By: Dylan Tannyan

Groin strains are a dreaded but unfortunately common injury that occur during activity or sport. When discussing the groin muscles, we are really referring to the hip adductor group of muscles. The muscles that adduct the hip (bring your thighs towards each other) include: adductor brevis, adductor longus, adductor magnus, gracilis, pectineus, and obturator externus. To keep things simple, we are going to refer to this collective group of muscles as “the adductors.” The adductor muscles all attach relatively close to the middle of the pelvis and run down to various points along the inner thigh (the exception being gracilis which attaches below the knee).

Although not always realized (sometimes until we hurt them), our adductor muscles are involved in almost every compound lower body movement. Sometimes acting as stabilizers, other times acting as movers, especially during squatting, lunging, and side-to-side cutting. You can never fully prevent a groin strain from occurring, but you can help reduce the chance by strengthening the adductor muscles. We are going to look at strengthening the adductors as a whole group. You can focus on strengthening a specific muscle if that is your goal or to rehab a specific injury. Strengthening a muscle involves creating a forceful muscle contraction to put load across the muscle and tendinous tissues. If it is a tolerable stress/load (i.e. not causing an injury) on the muscle and tendinous tissues, it will help the body adapt to better handle these types of load in the future. The goal with any strengthening for injury reduction is to progressively increase the load to be greater than whatever that person requires for their activity.

I am going to review two options to start loading up the adductor muscles groups. These are both isometric exercises which means the muscles will be engaged, but not stretching or shortening through movement.

Adductor Ball Squeeze

All you need for this exercise is a ball or some object that is soft enough to comfortably squeeze with your knees, but it should be firm enough that it will give you resistance and not just collapse. Lay on your back with both knees bent and your feet on the ground. Place the ball between your knees and squeeze the ball together with both legs. This is an easy-to-adjust exercise, because you can determine how hard you squeeze the ball. If your muscles get too tired or become too sore, squeeze with less intensity. If you barely feel your muscles working, you can attempt to squeeze the ball harder between your legs. Hold each repetition for a full 5 seconds and then relax. Aim to complete this exercise for 5 repetitions of 5-second holds, for 3-5 sets.

Adductor Plank

Despite also being an isometric exercise, the adductor plank is drastically more challenging than the ball squeeze because you are holding up your body weight during this exercise (making it harder to scale down). Set up beside a chair or couch laying on your side and rest one knee on top of the surface. Use your adductors to lift your body up as you plank on one arm. Hold for 10-15 seconds and relax back down. Aim to complete this exercise for 3 repetitions of 10-15 second holds, for 3 sets.

More specific frequency prescription (how often to complete the whole exercise during the week) is dependent on the patient or goal. However, incorporating one of these exercises into your weekly routine is a good starting point.

Dylan Tannyan

Dylan Tannyan

Physiotherapist - BA Kin (Hons.), MScPT

Dylan is a Toronto based registered physiotherapist who enjoys working with a wide range of patients whose goals range from chronic pain improvement to sport and high performance. He also specializes in vestibular and concussion rehabilitation. He utilizes a mix of specific exercise prescription, manual therapy, dry needling, and education with two main objectives: outcome and efficiency. Dylan wants all of his patients to reach their functional goals as well as have the confidence, education, and physical tools to manage their injury over the long term. Dylan currently works out of Synergy Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation in East York. If you are looking for a physiotherapist you can book with him HERE or contact him directly at

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