What Are the Different Types of Groin Exercises?

A. Pasbjerg

There is a variety of groin exercises that can be used to help recover from a pulled muscle or simply to improve the tone of the muscles there. Groin exercises fall into two main categories — stretching and strengthening — that target the adductor muscles inside the thighs. Stretching exercises, used to improve the muscles' range of motion and avoid injury, can be done while sitting or standing, and include moves like the butterfly stretch. Strengthening exercises can range from easier moves where one simply contracts the groin muscles to more intensive moves like leg raises. Special equipment like exercise balls and resistance bands can be added to strengthening moves to make them easier to do or to increase their effectiveness.

Stretching may help exercisers avoid injury.
Stretching may help exercisers avoid injury.

Groin exercises aimed at stretching the muscles are an excellent way to improve range of motion or to help recover from an injury. People who want to do these types of exercises should start slowly and then increase the stretch as their flexibility improves, performing the moves so they can feel the muscles stretch but not to the point of pain. Some examples of sitting groin stretches include keeping the legs straight and spreading them out to either side, then lowering the torso, or sitting with the soles of the feet together and drawing them in toward the body and leaning down to them, a move sometimes called a butterfly stretch. An example of a standing groin stretch would be standing with the legs spread and then bending one knee to stretch the opposite side.

Groin exercises can be done on an exercising ball.
Groin exercises can be done on an exercising ball.

The other primary type of groin exercises are those aimed at strengthening. As with stretching, these exercises should be started slowly, moving from easier to more advanced moves, and increasing over time in intensity and frequency. Simple contractions of the muscles, where the knees or extended legs are pressed inward, may be a good starting point for those recovering from injury. For those who are simply working on strengthening or who have progressed in therapy, more advanced moves like sitting or standing leg raises, squats, or lunges may be more appropriate.

Using equipment during strengthening groin exercises can make them simpler to perform and also enhance the workout. An exercise ball is particularly helpful while doing contractions, as it can be held between the knees or ankles to offer resistance during the move. Resistance bands can also be added, for example around the ankles during leg raises, to make the move slightly more challenging.

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