin to figure out its true function and design exercises to actually improve the bodies abilitiy to move.  Unfortunately, school doesnt usually teach us that.  Think back to anatomy.  We are taught that the adductors adduct the leg.  Well, now we know that in function they rarely ever do that!  Good luck and have fun!  There is always more to learn!

Get Strong! Stay Strong!

Chris

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Comments
  1. David says:

    Chris I have been to one of your courses and it stuck out in my mind that you stated that we should find a goo functional anatomy book. Do you have any suggestions?

    • chriskolba says:

      I have not found a book that really details the “functional anatomy, but I just made an audio CD describing and reviewing the functional biomechanics and anatomy of the lower extremity.
      Let me know if you would be interested.
      Thanks for checking in.

      • David Anon says:

        Thank you for responding. I would be interested, let me know.

        David

      • chriskolba says:

        Check out the new page on my blog “products now available” I will be adding more soon.
        Thanks

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