When it comes to propelling your body in multiple directions, all while keeping your torso strong and stable, consider your groin a superstar. And no surprise here: It’s pretty complex, consisting of three fairly large muscle groups – the abdominal, iliopsoas, and adductors. With so many muscles involved, the area also desperately needs some superstar groin stretches to go with.
Here’s a quick breakdown on each area that, together, make up the groin:
- Your adductors work together to adduct (or move toward the midline of the body) the thigh while keeping your lower extremities and pelvis stabilised.
- The abdominal muscles help stabilise your spine.
- The iliopsoas, on either side of your hips, help stabilise and flex your hips and stabilise your lower back.
Since your groin works at its peak when you’re running, walking, bending forward, twisting – literally moving in any direction – too much sedentary time can cause it to tighten up quick, according to Annie Mulgrew, founding instructor for CITYROW and certified personal trainer. She notes that since the groin is so crucial in moving your legs and stabilising your pelvis and spine, it’s super-important the area is both limber and strong.
“If you’ve been immobile, or sitting, for an extended period of time, it’s best to stretch [the groin] in a dynamic way similar to a yoga flow, moving fluidly from stretch to stretch to increase the heat in the area and minimise stiffness,” she explains.
How To Stretch The Groin Area
Mulgrew adds that you can separate stretching into two different categories: dynamic and static. “Dynamic stretching is a great way to prepare for a workout,” she says. (Try this dynamic stretching routine.)
“Static stretching, on the other hand, focuses on holding stretches and positions for a period of time. These are great to do post-exercise.” One 2016 study found that roughly 60 seconds of static stretching was associated with a reduced risk of injury and an increased range of motion, aiding in overall athletic performance.
But when should you not stretch your groin? “If you’re recovering from an injury, especially in the groin area, consult your doctor or physical therapist before doing any concentrated movements [in that area],” Mulgrew says. “That said, the best way to prevent the injury in the first place is to keep the body in motion.”
The 8 Best Groin Stretches
Here, Mulgrew shares eight of the best groin stretches to do after a workout. Hold each stretch for 10 deep breaths, or 45 seconds.
How to: Stand facing forward with feet slightly wider than hip-width apart, toes pointed outward. With your arms stretching straight to the floor in front of you, sink into a squat. As you’re sinking, use your arms to gently press your inner thighs outward. While your aim should be to touch the ground, ensure your heels stay flat on the floor (so if you can’t quite reach the floor, that’s okay!). Don’t forget to switch sides.
Frog Squat With Arm Raise
How to: Moving directly from the first stretch, place your left hand on the floor, continuing to gently push your inner thigh outward, as you reach your right hand directly up to the ceiling, fingers pointed upward. With every breath, twist your torso slightly further, reaching as high as you can. Your left heel should raise slightly. Don’t forget to switch sides.
Wide-Stance Sumo Squat
How to: Rise to a standing position, allowing your legs to lengthen and rest for roughly 10 seconds. From there, widen your feet roughly two inches to either side, continuing to point the toes outward. Place either hand on top of your knee as you sink into a squat, thighs parallel to the floor. Inhale deeply as you twist your right shoulder downwards. Continue to inhale and exhale, and with each breath, attempt to twist your torso forth. Don’t forget to switch sides.
How to: If needed, rise again to a standing position to allow the legs to rest for roughly 10 seconds. Return to a wide-squat stance position, but this time, point the toes directly forward. Inhale, then exhale as you push your weight to the right, placing your hands directly above your knee to support your upper body. Keep the left leg completely straight, both feet planted firmly on the ground. Don’t forget to switch sides.
Wide-Leg Forward Fold
How to: Move to a seated position, extending both legs out to either side of you (as far as is comfortable). Feet should be flexed with the toes pointed upwards. Keeping your back straight, hinge at the hips as you lean forward, extending your arms out straight, fingers slightly splayed. Reach as far as is comfortable, attempting to reach further with each exhale.
Wide-Leg Side Bend
How to: Remain in a seated position, legs still extended outwards. Move the left foot inward, pressing the bottom of the foot to the inner portion of the thigh. Bend the torso to the right as you reach the right hand to the right knee, calf, or foot (whichever location is most comfortable). At the same time, either extend your left arm upwards, fingers pointed toward the ceiling, or bend the left elbow, reaching the left hand behind the head. Don’t forget to switch sides.
How to: Get on all fours, facing the front of your mat. Plant your fingertips or palms firmly into the ground as you extend your left leg behind you, keeping your knee rested or lifted slightly. Press your left heel toward the back of the room. Bring your right foot forward so it’s in line with your right hand. Keep your head upwards. Inhale and exhale, driving your hips further into the ground with each breath. Don’t forget to switch sides.
How to: Move to a seated position. Bring the bottoms of both feet together, with heels as close or far away from your groin as is comfortable. Bring your hands to the outsides of either feet to stabilise you as you breathe in and out, gently allowing your knees to drop with each breath.
*This article was originally published on Women’s Health US