The main function of the adductors, or group inner thigh muscles, is to adduct the hip joint or move the leg closer to the midline of the body. The adductors play a key role in most daily activities including sitting and standing (hip flexion and extension), walking, running and are critical to dance or sports performance.
Keeping the adductor muscles supple can increase the range of motion your hips can move and reduce your risk of straining these muscles. A review published in the 2009 issue of "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research" states that there is a strong correlation between a lack of hip adductor flexibility and an increase risk of hip injuries among soccer players and other athletes. When taking the leg into extreme ranges of motion such as when the soccer player kicks the ball vigorously into the goal or a dancer grand battements to the side, the risk of a groin pull increases if the balance does not exist between the hamstrings and the hip adductors. A groin pull is common with higher leg extensions, running, jumping or sudden changes in motion-all common to sports and dance.
Many dancers and athletes concentrate on stretching only certain areas of the thigh, the hamstrings and quadriceps. But as we take our legs wider apart we become immediately aware of Adductors, a group that is too often ignored by most dancers and athletes. Unlike Hamstring focused stretches, Adductor stretches force us to take our Femur (thigh) bone away from its very stable ball and socket joint where it inserts in the hip. Focus on stretches that lengthen the adductors, creating a balance with the hamstrings. Here are some of our stretch suggestions for keeping the adductors supple to prevent injury:
1.) If your hip adductors are moderately tight, take this supine inner thigh stretch with the Flexistretcher while lying on your back.
Make sure to use the same rules of good alignment that you would use in any other forward bend (straight spine, shoulders away from the ears), even if this means that you go only half as far as you might expect.
2.) If you are ready to challenge your body a bit more, take a similar pose in Prasarita Padottanasana, or wide legged forward bend.
3.) Try the seated wide leg forward fold, Upavistha Konasana.
4.) Middle split with the Flexistretcher utilizes elastic resistance to encourage full muscle activation and provides a challenge.