Your inguinal ligaments are fibrous bands of tissue flanking your inner groin on each side. Usually taut, the ligaments help support your pelvic and abdominal areas. Weakened muscles, however, let small bits of intestines or fat push through the softened tissue to form a hernia. Exercise strengthens the ligaments though. Speak with your doctor if you're experience groin pain.
Just Keep Squeezing
Ball squeezing exercises, which are isometric squeezes, target your adductors, or inner thigh muscles, and the inguinal ligament's tail end. You'll need a chair and a soft medium-sized inflatable ball, such as a soccer ball or a child's bouncy ball. Sit up with your back straight and a couple of inches away from the chair back. Keep your feet flat on the floor with your legs wide enough to accommodate the ball so it is wedged between the knees. Contract your adductors while pressing your knees together. Squeeze and relax without dropping the ball. Begin with one set of 10 reps and add five each day until you reach three sets of 10.
Plank it, Stretch it
Side planks with straight legs stretch the groin muscles. But be cautious. Raising your leg too quickly, or too high, may strain your inguinal ligament, or aggravate already weakened areas. Lie on the floor on your right side with a bent right elbow and extend your legs one on top of the other. Align your elbow and right shoulder and then press your hips and torso up. Keep your core tight and rest your left arm on your upper thigh as you lift. Don't move your feet or right arm. Begin with eight to 12 reps, stopping when you feel a stretch in your groin.
Roll Those Hips
Bilateral hip rolls gently stretch your inguinal ligaments and pelvic floor. Lie flat, face up, with your legs stretched out. Bend your left knee out to the side and gently guide the knee toward the floor. Let it fall until you feel a stretch in your adductors and inguinal ligament. Stay in the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds, and release. Do a second stretch, then extend the leg and repeat with the right leg.
Take a Hip Hike
Hip hikes not only stretch your inner groin, they also tone your gluteus medius muscle, which helps stabilize your hips. Stable hips are important when running, in particular. No special equipment is needed for this exercise; however, you can make it more challenging with an inexpensive resistance band. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your left leg slightly and lift your left hip up. Lower your hip and repeat for a full set of 10 reps. Do 50 reps total, or five sets of 10 reps, before switching sides. Or alternate sides after a set of 10. Try to do your hip hikes daily to strengthen the inguinal ligaments.
Having studied at two top Midwestern universities, Catherine Field holds degrees in professional writing and patient safety. Writing since 2000, Field has worked with regional newspapers while publishing fiction online. She conducts medical communication research at a Midwestern medical institution and is slated to write a book based on her research findings.