Caution: Do not attempt to perform this stretch without consulting with your chiropractor or physician – if you have a serious injury this activity may cause further injury.
Where is it? : Your adductor muscles are located on the inner portion of your thighs that assist in pulling your legs in and across your body. The adductor group is made up of four muscles: pectineus, adductor brevis, adductor longus, and adductor magnus. All of these muscles attach the pelvic bone to the femur and allow for adduction, or the returning of a body part towards you body’s center line from the side, which is the opposite of abduction, or the movement of a limb away from your body’s center line to the side.
Why should I do it? : If the adductor muscles become too tight they can pull the pelvic bone out of place, causing anything from low back pain to sciatica; there is also the risk of the muscles around the knee becoming affected by bone and muscle imbalance, causing painful movement in the knees. Stretching these muscles can relieve some nerve impingement, pain, numbness and tingling, and even muscle fatigue.
How do I do it? : There are several different ways to stretch the adductor muscles, each type of stretch depending on how flexible you are.
The easiest way to stretch the adductor muscle group is to sit on the floor facing a wall or couch. Place the instep of each foot against the wall or couch and, while keeping your legs straight, slowly move your body forward while widening the gap between your feet. If you are using a couch you may use the cushions to pull yourself forward. Keep widening your stance until you feel a stretch along the inside of your thighs that feels uncomfortable without being painful. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
The second type of stretch you can perform is commonly referred to as frog splits. Placing your knees and hands on the ground in a crawling type position, slowly move your knees directly apart from each other to the side. Keep the bottom half of your legs bent so they are parallel to each other. Hold for at least 30 seconds.
The third type of stretch you can perform is the splits. Place your feet in a triangular stance, then slide both feet directly away from each other until you feel a stretch along the inner part of your thighs. For this particular type of stretch you need to make sure your feet are both pointing forward, as tilting them up on the heel will cause some stretching of the hamstrings rather than concentrating on the adductors. It is also important to note that this stretch can be stressful on the shoulders from the strain of holding the positing against gravity, as well as difficult on the knees. It is important to consult with your doctor before trying this stretch, as it can be detrimental for some.
Helpful hints : Because there are three levels to this type of stretch it is important to start at the most basic level first to prevent injury. While there is little chance of you hurting your legs during the couch or wall stretch, there is a much greater chance of hurting your back or knees during the other two stretches. I therefore recommend beginning with the simplest step and working your way up, no matter how experienced you are at stretching. I also recommend consulting a doctor specifically about performing this stretch to prevent said injuries.