Frog Stretch for Tight Adductors
A few weeks ago, my friend and colleague Brad Neal showed me the Frog Stretch, an Adductor and Groin stretch I hadn’t tried before. The video below gives a good description of the stretch (and an opportunity to make fun of my poor flexibility!).
I knew I was tight through my Adductors, and this certainly hit the spot! Thankfully, a few weeks later I can definitely say that I’ve improved my flexibility in this area.
Why Stretch The Adductors?
When we think about stability at the Hip in a single leg stance (a very important position for running), many of us think immediately about Glute Medius. This important muscle provides stability in the frontal plane, by creating a strong abduction moment at the Hip joint. This action plays a large part in keeping the knee aligned properly as it loads, and maintaining pelvic neutral in the frontal plane. In short, it helps to keep your knee away from the midline and the pelvis level.
Without turning this into an anatomy lesson and differentiating the various Adductor muscles, and their individual roles; let’s just say that the Adductors as a group act to pull the knee in towards the midline in the frontal plane.
As such, together the Adductors act as an antagonist to the frontal plane function of Glute Medius. To put it simply, they hold the knee in, while Glute Medius pulls the knee out.
Our goal is to create a balanced environment between these two opposing muscle groups.
Through reciprocal inhibition, in the same way that tightness in Rectus Femoris can inhibit Glute Max function, excessive tightness in the Adductors can inhibit Glute Medius function.
A common pattern I see when assessing runners with knee pain is poor activation of (perhaps inhibited) Glute Medius and tight Adductors. It’s one of a handfull of common imbalances and movement dysfunctions shown to lead to knee pain in runners. Recent research on this…
Let’s not forget though, weak Adductors are also an issue to address. As with all muscle groups, we want the Adductors to have the right combination of mobility, strength and control through range.
Adductor Mobility: an Alternative Drill
Here’s another option you can try to improve adductor mobility:
More info on this exercise can be found here: Groin Stretch for Runners