Everyone NEEDS strong hips. I say "Strong" because typically to get strong you need to have flexibility, mobility, and stability. And 99% of people lack in one of those three areas, therefore more than likely lacking adequate strength. For today's post however the focus will be on strength, specifically the adductors.
Athletes need them to perform a vast variety of movements within their respective sport. Aging adults need them to help reduce the risk of falls. Not to mention strengthening these muscles will assist in knee and low back pain by enhancing stability around the pelvis. Typically when we think about hip stabilization, most people think about the glutes and abductors because they're the most visible and easiest to train. Take a look at any gym and without fail a handful of people will a band around their knees performing movements working the glutes and abductors.
However, there are a few individuals (Typically women) who make their way over to the "Good Girl" and "Bad Girl" machines. I am referring to the hip adduction and abduction machines that collect dust unless you're at a planet fitness or in the presence of a IG Model, who once again will more than likely focus on the ABDuction component to grow her glutes.
Anatomy and Function of the Adductor
First off, understand the adductors are not just one muscle. They are instead a group of 5 muscles mainly responsible for adduction of the leg (bringing the leg closer to midline). There are a few muscles that assist in other actions such as extension, flexion, and rotation depending positioning and angles. For the most part they originate from the hip bone and attach somewhere along the femur. Mentioned earlier, due to its location the adductor muscle group will work synergistically to perform hip extension and stabilizing the pelvis along with the glutes and hamstrings.
Why You Should Be Training the Adductors
The adductors are a secondary muscle group that help the larger muscle groups during compound exercises such as squats (especially out of the hole) and deadlifts. Hip extension if done properly is one of, if not the most powerful movement of the body. It is how we jump, stand, walk, run, and sprint. Neglecting the adductor muscles, may cause us to miss out on added stabilization of the pelvis during all these movements.
Groin strains are one of the most common among athletes who are sprinting, cutting, and changing directions. Throughout these movements, the adductors take on a large load of eccentric forces. So, just like the hamstrings during a heel strike, these muscles become force absorbers. A muscle is more likely to tear or strain if it is unable to tolerate the amount of force being placed upon it. Therefore, strengthening the adductors can reduce the likelihood of a groin strain.
Finally this group of muscles are highly important for sports such as baseball, softball, golf, hockey, or tennis. All of these sports rely highly on the rotational power of your hips for swinging and throwing. Weak adductors will not help you hit farther or throw harder.
Exercises For The Adductors
Level 1 would be Isometrics such as these videos down below:
The benefit of the isometrics comes from the fact that these will be the easiest to feel the target muscle as well as create tolerance for level 2 movements.
Level 2 would involve a little more dynamic movements such as the ones below. However things like balancing movements and single leg squats will also be useful. If you want to throw in the adduction machine before doing single leg work, thats fine too.
Level 3 is plyometrics and movements requiring coordination and perhaps more sport specific movements.