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Tight Adductors? Tight Groin?


Hi friends,

Recentley I have noticed my adductors feel tight and tender whenever Im kicking the soccer ball with power. I stretch my hip flexors and groin all the time, so Im wondering if there is a stretch I should be doing that Im not??
This is the adductor stretch that i do;

Thanks for your help in advance.

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why do you do all this stretching???

stretching your hammies... stretching your adductors...

there is a saying... let me remember it: but stretching feels good! ah, yes, so does picking the scab off a wound.

do you foam roll??

it might be because your squat is getting better. more hammie / glute / adductor involvement.

my adductors have woken up... especially just above the knee. owie. finding knots outside my hip / outer glute that seem to be balancing it...

do you find knots when you roll?

parts where pressure on the area feels like it is increasing pressure in the muscle / fascia... then about 30sec to 1 minute of sustained pressure later it suddenly relaxes. do you get that? i find that relaxing the knots takes care of the urge to stretch.


You should be doing SMR, as alexus stated. Even better (if financially feasible) is to work with a skilled therapist.

I will say that you should also include static stretching and mobility work.

Pre training: smr 15-30 seconds; followed by static stretch (to a point of mild discomfort) for 10 seconds; mobility drills.

The 10 second non-aggressive static stretch will most likely not down regulate the muscle fibers via activation of golgi tendon organs nor will it stimulate the muscle spindles. In short, if you keep the pre-warm up stretch 10 seconds or less and keep it moderate, you will not grow weaker. If anyone knows of a peer-reviewed study that proves otherwise, I'd be happy to see it.

I'm of the opinion that the smr to static stretch to mobility sequence is an excellent way to break up and redistribute the fascia, incorporate flexibility work, then teach your neural muscular system to properly use the new found mobility.

Post training: smr 30 seconds per trigger point; followed by static stretch 30 seconds (to a point of mild discomfort - although you may now see greater range); optional is PNF stretching (use google on this as my time is short).

As for the stretch in the video, I don't like how it locks the knee. It appears too easy for an overzealous person to irritate the lcl.


Alexus and 56x11- Thanks for your help but I think you misunderstood me. I should of probably said "mobilise" instead of "stretch".
Before working out I do a "mobilise" routine which includes foam rolling and mobilising. For example I already do roll my inner legs and then I do the above "stretch", but I only hold the position for a few seconds and then move to the other leg, and then repeat this 10 times for each leg, more in the attempt to mobilise and warm the joint up. I dont actually really static stetch, its more like what my PT calls it stretching for reps(he really means mobilise).

So anyway re-wording my original question; is there a muscle near the adduccters that I may not be "mobilising" with my "stretch", that may be causing my grief?

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Post training: smr 30 seconds per trigger point

hahahahaha. do you have any idea how long that would take me to do my whole body???

seriously, though...

sometimes when i release one... it seems to need re-releasing a couple minutes later. do you know what might be up with that?
also... i seem to need to do my releasing daily. i do it before training (because i need things to be relaxed so i can move quick for oly lifting)... but every bloody day i spend at least an hour getting things to chill.

do i need to be more aggressive, maybe??


You sound like one of my clients. He's in his 50's and active his entire life (running, rowing, lifting, climbing). My response to him is "Well, you've spent five decades fucking yourself up. You think this will work after a few magical passes on a foam roller?"

Yes, more aggressive but NOT STUPID. Never turn off the common-sense switch.

Also incorporate stretching and mobility work afterwards. This can help the process. Just as it's not enough to only stretch (because everything EXCEPT the adhesion will stretch), it may not be enough to only smr. I'm strongly of the opinion that SMR, static stretch, mobility work done as described in my first post have a synergistic effect.

In other words, sequence and timing matters. The three methodologies, done as described, may show results that are greater than the sum of its parts.

Furthermore, the pressure needs to be precise. A foam roller, lacrosse ball, etc. can only do so much. If you're having difficulty bringing the trigger points under control, it may be time to save up for a quality session with a skilled practitioner. If financially not feasible, you can try getting the word out and see if anyone wants to work on trade. Perhaps there will be a therapist who wants to learn Oly lifting and is willing to swap sessions.


thanks. sounds like i need to do a bit more stretching. and save up for someone to have a proper go on my right hip flexor in particular.

i used to do a lunge matrix as part of my warm-up, bird.

most people don't do them properly - they turn their body so they end up doing a whole heap of front lunges. you want the directional change, though, because it will change the stretch a bit. let me see if i can find a vid...

to start with i'd just go as far as i'd feel a stretch and hold it for a bit. got better depth over time (as the adductors etc stretched out). i probably need to incorporate these again... but trouble balancing off my back foot. did help out my adductors, though.


That last comment about having "trouble balancing off my back foot" is interesting. How much unilateral movements do you do? If there are imbalances caused by a dominance of bilateral work, this will contribute to faulty movement patterns which leads to over activity and under activity. This, in turn, can contribute significantly to chronic trigger points.


i have old injuries that restrict the range of motion in my ankles / feet. i can't stretch my toes back from the ball of my foot to balance on the ball of my back foot in a lunge position. so when i lunge my back foot is kinda on tippy toes. you try it. feel balanced and safe to load for you? i can't plantarflex, either, so bulgerians are out, too.

it causes me no end of grief that i can't split jerk as an oly lifter. means i need to bloody squat jerk.

i have realized that i need to focus on single leg work, though! working on pistols at the moment. interesting for me to discover that i'm not strong enough to stand up on one leg lolz. knees getting serious wobbles before i even get to parallel.

i do think the restricted range of ankle motion is at least partly responsible for my needing to release things daily, though. it is my calves that i need to spend the most time on. and my feet. and starting to get more focal with a golf ball around the back of my heel / achilles / round the ankle /under the arches. i also rarely get DOMS (even though i train basically every day). seems that i get knots that need to be released instead (e.g., if i do front squats quads need a lot of work, if i do deads hammies and glutes do).

my hips have always been a bit dodgey (long limbed female). doing a lot lately on stretching out the front of my hip and really waking up my glutes. need better control over my hip for the externally rotated position that is needed for oly lifting / standing up deep squats. just feeling one long massive knotty cable of a right hip flexor at the moment. and suffering from DOMS mostly outside my hip.


a deep side lunge is called a 'cossack squat'.

i bet if you could lunge deep, like, in all directions, you wouldn't have too tight leg muscles :slightly_smiling:

be gentle to start... i remember it took me a couple weeks of daily practice going really slow and gentle on the lunge matrix for the positions to be comfortable enough for me to just do the grid smoothly and quickly.

i think i should work on cossack squats, too...


We've all got our crosses to bear.

Generally speaking, without proper extension range at the big toe, the following ramifications (or a variation there of) can take place:

compromised hip extension

over activity of hip flexors

possible trigger points along the iliopsoas (this could be the cause of your hip flexor woes)

possible lateral flexion which can lead to leg length discrepancy

lumbar rotation

over activity of contralateral quadratus lumborum, internal/external obliques, ipsilateral tensor fascia lata and IT band

potential issues with contralateral sacro iliac joint

potential issues with contralateral piriformis

If you're not dizzy after reading all that, the take home is you've got some work to do - rehab and prehab work that is.

Generally speaking, unilateral movements place a significant recruitment on the adductors and glute medius of the squatting leg and contralateral quadratus lumborum. It's also a nice way to deload the spine.

I do NOT recommend the pistols in which you basically sit on the calves. It's much too easy to relax the muscles and place all the load on the connective tissue.

A better option - one that I coach for those who have no contraindications - is band-assisted single leg squats off a box. The box will allow the non working leg to relax a bit more as it does not have to clear the ground. After all, it sounds like your hip flexors are over active.

Also, using the band (hung off pull up bar or similar) allows you to sit back and finish with a vertical tibia when in the hole. This vertical tibia, as I stated in another thread, makes the movement more glute dominant. This will help you more efficient neurally with the glutes.

As your strength improves, progress onto a lighter band until you can do the movement with body weight - at which point it will be near impossible to keep the vertical tibia in the hole. When this happens, you have the option to use this as a post exhaust with bands (again, this can now be safely turned into a glute dominant move). Even when you are strong enough to do this at bw or higher, you can incorporate the band on your repetition/volume days using methods such as 1 or 2 reps half way up and 1 full rep. I've done sets in which I do 10 "pulses" in the mid range followed by a full rep. Because I don't have a loaded bar to deal with, I can relax the diaphragm and breath during the 10 "pulses" - performed with a slow eccentric, this type of training can be valuable.

Also, you can do step ups with a controlled eccentric. The nature of the movement will allow you to choose the tibia angle and make it more or less glute dominant.

Unilateral RDLs can be another viable option.

Not only do you need to address the plantar fascia, you need to address the soleus and gastrocs as well. Given your situation, there could still be some room for improvement in terms of greater range there.

How do you perform the hip flexor stretch. A small adjustment such as NOT extending at the lumbar spine can help because the lack of extension increases the distance from the origin (T-12 to L5) to the insertion at the femur. Greater distance between two points - without causing injury - equals a more effective stretch.

As for releasing the trigger points at the iliopsoas complex, that's where a skilled therapist can be valuable.


wow. so each of those problems that i understood (i'll have to look up some of the later ones) i certainly have. i wasn't aware that they could be stemming from my big toe!

Generally speaking, unilateral movements place a significant recruitment on the adductors and glute medius of the squatting leg and contralateral quadratus lumborum. It's also a nice way to deload the spine.

i've got DOMS like i've never had before, today. it surely did place a significant recruitment on all of those things!

I do NOT recommend the pistols in which you basically sit on the calves. It's much too easy to relax the muscles and place all the load on the connective tissue.

got ya. like you do NOT recommend the oly squats in which you basically smash the hammies into the calves because it will upset the knee. i'm trying to do them slow and controlled and caring more about getting proper recruitment for 1 rep then resting than dive bombing sets of crazy numbers (ie anything over 3).

i did discover band assistance! it worked really well.

i started out standing on a box - because of the hip flexor thing, as you say. i've discovered that when i try and hold my leg out in front of me i get cramps in the quad, though. practice seems to help it a bit but it has never sorted out. maybe pistols could fix it???

(when i first started at the gym if i lay on my back i was physically incapable of lifting my leg up off the ground. same thing... weird kind of weakness like i don't know how... then it felt like my leg was too much weight for the flexor and it would cramp / spasm. i can do it now - but a similar thing happens with standing leg raises).

in my defense i had 3 months in a wheelchair round the time of my injury and i had / have problems walking so my legs were very weak since my upper body got used to doing most things... i'm stronger now - but my legs are still very weak.

because i also have no ankle dorsiflexion (another cross) i have 2x standard oly heel raise on my shoes. otherwise i fall on my ass front squatting / cleaning. still can't front squat / clean properly because i can't get my hips in under the bar because i can't get my knees out the bloody way. working on pushing knees out to the sides harder since they can't come forwards at all. i think the shoes will let me balance a pistol with a vertical shin... but i'm not sure...

will try step ups next time...

Not only do you need to address the plantar fascia, you need to address the soleus and gastrocs as well. Given your situation, there could still be some room for improvement in terms of greater range there.

yes. i foam roll it and sometimes pull out a drain pipe. need to get the golf ball in there, though.

How do you perform the hip flexor stretch.

i've been trying mobilitywod episode 2:

(to help me extend properly)

it takes about 4 minutes for me to stretch myself into that position, though :frowning:
and i think... stretching it like that has turned it into a big ropy knot :frowning:

i'm feeling it out with the lacross ball... but hard to get the ball balanced on it (without painfully slipping off) and i'm wary of the soft tissue structures etc.

i'm not good enough to be able to engage my glutes with that stretch. i do milder stretches (even just laying back over a gym ball) where i try and simultaneously engage glutes and stretch hip flexors. i think the glutes are important for stability of the femur in the socket?? sometimes i feel jamming in the front and i'm kinda worried my tight hip flexors might be about all that is stabilizing the joint. started x band walks to try and get the glute medius playing along...


maybe my hip flexors are short (ie from being in a wheelchair for 3 months) and weak??


Well it looks like Ive opened a can of worms (birds love worms!).

Alexus- thanks for the videos. Ill give it a go in the next few days. I have a really tight left foot plantar fascia, it actually literally sounds like rope as I roll it. I think this maybe causing me similar problems to yours(in regards to your big toe). I also do that hip flexor stretch for about 4 minutes on each side, about 3 times a week. Twins!!
Do you know of any ART practioners in Australia?? Ive googled but I cant really find a place. My local "sports massage center" give a decent massage, but I want to find someone I can pay to really get into my knots!!

When I squat I definately load up the right leg a bit more, and then when I do unilateral work after my squatting my right leg is more fatigued than the left. I suppose heaps of squatting and unilateral work will slowly correct this?



I would not rule that out. I take it you're an avid Oly lifter. Impossible to say online but the safe bet says your hip flexors are short but not necessarily weak.

The interesting thing is the hip flexors must relax and activate during a squatting pattern. Keep that in mind.

The reason I advised doing band-assisted single leg squats off a box is the additional height will allow the non-working leg to relax a bit more at the rectus femoris and iliopsoas complex.

Therefore, if we are working on the premise that your hip flexors are short but not weak, the box variation will be a good option to explore.

As for that vid, I agree with one thing the guy says: hip extension is important (nothing earth shattering there).

I VERY MUCH DISAGREE with the following in that vid:

1) The knee of the leg not being stretched should rest on a comfortable pad. This will protect the patella.

2) There is no need to place the foot of the stretching leg on a wall. You lose the ability to make subtle adjustments. More importantly, with the method shown in the video, you lose the ability to quickly and safely stop the movement if necessary. As trivial as this may sound, people have gotten hurt performing the simplest of tasks. I realize a certain degree of risk is necessary; however, if you can increase the margin of error to your benefit, you probably should.

There is a thread on the BB forum in which someone is benching while doing what looks like flutter kicks. Not quite as silly and misinformed as that, but pretty close.

Another reason to NOT dorsiflex is the stretch can be better for many if they plantarflex (in your case, as much as your mobility sllows). The way this individual in the vid is doing it, the fixed point is at the knee. When you plantar flex and place the toes into an extended position (do you best on this) you allow the kinetic chain to more completely engage the fascial line from the bottom of the foot on up (if you research, you'll find a photographic example of how the fascia runs in one continuous band from the bottom of the foot to the skull).

And let's not forget the utilization of the toes to increase the proprioceptive awareness.

3) What is this with this 2 minute holds, he's talking about? Did he just randomly make this up? Does he watch too many bad kung fu movies in which the master puts his student in some unholy stretch for hours on end...?

30 seconds has been shown to be sufficient to elicit the golgi tendon organ. You can then relax and go for another 30 seconds. Repeat if desired. Pre and per workout should be 10 seconds.

The reason I never do or coach long drawn out stretches is because the body WILL compensate as it grows fatigued. This compensation can be subtle enough that no one can notice. Why take the risk if you don't have to...?

4) Make sure to not extend at the lumbar spine as doing so will shorten the distance between the origin (T1-L5) to the insertion at the trochanter of the femur.

Performing the stretch as shown in that vid makes the above difficult or impossible. I realize that crossfit is getting better and that some boxes are more educated than others. Yet, at least once a month, I meet someone in person or online who receives incomplete or down right dangerous information from a cross fit instructor or a cross fit drone. As a result, the person is either not making the best use of her time (IF she's lucky) or gets injured or is setting herself up for injury. Remember - Dysfunction in mobility leads to Compensation which leads to Higher Risk of getting hurt.


56x11- what is your profession?



Strength/Conditioning Coach and Personal Trainer.



Good stuff. I definitely agree with what I think you are saying. I just wanted to clarify somethings in your post, since I believe you just made some typing/wording errors.

1) I think you meant to say that the knee of the leg being stretch should rest on a pad, not the knee of the leg not being stretched.

2) I agree using the wall isn't the best option. But I think you meant to encourage a dorsiflexed foot position, not a plantarflexed foot position during the stretch. The dorsiflexed foot position will more readily activate the fascial line. In the video, he was demonstrating a plantarflexed foot position, which will slack the fascial line and not activate it as well.

Please correct me if I am mistaken.

I am assuming you were reading up on some of Charlie Weingroff's blogging (http://charlieweingroff.com/2011/08/getting-into-your-toes/). Good info there for sure.


^^^LevelHeaded - thanks very much for the corrections. It was quite late when I wrote that post and suffered from some brain cramps.


Hi friends,

Well today was game day and by the second half, after a number of sprints, my groin/adductors tightened up again. They felt tight, strained and maybe even a bit cramped.
Im not sure why this is happening. Maybe Im not running enough, or maybe its the extra unilateral work Im doing with the barbell lunges? Or maybe its cause Ive started using my road bike a couple of times a week just lately??

BBB help!!??