Every movement your hips make involves either your groin muscles (the inside of your thigh, also known as the hip adductors) or your hip abductor muscles (the outside of your thigh). So whether you want to get back to ultimate frisbee or you want to get your steam punk on at the new moon festival or you just want to be able to stroll to the beach without breaking a sweat, you'll want to give these babies a good workout. If you play a sport in which you run, jump, walk or kick -- and that covers pretty much everything -- you have even more motivation to strengthen these all-important hip and thigh muscles.
Warm up before you start working out your hip abductor and groin muscles. Perform five to 10 minutes of aerobic exercise, such as jogging or riding an exercise bike, then stretch your muscles dynamically. Hip abductor and groin stretches include walking with high knees, walking lunges, side lunges and carioca runs. Do carioca runs by running laterally while alternately crossing one leg in front of the other. (ref 2)
Perform seated hip exercises with an abduction machine. Sit in the machine’s seat with your legs in front of you and position the resistance pads against the outside of each leg. Spread your legs outward against the machine’s resistance, then slowly return to the starting position. Shoot for 12 to 15 repetitions.
Hit those groin muscles with an adduction machine. Take a seat in the machine with your legs apart and the resistance pads against the insides of your legs. Squeeze your legs together against the resistance, then return under control to the starting position. Perform 12 to 15 reps.
Move to a pulley machine with a low cable to perform standing abduction exercises. Put an ankle cuff on the cable, then strap the cuff to your left ankle. Turn your right shoulder to the machine. Begin with your left foot crossed in front of your right leg, then pull the cable as far as possible to your left. Return to the starting position slowly and do 12 to 15 reps with both legs. Be cautious with the weight you use because excessive weight may throw you off balance.
Strap your ankle to a low pulley machine to do standing adduction exercises. Wrap the cuff around your right foot, then turn your right shoulder to face the machine. Begin by balancing on your left foot while your right leg is extended toward the machine with your right foot off the floor. Keep your right leg straight as you cross it in front of your left leg while pulling the cable as far as you can. Return under control to the starting position. Perform 12 to 15 reps with both legs. Don't use excessive weight or you may lose your balance.
Perform a side bridge abductor exercise by lying on your left side with your legs and left forearm on the floor and your upper body propped up by your left arm. With your legs straight, raise your hips toward the ceiling and lift your right foot as high as you can. At the peak of your movement your torso and legs should form a Y shape with only your left foot and forearm on the floor. Lower yourself slowly to the starting position. Do 12 to 15 reps with both legs.
Work your groin muscles with a side hip adduction move. Lie on your left side with your left arm tucked under your head, your body fairly straight and your right leg on the floor behind your left. Raise your left leg toward the ceiling as high as possible without lifting your hip off the floor. Lower the leg to the floor under control. Repeat the exercise on the other side for a total of 12 to 15 reps with each leg.
- Use sufficient weight for the machine and cable exercises so the last couple of reps are challenging.
- Consult your doctor before beginning a new workout routine, particularly if you’ve been inactive or you have any health issues.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.