The more flexible your muscles are, the greater the range of movement you can perform. Whether you are a soccer player, cheerleader, gymnast, kickboxer or just a keep-fit enthusiast, improved flexibility means your joints will be able to move more easily. Flexible adductors, the muscles on the inside of your thighs, will allow you to kick higher and maybe even do the splits if you reach an advanced level of flexibility. To stretch your adductors, you need to move your leg away from the midline of the body, a movement called abduction. There are a number of stretches you can perform to achieve this.
General Stretching Guidelines
To get the most from your stretching, only stretch when your muscles are warm. You can stretch after a workout or, if you want to stretch between workouts, after a brief warmup consisting of some light cardio. Warm muscles are more receptive to being stretched.
If you want to maintain your current level of flexibility, hold the most stretched position, called the point of bind, for 10 to 15 seconds. To increase your flexibility, hold the point of bind for 30 seconds or more. If your muscles are very tight, repeat the stretch two or three times.
Standing Adductor Stretch
If you are working out outdoors, you may not want to sit or lie down on the floor to stretch. You might prefer this standing exercise to stretch your adductors. Stand with your feet wide apart and bend one leg. Shift your weight onto that side while keeping the other leg straight. You should feel a stretch in the inside of your straight leg. This exercise is also called the side lunge stretch.
Seated Adductor Stretch
If you want to improve your flexibility, you need to hold your stretches for 30 seconds or more. The butterfly stretch allows you to stretch in a relatively comfortable position. Sit on the floor, bend your legs and place the soles of your feet together. Pull your feet as close to you as you can comfortably manage. Sit up tall and gently press down on your legs with your elbows. Hold this position for the desired length of time and then release. You may find this exercise more comfortable if you sit on a cushion, yoga block or folded exercise mat.
Half-Kneeling Adductor Stretch
The kneeling adductor stretch places you in a comfortable position and allows you to focus on stretching one leg at a time. This makes it a very effective exercise for developing inner-thigh flexibility. Kneel down with your left knee on a soft pad or mat and your right foot flat on the floor. Shift your weight over to the right while keeping your torso upright. You should feel a stretch on the inside of your left thigh. Hold for the desired duration and then change legs.
Supine Adductor Stretch
Lying stretches are ideally suited for cooldowns as they allow you to relax after your workout is completed. This stretch uses gravity to gently lengthen your adductors and is suitable for holding for a long period of time. Sit in front of a wall and raise your feet. With your feet against the wall, scoot your hips in until you are as close to the wall as possible. With your legs straight and lying flat on your back, allow gravity to pull your feet outward and downward.
Patrick Dale is an experienced writer who has written for a plethora of international publications. A lecturer and trainer of trainers, he is a contributor to "Ultra-FIT" magazine and has been involved in fitness for more than 22 years. He authored the books "Military Fitness", "Live Long, Live Strong" and "No Gym? No Problem!" and served in the Royal Marines for five years.