Groin pain after a run? Or the day after? Adductor stretch may help lessen the pain.

Adding them to your workout is a good idea if you run regularly. When done correctly, adductor stretching can improve muscle flexibility and joint mobility. That can benefit every runner.

But where should you start?

Some adductor stretches are more effective than others. Read on to find out how to stretch adductors the right way as a runner.

First, though, let’s fully understand the benefits of these stretches.

How Adductor Stretches Benefit You as a Runner

Studies suggest that limited hip adductor muscle strength and flexibility increase the risk of injury while playing sports. They may also increase the risk of injury while running.

Groin strains aren’t pleasant. They can reduce your running performance and even sideline you.

Although not fully understood, groin pain is associated with an imbalance in abdominal and hip adductor strength. Other factors that may cause groin pain include poor tissue extensibility and a limited hip range of motion.

The good news is that adductor stretches may help you address muscle imbalances.

Research indicates that stretching helps increase muscle flexibility and extensibility. Tight muscles limit your range of motion at a joint. Sitting for extended periods, strains, and injuries can all cause tight muscles.

Stretching increases muscle length while reducing muscle tension. Dynamic stretching, in particular, increases the range of motion around a joint. Personalized stretching programs tend to be the most effective.

Good hip joint mobility helps prevent injury when engaging in athletic activities – running included.

Adductor muscle stretching may not directly increase your running performance. But it promotes pain-free movement that may ward off injury and keep you running for years to come. To boot, they may also contribute to better balance and stability.

Next, let’s look at the actual muscles these stretches engage.

Muscles Worked by Adductor Stretches

Adductor stretches for runners engage a variety of muscles in the inner thigh including:

  • Adductor brevis
  • Adductor magnus
  • Adductor longus
  • Pectineus
  • Gracilis

These muscles work together to pull the thigh toward the center of your body (adduction). They are also called groin muscles.

Adductors contribute to hip mobility and strength, so they are important when running. What’s more, they provide stability throughout daily movements.

Injury or imbalances in any of these muscles can lead to groin pain. For example, injuries to the pectineus muscle can cause acute groin pain.

Now let’s get practical.

Start With Warming Up

Contrary to popular belief, stretching isn’t a warm-up in itself. Increasing your body temperature before doing adductor stretches improves blood flow to the muscles. It can also make them more flexible.

So, before you do any adductor hip stretch, warm up with a light jog for 5–10 minutes. Or you can jump rope or take a brisk walk.

Afterward, you can massage your thigh muscles and/or apply a heat pack to the inner thigh for 5–10 minutes.

You can also incorporate simple dynamic stretches into your warm-up:

  • Leg swings. Stand on one foot and swing your other leg from side to side 30 times. Then switch to the other leg. You can hold on to something for support.
  • Hip pushes. Stand with feet at shoulder width and push your hips to the side. Feel the gentle stretch in your inner thighs. Switch sides. Do 30 reps per side.

Best Groin and Adductor Stretches

To ensure that your adductor stretches work all the major thigh muscles, it’s good to vary stretches.

Don’t perform the same stretch over and over again. Rather, combine all the stretches below. Over time, keep varying your adductor stretch routine.

Before you start adductor stretching:

  • You don’t need any equipment to perform these exercises. But it helps to use a yoga or fitness mat.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes that don’t limit your movements.
  • Don’t stretch beyond a sensation of mild discomfort.
  • If you experience pain, you are stretching too far and should stop immediately.
  • Breathe deeply as you stretch – don’t hold your breath with the stretch.
  • Stretch regularly. That can mean a few minutes every day or longer sessions several times a week. In other words, make stretching a habit.
  • Overtraining the adductor muscle intensely may also lead to groin pain. Don’t push yourself too hard.

Standing groin stretch exercise

Start with a simple adductor stretch that gears you up for more advanced stretches.

1. Position your legs wide apart and stand straight with your arms at your sides.

2. Shift your weight to one side, bending your knee over your foot.

3. Hold the stretch in your groin for 30 seconds while keeping your feet on the ground facing forward.

4. Repeat with the other leg.

5. Do 3 stretches on each side.

Standing wide-leg adductor stretch

Another effective hip adductor stretch, this one requires good balance. Don’t rush the movement.

1. Place your feet wide apart with your toes forward and stand up straight.

2. Lean forward slowly with a controlled movement with hands extended in front.

3. Touch the ground with your palms.

4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

5. Repeat 3 times.

Squatting groin stretch

To perform this stretch correctly, make sure to keep your shoulders down as you stretch your adductors.

1. Begin with feet wide apart. Your toes should point outward, not forward.

2. Squat with a controlled movement bending your knees to a 90-degree angle. At the end of this movement, your knees should be over your ankles.

3. Rest your elbows on the top of your thighs, close to the knees.

4. Open your hips with a slow outward push and feel the stretch in your groin muscles.

5. Maintain the stretch – you should feel it in both legs – for 30 seconds. Don’t forget to breathe deeply!

6. Bring yourself back to the starting position and repeat 3 times.

Seated groin stretch

Stretching gently is the key to getting the most from your stretches without pain or injury. During this adductor stretch, hold your spine straight.

1. Sit on the floor.

2. Bring the soles of your feet together, bending your knees.

3. Rest your elbows on your knees and hold your feet with your hands.

4. Keeping your back straight, press gently on your knees with your elbows and let your knees fall toward the ground. The pressure you feel in the groin should be gentle.

5. Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds.

6. Return to the initial position.

7. Repeat the stretch 3 times.

Lying down stretch

With this adductor stretch, you can also relieve tension in your back. It’s useful if you work at a desk.

1. Lie on your back on the floor.

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2. Bring the soles of your feet together as close as you can, bending your elbows.

3. Tilt your pelvis back and flatten your lower back to the floor.

4. Drop your knees gently to either side of your body.

5. Feel the stretch in your thighs even as you relax your legs.

6. Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds.

7. Repeat 3 times.

Butterfly stretch with knees down

This adductor magnus stretch is a variation of the seated groin stretch.

1. Sit on the floor and rest your back against the wall.

2. Bring the soles of your feet together.

3. Hold your feet above your ankles and pull them close to you.

4. Feel the arch in your lower back as you sit straight.

5. Drop your knees slowly to the floor.

6. Hold the stretch in your groin for 30 seconds.

7. Repeat the stretch 3 times.

Hip adductor stretch

The hip adductor stretch is an advanced exercise. Try it only after you feel comfortable with easier stretches.

1. Stand with your feet wide apart.

2. Drop down slowly with one leg stretched to your side and the other knee in front. Support the stretched leg on the heel while keeping the sole of the other leg planted on the floor.

3. Push your hips forward and feel the stretch in your groin.

4. Maintain the stretch for 30 seconds.

5. Switch legs.

6. Repeat 3 times with both legs.

Standing side lunge

Last but not least, here’s an adductor stretch that will feel familiar if you’re used to doing lunges.

1. Place your feet wide on the floor and make sure they face forward.

2. Put your hands on your hips.

3. Lunge toward the side, stretching one leg and bending the support leg at the knee. At the end of the movement, you should feel a stretch in your groin.

4. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds.

5. Switch sides.

6. Repeat 3 times on each side.


Keen to build stretches into your workout routine? Here are the key things to remember:

  • It’s better to prevent groin pain than to have to treat it – adductor stretches help with that.
  • Adductor muscle stretching improves flexibility, strength, and your hip range of motion.
  • You have to do hip stretches regularly to see results.
  • Try different stretches and vary your routine to find what works best for you.
  • Always warm up before you stretch – adductor stretching isn’t a warm-up in itself!
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Written by

Chris Zibutis

Chris Zibutis is the Head Running Coach and founder of Joggo – that one person on earth who loves interval runs.  He holds a degree from Copenhagen Business School and is an avid runner – having participated in numerous marathons and triathlons, Chris brings substantial fitness and running experience to the Joggo team.