Kinesiology of Exercise

Hip Joint Adduction

The hip adductor muscles are some of the largest in the body. In a way this is surprising because few actions used in everyday activities or in sports activities truly require hip adduction, especially when executed with a great deal of force. Most likely, these muscles are strong to create a stable internal base for the pelvis. Also very important is that they aid in rotational movements of the body when the leg is held in place on the floor (in a standing position). In addition, these muscles are used in the initiation of hip flexion. Thus it is important to develop these muscles. One of the best exercises is hip adduction on a multi-hip machine or with Active Cords. 

Major Muscles and Actions Involved

In hip joint adduction, the leg is pulled in toward the midline of the body from an abducted (out to the side) position. This action involves the adductor longus, adductor brevis, and adductor magnus, and the gracilis muscles.

Sports Uses

Hip joint adduction is very useful in sports which require court or field maneuvering (agility) such as in tennis, racquetball, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, hockey, rugby, and volleyball. They also are involved in the first part of hip flexion as when driving the thigh forward in sprinting, taking a quick first step, and lunging. This exercise will assist you greatly in turning, doing crossover steps, completing a push-off, and in shifting your weight from one leg to the other.

Exercise Analysis

  • Do not set the adjustment on a multi-hip machine so that your legs are too far apart as this can easily overstretch the muscles, especially to the gracilis muscle. To prevent injury, and for overall safety when doing this exercise, you should start off with your legs apart in a comfortable position. Slowly increase the range of motion as you develop adequate strength and flexibility in the hip joint. Moving the legs apart as far as possible is important if you are involved in sports such as gymnastics or in dance activities such as ballet. An extreme ROM is not needed for most individuals in their normal activities or for athletes in many different sports.
  • It is recommended that most athletes and fitness buffs do this exercise while they are standing so that the body is in a straight line. This is the position that the body is in when the muscles in this exercise are used in sports and other activities. The popular hip adduction machines in which you assume a seated position and pull the legs together is not recommended for athletes.
  • Strengthening the adductor muscles is very important in most sports. However, it is not recommended that you use maximal weights and do few repetitions for two or three sets. Overdevelopment of these muscles may create excessive hypertrophy and, as a result, chafing of the thighs when you walk or run. For most individuals, higher repetitions are usually recommended. Moreover, athletes must do this exercise for strength as well as for strength endurance. This entails higher repetitions.
  • When using the low pulley or Active cords, many individuals like to bring the leg across the body in the belief that it works the muscles to a greater extent. However, this is not the case. When your leg crosses the midline, you must actually drop and rotate the pelvis on that side to allow the leg to cross over. In this case, instead of the hip adductors of the leg in motion being worked, you actually switch the action to the adductors of the support leg and the muscles of the trunk. Also, if you do high repetitions in this manner, because the pelvis is rotating, it can create spinal irritation, which can cause problems.
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