The Adductors Stretch
The action performed by the adductors is most often overshadowed by the more obvious actions of the muscles at the front and back of the leg. This action is to bring the leg closer to the midline of the body. While this isn’t an action that we often have to perform in full, walking would be a great deal more awkward if each step involved us toppling over sideways. Conversely, if these muscles become too short any action that requires moving the leg away from the body becomes difficult, and we begin to walk in penguin form. Furthermore, as a major fluid channel for the entire leg, general circulation stands to be improved with pliable adductors.
The adductors begin at the outside of the front of the hip bone and run to points in series along the inside of the thigh. So, to stretch them we move the knee away from the midline of the body.
And so, we present to you a the butterfly stretch;
With the butterfly stretch you begin in a seated position. If it is more comfortable feel free to rest your back against a wall. Then, bring the soles of your feet together in front of you. Gently pull your feet as close to you as you comfortably can. Finally, either lean forward at the hip (keeping a straight back) across your legs; or, using your elbows, push your knees towards the floor maintaining contact between the soles of your feet. If neither of these motions provides a complete enough stretch feel free to combine the 2 to a degree that suits you.
It has been my experience that with this stretch in particular it can take a while to allow the muscles to relax to the point where a stretch is possible. My personal strategy has been to sit against a wall with my feet together allowing the weight of my legs to pull my knees apart. Only when I feel the beginning of a stretch through gravity do I then apply pressure myself. I find this approach results in a much more comfortable, complete stretch.
NOTE: As with any stretch, if you feel any pain at any point please discontinue the stretch. First warm up the hips and low back with gentle hip circles in both directions to increase the range of motion and to prepare the tissue. Make sure that the stretches are being held for no less than 30 seconds. It does take this long for muscle change to occur. Repeating 3 times.
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