The adductor muscles, aka your groin muscles, are a key component to improve performance in a lot of areas. While the quadricep muscles, the hamstrings, and glutes are what a lot of people focus on for performance gains, we shouldn’t be quick to overlook the groin and all the positive benefits that they can provide for athletes and the fitness enthusiast. I’d argue that when it comes to improving your compound lifts like squats and deadlifts, focusing on the groin will significantly help your ability to move bigger weight and with better ease! Let’s dive into some of the basics about the groin and why it plays an important role.
When looking at the anatomy of the groin muscles, they actually make up a significant portion of the thigh in comparison to the quadricep muscles and the hamstrings. The adductor magnus is the largest groin muscle, and then is accompanied by adductor longus, brevis, and the gracilis muscle. The main function of the groin muscles are to allow the leg to crossover midline towards the other leg. When it comes to this article and how they can help improve your compound lifts, we have to take a closer look at the adductor magnus. The big and strong adductor magnus helps aid in extending the hip when coming out of the bottom of a squat or when attempting to pull a deadlift off the ground. Simply put, the groin helps your ability to stand up out of the bottom position of the squat or as you attempt to pull a deadlift. Powerful hip extension is crucial for compound lifts but also performance traits such as improved sprinting and explosive movements.
We like to first address the groin by being able to move through a full range of motion as most people again will have a tendency to overlook this area before moving on to their strength training. Two mobility based movements that are our go to’s when it comes to the groin are the Adductor Rockbacks and the ½ Kneel Adductor Rock At 45 Degrees. Both of these movements target the groin where it originates at the pelvis (½ kneel adductor rock) and where it attaches on the inner aspect of the knee (adductor rockback). The whole goal with mobility based work is to help reduce perceived tightness in the inner aspect of the thigh so that it’ll allow you to move into better ranges as you get into your strength work.
Improving groin strength not only reduces the likelihood of groin related issues from occurring, but like we discussed before, it also helps with improving overall thigh engagement and function when you are doing compound based movements. While squats and deadlifts can improve groin strength, doing some direct groin strengthening can help make that area a strong point instead of an area that lags behind. When I say direct groin work, I don’t mean the thigh squeeze machine at the local gym. The Copenhagen Plank and variations of a lateral lunge such as the Foot Elevated Lateral Lunge or Tempo Goblet Lateral Lunge are great options to directly build up the groin and have it become a powerhouse! While the Copenhagen plank helps really focus on building up durability and endurance for the groin in an isometric/isolated position, the lateral lunge variations allow you to strengthen the leg throughout a full range of motion.
Hopefully you got a feel for why we feel the groin muscles can be a performance powerhouse without going too far down a rabbit hole of anatomy and the research on the groin during compound lifts. If you are reading this and have never really done any direct strength work for your groin, then this is a very easy place to start to see your compound lifts improve. It is important to not dismiss direct groin work during your training and incorporating even just the basics can make your legs more durable and strong.