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How to Prevent Groin Injuries
Posted by Dr. Ben Kim
In showing how to use a ball and foam roller to massage the inner hip area, I neglected to illustrate static stretches for the inner thigh and groin regions.
The target muscles are those that allow you to move your leg towards your midline. These muscles are your gracilis, adductor magnus, adductor longus, and adductor brevis.
There are several different positions that allow for effective stretching of these muscles. It's best that you give all of the stretches presented below a try and use those that are most comfortable. Remember to give equal time to both sides of your body, to maintain steady breathing while stretching, and repeat as often as you'd like without creating pain.
Assuming that you don't have problems within your ball and socket hip joints, one of the easiest ways to stretch your inner thigh and groin muscles is to lie on your back, bring the soles of your feet together, then let your knees approach the ground. To enhance this stretch, use your hands to apply downward pressure on your inner thigh muscles.
To target the upper bellies of your adductor and gracilis muscles, place the foot of your target leg up against a window ledge or stable chair, maintain balance by holding onto your upper knee, then lean your upper body forward and against your upper thigh. This position should allow you to feel a stretch along your inner thigh. You may also feel a stretch in the bottom portion of your calf.
To really target the ropey gracilis muscle along the innermost portion of your thigh, lengthen your target leg out towards your side, then rest your body weight equally on the heel of your target leg, your folded opposite leg, and your hands.
Allow your upper body to approach the ground in front of you until you feel a stretch in the gracilis muscle of your outstretched leg. Hold this position for up to 30 seconds, then do the same for the opposite leg.
To fully target your beefier adductor muscles, remain resting on the shin and foot of your folded up leg, then rest the sole of the foot of your target leg on the ground with your knee bent - the angle between your resting thigh and your target thigh should be about 90 degrees, creating a "V" shape between your inner thighs.
While maintaining your legs in this position, allow your upper body to approach the ground in front of you until you feel a stretch along the inner thigh of your target leg.
Depending on the tone of surrounding muscles (especially one called your sartorius), you may need to place the hand of the arm on the side of your target leg in front of you on the ground for support as you lean forward and down.
If you get serious about stretching out your inner thigh and groin area and you're not already stripping these areas with a foam roller or ball, I encourage you to review the following post:
If, after trying a soft ball like a jumbo tennis ball or a volley ball, you find that your muscles can benefit from more pressure, I recommend moving on to a medicine ball. The one that I like to use for this purpose is the 10 pound Valeo medicine ball, which you can read about here:
Regular stretching of all of your major muscles, including those that line your inner hip and groin regions, is an absolute must for injury prevention and maintaining wellness as you age. Please consider sharing this post with family and friends who aren't already on a regular program of stretching.
If you don't have a foam roller and are looking to invest in one that offers a blend of comfort, durability, and ideal density to provide therapeutic rolling of your muscles and ligaments, please feel free to have a look at the one that I had custom made for our clients here:
For a DVD that presents still photos and video clips that illustrate how to take your body through all of the major stretches and foam rolling exercises you can do to keep your body as healthy as your genetics will allow, have a look here:
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