Updated: May 9, 2020
So when we're training for speed and power, we generally overlook the adductors in terms of specifically training and strengthening them. In fact, they're almost always overlooked until they force you to pay attention by straining or tearing. A bit like that friend you never text until you hear they were hit by a car or something.
Adductors are really important in hip flexion and extension
For What It's Worth, Here They Are:
Adductor magnus (we will be focusing more on this one)
Pectineus: the most anterior adductor which enables hip flexion
Gracilis: a thin, flat muscle on the medial surface of the thigh
Obturator externus: a muscle that covers the outer surface of the anterior wall of the pelvis
May The Fourth Be With You
The adductor magnus can actually be described as a fourth hamstring. It originates at a magical place called the ischial bone (next to the origin of the hamstrings) and inserts into the medial epicondyle (medial side of the knee roughly).
The adductors do literally adduct the thigh and help to stabilise the pelvis among other movements (hip flexion, knee flexion etc).
People generally associate adductors with the adductor machine in the gym, the one where you see people looking like they're preparing for an evening of watermelon or husband crushing. Sustained eye-contact with these people is a sure-fire way to get your gym membership revoked.
Don't Underestimate Them
Because they do so much more! Specifically the adductor magnus which will be the focus of this short article as it is a companion piece to the super-sciencey write-up from our expert David Sadkin.
The adductor magnus works to stabilise and powerfully extend the hip.
Explosive hip extension being an attractive prospect for any speed and power athlete.
Helping the legs internally rotate keeps foot strike under the COM (centre of mass) too and keeps your movement efficient.
After all, you want to sprint or push down the track like a majestic lion, not waddle like a penguin who's shit itself.
This study (1) showed that having stronger adductor muscles relative to body size was advantageous for 30m sprinting (relevant to pretty much every sport.)
So, the general advice up to now has been only to keep your adductors flexible or pay token attention to them once in a blue moon.
Our position is that they need to be trained as much as you would focus on the hip abductors (arse muscles), so pause the thera-band side-stepping like an Instagram 'Fitfluencer' knobhead and give your groin a chance to shine.
After all, research has shown a decreased injury risk at the hip joint exists when adductor strength is equal to, or greater than 80% of the abductors. Similar findings were apparent within elite track athletes where adduction:abduction strength ratios were ~120% in favour of adductors. (David Sadkin, 2020).
So, that too.